After reading Ed Youngblood’s book John Penton and the Off-Road Motorcycle Revolution in 2007, renowned motorcycle biography director Todd Huffman (The Motocross Files-Speed, Legends of Supercross-CBS, The Carlsbad USGP:1980, One Chance to Win, and Bob Hannah’s 1981 Massacre at Saddleback) thought there was a story to be told there.

In June of 2007, on location to shoot interviews in Michigan for The Motocross Files, Todd and accomplished Director of Photography, Michael Graber, went to Amherst, OH to at least get “John Penton on tape”. Two days and seven hours worth of HD tape later, Todd and Michael had John and Jack Penton as well as nephew, the late Dane Leimbach, on tape.

Fast-forward to the fall of 2010 when Penton enthusiast Jack Martin contacted Todd to suggest a film project about John Penton’s life. After reading Youngblood’s book in 2000, Martin had also come to believe that a documentary of John Penton’s championship enduro career, his development of the Penton motorcycle line and the tremendous effect that had on the sport of off-road motorcycling would be a wonderful demonstration of American ingenuity, entrepreneurship and family values.

Martin contacted Huffman about a potential film and suggested that Lyle Lovett narrate the film since he had competed on Pentons as a teenager and remained a motorcycle and Penton fan. Todd contacted Motorcycle Hall of Famer, Mark Blackwell who is personal friends with Lyle who said he’d “be honored to be the voice of the film” since as a 14-year-old boy, Mr. Lovett worked sweeping floors at a Penton dealer in Texas.

By November of 2010 PDM, along with supporters and fans of John Penton, had produced a teaser to generate interest, complete with Lyle Lovett voice-over and music. But, with the motorcycle industry still in a depressed economic state, it was difficult to attract sponsors that could help produce the film.  By 2012 though technology had caught up to the desires and needs of independent filmmakers with the creation of “crowd sourcing” web sites like Todd Huffman and his team had found a way to possibly fund the film utilizing the desires of all the Penton fans around the world who wanted to see the film completed.  By January of 2013 the campaign was successful with 562 individual backers raising $160,000 to begin production.

The film is now into production traveling back east for interviews with Penton family, friends and enthusiasts. Also, there will be a 10-day shooting trip to Europe including Austria (where Penton’s were made by KTM), Italy (where Penton’s line of Hi-Point competition clothing was made by Alpinestars). Both John and Jack Penton will accompany the production to Europe to see some of their old friends. We plan on capturing those moments on film when they happen. Approximately 100 interviews will be involved with the production.

In late 2013 the post-production process will begin and will involve more pick-up interviews and re-creation shooting to fill holes in the story. The film will be released in the Spring of 2014. Distribution will take e place with motorcycles dealers and clubs booking theatres in their own markets as well as possible opportunities with theatre chains and other companies that assist independent filmmakers with distribution. It will also be available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Video On Demand.

If you’re a motorcycle or dirt bike fan in the US or around the globe, or you just love a great story about American spirit, tenacity and ingenuity, then you can be proud of having been a part of bringing this project to life.