From the time that ESPN went on the air in 1979 and throughout it’s first decade of existence, they were broadcasting just about any kind of sporting event they could find. Motor sports was a big market in the ’80s from the professional racing tours on down to tractor pulls at the county fair. Motor sports videos were very popular in the infancy of VHS and ESPN Home Video was among the popular distributors.
A recent trip to my parents house yielded several boxes of VHS tapes that my Dad had purchased through the years. As one of the hosts of Thrift Store Horde, this was instant treasure to someone who is used to digging through VHS tapes at local thrift stores. Dad was never a fan of popular sports leagues like the NFL, NBA, and MLB. He’s a huge car buff so all that mattered to him was NASCAR, NHRA, and the occasional Indy race. He also took me to local race tracks and tractor pulls on occasion to witness the power of man-made machines.
So when I found ESPN On The Power Vol 1 among his VHS tapes, I was not surprised in the least. This video definitely falls into that “any kind of sporting event” category with footage of random cars, motorcycles, jet, and boats pushing the limits of what their vehicles can do. The cover says “Volume 1” but I haven’t been able to find evidence of any future volumes. Here is the description from the back of the slip cover:
Pull on your crash helmet and fasten your seat belts as ESPN puts you at the controls of the world’s fastest, most powerful machines. If you’ve ever dreamed of red-lining an Indy car, piloting a jet fighter at Mach 2.5 or clutching the handlebars of a high performance motorcycle – this is the video for you. You’ll experience hitting 295 MPH in the quarter mile driving a top fuel dragster, fly over the waves doing 140 in a tunnel boat and pull 4 G’s in an Indy car. The action’s set to a hard-driving rock n’ roll soundtrack and includes the thrill of driving: Winston Cup Cars, Indy Cars, Grand Prix Motorcycles, Off Shore and F-1 Tunnel Boats, Jet Fighters, Dragsters, and more. Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines – You’re ON THE POWER!
Even to someone who might not be into motorsports, this video should be fascinating and maybe a little eye-opening with some of the speed freaks that are showcased. Do yourself a favor and dedicate the next 25 minutes to watch ESPN On The Power Vol 1 from the VHS archive on the TRN TV YouTube channel…