Wayne tells the exhilarating story of 1987 World Motorcycle Grand Prix Champion Wayne Gardner’s triumphant, improbable journey from a 5-dollar dirt bike to the international summit of his sport.
Wayne is the near improbable true story of 1987 World Motorcycle Champion Wayne Gardner’s triumphant journey from riding a $5 dirt bike to the summit of his global sport. At its heart Wayne is also a love story, with girlfriend, Donna-Lee Kahlbetzer, never far from the action.
Hailing from the working class town of Wollongong in Australia, Wayne quickly excels in local motorcycle racing. After dropping out of high school and being fired from his tube making apprenticeship, Wayne has to rely on his dogged determination to fulfill his dream. Wayne’s bare-knuckle riding style catches the attention of a Japanese team boss and engineer of almost mythical status, Mamoru Moriwaki. Never one to let an opportunity slide, Wayne accepts Moriwaki’s invitation to race in England and beyond.
Against all odds, Wayne wins his first race and permanently stamps his name on international motorcycle racing. But the fish-out-of-water Australian desperately misses his girlfriend Donna, who is the cornerstone to his success. With 17 year old Donna at his side, young Wayne climbs the ranks of Grand Prix motorcycle racing quickly. But along with the fame and fortune comes tragedy and trauma and in the sophisticated world of Grand Prix, Wayne clashes with riders who are more calculated and refined than the larrikin kid from Wollongong.
He fulfils his lifelong dream of becoming 500cc World Champion in 1987, however, his good fortune does not last long. Honda redesigns his championship winning bike and Wayne quickly learns it’s rife with mechanical problems. Things go from bad to worse when Honda signs Wayne’s arch nemesis, Yamaha rider Eddie Lawson, behind his back. Wayne is devastated by what he perceives as Honda's betrayal and arrives at the inaugural Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island exhausted from a frenzy of media appearances. The odds are stacked against him, but that’s when Wayne performs his best. With a roaring crowd of one hundred thousand urging him on, Wayne triumphantly wins the race and hearts of all Australians that day.
Success often means pushing oneself and those around you to the absolute limit. The attributes that allowed Wayne to be a world champion ultimately take their toll on his relationship with Donna, and yet the two remain close friends. Now, as determined as ever, Wayne supports his sons, Remy and Luca, as they begin their own international motorcycle racing careers.
2018: Melbourne International Film Festival