Features 4 Dec 2012

Five Questions Why: Robbie Marshall

Find out more about the Queenslander's stint in Africa filming Mad Max.

Australia’s best all-round dirt bike rider, Robbie Marshall, has returned from a six-month stint in the Namibian desert where he worked as a stunt rider for the highly-anticipated new Mad Max movie. Being the curious mob we are, we hit the 28-year-old Fernvale rider up with Five (+1) Questions Why.

The Mad Max motorcycle stunt team after a session at the local gym - Shaun Ford (South African rider) Michael Addison, Stephen Gall, Rob Jones, Cody Mackie, Robbie Marshall.

Robbie, why did you spend six months in Namibia, Africa?

I had the opportunity to have a good experience and immerse myself in the movie-making business and make some decent money for a change. Myself, Stephen Gall, Cody Mackie and Michael Addison went over to ride the motorbike stunts for the new Mad Max movie called Fury Road. Gally had something to do with it 10 years ago and knew the stunt coordinator Guy Norris and another Aussie guy, Glenn Suter, who were both involved in the production. We didn’t realy work with the main actors that much, although they were always around doing different stuff on different units. Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy are the main actors in it. Charlize isn’t too bad, but she had a shaved head and that kind of wrecked the look for me [laughs].

Why did you decide to give movies a go?

It come down to the experience of doing something different and to get ahead with money. I haven’t made decent money from riding bikes for a while now, and when you own a house you have to do what’s best, even if you have to leave the wife and pets at home for six months. It’s not a normal job by any stretch, but it was definitely secure money.

Why are you so buff right now?

[Laughs] I wouldn’t say I’m buff, but we had to train a lot for the movie as they wanted us to look fairly skinny. And really, working out was the only thing to do over there; the down didn’t have a lot going for it, and when you’re hanging out with Gally, Mackie and Addo, who are all trainaholics, I got onto it too. I’ve never been the fittest rider, so it was good to focus on my cardio and strength so I can come back fighting next year. After two or three months off the motocross track I was hanging to get back out there again and got really motivated with my training.

Robbie and Cody Mackie, first day at the office in the Namibia desert.

Why are you glad to be home?

I’m really happy to be back with my family and friends. I’ve never really travelled overseas to exotic countries like Africa, so it was great to see another part of the world. After that though, I think the prices of everything in Australia is a joke. It’s so expensive here, and after seeing a bit of the world I want to see more. I think I’ll travel some more soon.

Why do you want to get involved in the movie industry?

It’s a different industry, but it’s not that much different from the bike stuff. I’ve like to get into the physical stunts side of it and get my accreditation for driving cars and that sort of shit. It’s good fun and it’s a secure job when you lock the work in. The people are easily to get along with and they have a similar attitude to the MX industry.

I don’t care if I pick up more stunt work here or overseas, but the people I worked with have seen the world and got paid to do it! It’s not a holiday, but it’s a pretty unreal gig. I definitely wouldn’t turn it down if the opportunity arose again.

Bonus question! Why are you looking forward to 2013?

For starters I’m not quite as stressed about money as I have a bit saved now. Next year I plan to ride for Northstar again with Yamaha backing. I’ll ride a 450 in the motocross and do FMX on the YZ250. I’m pretty pumped to reunite with Yamaha and Northstar, and with my new base fitness I’m more than capable of winning the Queensland titles and the Sunny State series. I’ll also try my luck at the four Queensland rounds of the MX Nationals and see how I get on.