Nigel Petrie’s pursuit of land speed record chronicled in Flats

29 January, 2016 by Harry Windsor

Flats, photo by Dean Walters.


The second film from Melbourne-based Matte Media follows Nigel Petrie, who built a salt flat racer and rode to the salt flats of South Australia on custom bikes with his friend Dean Walters.  

Once there, Petrie aimed to fulfil a childhood dream by breaking the land speed record.

Flats is the second documentary from Matthew J Cox after Dream Build Drive, which also followed Petrie. 

In that film he was building a drift ute, a process which took him three and a half years.

Cox met Petrie through the latter's wife, who attended high school with the filmmaker. 

After an advanced diploma from SAE South Melbourne, Cox worked as a DOP and editor for various production companies before starting Matte Media, which produces corporate promos for clients as well as Cox's own narrative work.

After Dream Build Drive, which was entirely crowdfunded, enjoyed reasonable success online, Petrie approached Cox again with the idea of "going to the salt".

This time they went to six private investors, raising a total of $36,000 from "friends and family [who] saw how Dream Build Drive went and believed in the two of us".

"The selling point with investors was that Nigel has quite a big following online. We crunched the numbers and worked out that if we sell to 10% of his audience we'd make our money back. And the size of the bike market is massive".

The production shot in March last year – "The build process [we] shot in a week. Probably three to four weeks all up with the road trip up to the salt and the salt itself".

The team behind Flats will now release the film VOD on March 25. 

Given that Vimeo only take a ten percent cut, Cox is hopeful of repaying his investors' faith, and even of doing a follow-up, in which the duo embark on a road trip across America to the salt flats of Bonneville, Utah. 

Watch the trailer here.