DIRT – A 1979 Film That Covers Virtually Every Form Of Off Road Racing – Baja to Swamp Buggies!

DIRT – A 1979 Film That Covers Virtually Every Form Of Off Road Racing – Baja to Swamp Buggies!

How this movie has escaped me to this point in my life I’ll never know but it seems to have escaped lots of people because when we stumbled upon it while trolling YouTube it only had about 1,500 views. This film is called DIRT and it was released in 1979. A documentary with a humorous, beer drinking old man as a host, it covers everything from sand drags, to dune buggies, to motocross, to desert racing, short course off road racing, and other stuff we’re even forgetting after sitting mesmerized through the whole thing. Oh, tractor pulling…how did I forget tractor pulling?!

The footage, taken from events all over the country is great and it has that late decade music laid over it that personifies 1979. There’s lots of slow motion stuff and wreckage along the way. There are also “interviews” with people at the different types of events. Amazingly most of the interview subjects are blonde girls. Must be a coincidence. Big names in the film include Walker Evans, Parnelli Jones, and other big time racers of the period. Walker Evans actually appears twice. Once while racing and talking about his own stuff and the second time with his daughter who was racing in a girl’s motocross championship event. I never knew that there was such a thing.

Our favorite part (shocker!) was the swamp buggy section because as weird and wild as swamp buggies are today, in 1979 they were 10x so. The craziest thing? Even the fastest buggies, the ones with big blocks and all kinds of horsepower used to have two guys in them and the second guy would just stand there and hold onto the roll bar! Seriously! We have no idea if the point was to be a riding mechanic, to be a human periscope, or just to see if you had the balls to hold on and survive but you’ll see guys with helmets on clinging to the roll bars of these behemoths as they careen through the Mile O Mud in Naples, Florida. Soooooooo good.

If you are into anything at all that involved off road racing then this film is totally your jam. If you grew up in the 1970s, even more so!


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