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'Charge' dramatizes Isle of Man electric motorcycle race

May 22, 2013|By Charles Fleming
  • In this scene from "Charge," American road racer Mark Miller rides an all-electric motorcycle in the Isle of Man zero emissions Grand Prix
In this scene from "Charge," American road racer Mark Miller… (Docurama Films )

In 2009 the famed Isle of Man TT racetrack hosted the first "zero emissions Grand Prix" -- a motorcycle race closed to the internal combustion machines that for 100 years brought their roar to the narrow streets and winding country roads of the tiny English island.

Similar Grand Prix followed for the next three years as teams from England, India, Germany, the U.S. and elsewhere battled to beat one another to the finish line and to overcome local sentiments ranging from apathy to outright opprobrium.

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The drama has been captured on film by documentarian Mark Neale, whose "Charge: Zero Emissions/Maximum Speed" chronicles the quest to conquer the Isle of Man.

Narrated by actor and motorcycle enthusiast Ewan McGregor -- whose own motorcycle adventures were told in the documentary TV series "Long Way Round," and who was also the narrator for Neale's earlier MotoGP docs "Faster" and "Fastest" -- the new movie is getting a local airing starting Wednesday.

"Charge" premieres Wednesday in Palm Desert at the Cinemas Palme d'Or, and screens Thursday night and Saturday morning at the Laemmle Monica, Laemmle NoHo, Laemmle Playhouse in Pasadena and Laemmle Town Center in Encino.

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The film is a compelling look inside the personalities battling for the zero emissions championship -- from the mad Englishman who's been building electric motorcycle motors for 30 years to the fifth-generation Portland, Ore., motorcycle maniac who risks everything to design and perfect a U.S. electric race bike.

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