Eddie Fiola: The RADical stuntsman
Introducing RAD for the next generation. An ultimate BMX racing movie released in 1986, featuring local kid Cru Jones and Helltrack - Cochrane’s new BMX track that is not to be messed with. It is the “ET” movie of BMX.
Filmed in Canada, the popularity for this movie has never waned and to date, countless reviews and comments are still being posted on internet sites worldwide.
Famed for the stunts of Cru Jones and flat land scenes before and after the movie, Eddie has experienced a successful career in BMX, which has opened doors as a stuntman. He’d originally picked up the skateboarding scene before swapping the board for the bike, mainly because it was easier to get from A to B. Competitions at the time were only for skateboards in swimming pools.
In the beginning, Eddie began his passion in the racing scene (beginner and expert) before focusing on freestyle and flatland. His first sponsor at the age of 16 was Premier Helmets after he met Fred Blood (SE Racing/General) who introduced him to Denise Barter (now Director of Marketing for Premier Helmets – who were founded in California in 1961 and moved their production to Italy in 1987) and Harry Larry (talented BMX racer who later became the Production Manager for the Diamondback Company).
“Riding in general is great in the first place” says Eddie, talking from his Californian home. “You’re paid to ride. My first show paid food, $25 and I got to ride all day”.
Eddie believes RAD is loosely based on his life, as director Hal Needham had paid him a visit to his home several years earlier. He’d been interested in Eddie’s life and had asked him many questions, which put together, paints a similar picture of Cru Jones life, who’s dad had also passed away several years earlier.
As a sponsored youth, life was busy as he travelled alone from show to show in the 80’s as his mother, a single parent, was looking after his two other siblings. Although Eddie didn’t really think much of it at the time, he only thought about riding his bike. Life consisted of travelling to specific areas for tours, riding for the entire show, packing up, sleeping and then driving to the next show. But he doesn’t miss it.
“I like to play around now. My favourite tricks are back flips as they’re fun but 360º are my favourite’. Moonwalks on a bicycle also come up high on his list and he can be seen on various old-school You Tube videos. Many of the old tricks he does these days awe inspire the kids into thinking they’re new.
These days, Eddie Fiola works long hours as a Stuntman and Film Stunt Coordinator, particularly on movie sets. His impressive resume include stunts on Superman 2 & 3 and The Dukes of Hazzard. “Being able to see and do stunts and then watch the movie, is amazing” he says.
One of his most popular television ads to feature in Australia, showed him chasing a cheetah through the Texan (Tahone) Pass – in California desert, after it’d stolen his Mountain Dew. When he catches up with the cat, he tackles it to the ground, retrieves the can from the bottom of its stomach and states “bad cheetah”. After the six days of filming this scene, the three boys who drank the can at the end and said “see... that’s why I’m not a cat person”, were lucky enough to go to South Africa just for that scene, leaving Eddie to stay home in California!
These days, life is mainly about stunt work and married life with his young daughter. He’s come a long way in the world of BMX and movies. But he still holds the dream of winning the lottery.
XBR - Xtreme Bicycle Magazine - Issue 21 - 2008