When football icon David Beckham decided to take two weeks out of his life to join one of his closest friends on a spiritual and emotional journey, the guys at Triumph were delighted he chose British.
After a career of being told where to be, what to eat and what to do, the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy legend finally cut free.
He joined LA director and friend of 10 years Anthony Mandler on a customised Bonneville, from Rio to remote jungle, in the run up to this year’s World Cup.
It all started on my bachelor party ride to Napa. David came and absolutely loved the freedom and sheer anonymity of it, so we wanted to take it furtherAnthony Mandler
Starting in the densely populated cultural melting pot of Rio de Janeiro the pair were joined by friend Derek White – and a minimal support team – for a ride that was to prove both physically and mentally demanding.
“We wanted to ride on mud, on dirt, on tracks and on the wet so we could push our physical limits as well as the limits of the bike,” said Anthony, who has a string of video collaborations with Eminem, Rihanna and Jay-Z to his name.
After the celebrations came talk of a documentary, with Brazil and its temperamental terrain the obvious choice.
Avid rider Anthony said: “David wanted to do another trip and the BBC was chosen as a partner. He wanted to keep it all British so naturally Triumph came up very quickly.”
“When I started to curate the road trip I wanted to take him on a journey away from his life, with the idea of finding a tribe somewhere so remote they didn’t know who he was. The big bullseye was to film what happened to him emotionally and spiritually.”
The next task was to create a bespoke bike fit for one of the planet’s most recognisable figures, but one that ticked all the requirements you’d expect of brand Beckham.
“It had to be cool, retro with a modern edge like a Bonneville but with the aggressive lines of a Scrambler with nobbly tyres and the feel of a hybrid dirt bike. All the chrome had to go and everything had to be matted out,” said Anthony.
During the fortnight and the ensuing documentary which screened on June 8, viewers see a David Beckham at one with himself as he enjoys a rare taste of ultimate freedom.
Anthony said: “Once he put the helmet on, no one knew who he was. He loved that… a priceless feeling for the first time in 22 years of being constantly in the public glare. It was uncharted territory for David and his journey was something only a rider would understand.
Mandler believes the 90-minute documentary could herald a new era for Triumph: “Everyone there was so enthusiastic about the perfect combination and from their perspective it offers the very real opportunity to place the company at the forefront of pop culture where individuality is everything.”
There were some very poetic moments whether you like motorcycles, football or Beckham the man. His passion and sheer joy at escaping his life came through in every takeAnthony Mandler