Many fans have been looking forward to this film for years. Thirty years after the end Group B rallying, Helmut Deimel is now launching a film on rallying’s wildest era. For “Riding Balls of Fire”, the Austrian has delved into his archive for the best action footage of the 500 bhp Group B supercars in order to show the ultra-fast development in the sport from 1983 to 1986.
As is typical for Deimel, the chronology of events is broken up by special features such as the failure of the high-tech cars in Africa, the fight for glory on the Race to the Clouds at Pikes Peak, and a preview on the planned Group S formula. Apart from the action on the special stages, “Riding Balls of Fire” also highlights the technological developments and the heroes of the supercar era. For his homage to Group B rallying, Deimel has spoken to all the important characters including the four Group B World Champions plus Walter Röhrl, Michèle Mouton, Ari Vatanen and the former team managers Jean Todt and Cesare Fiorio.
Although this 100-minute documentary also deals with the tragic accidents, Deimel always focuses on the fascination of that era. “Riding Balls of Fire” is not a blood opera. It is a rally film that gets under your skin. Deimel’s review only throws a few critical stones at Group B rallying, rather preferring to strew rose petals in its wake in memory of a very special time.