Movie motorbikes: Top Gun

Tom Cruise racing a Kawasaki GPZ900R beside a runway as a jet takes off is an iconic scene in the original Top Gun movie.

Released in 1986, it’s a memory that has stuck with Rob Walters and lived up to Berlin’s theme song ‘Take My Breath Away’.

Cruise revives his role as US Navy pilot Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell in Top Gun: Maverick, due to be released in UK cinemas next month, after several delays.

The GPZ900R, which starred in the 1986 film, has a cameo appearance in the sequel. An official trailer shows Maverick pulling a cover off his old Kawasaki.

In the new movie, he is aboard a supercharged Kawasaki Ninja H2 when he reprises the scene racing a jet.

Rob was 17 when the first Top Gun movie came out and was riding a Suzuki TS125 trail bike.

“I can remember the GPZ900R. When I was at school that was the bike to have. It was ‘bike of the year’.”

While the 1986 film has stood the test of time, he feels shots of Cruise riding the GPZ900R feel dated for one specific reason.

“You watch it now and you can’t imagine someone riding round without a crash helmet on,” he said. “It doesn’t seem dated until he’s not wearing a helmet.”

Top Gun made a big impact on Rob because it combined two of his passions – motorbikes and planes.

“It was one of the first films I watched when I clocked there was actually a motorbike in it. Suddenly you’re riding bikes on the road and you notice it. I was also a plane nut.

“And it was set in California so constant sunshine.”

Top Gun: Maverick is due to be released in UK cinemas on 27 May. Check out the official trailers online.

[Top Gun: Maverick - Paramount Pictures]