|“||I am the Nightrider! I'm a fuel-injected suicide machine!||”|
– The Nightrider
Crawford "Nightrider" Montizano was a berserk motorcycle gang member of Toecutter's gang. Little is known of his imprisonment, with the opening events of Mad Max showing the conclusion of Nightrider's tale. Having broken police custody in Sun City and - with a punk woman named Marmaduke by his side - he attempted to flee from the Main Force Patrol (the Federal highway police unit) in a stolen MFP Pursuit Special. As he drives, he recites a Muhammad Ali style rhyming rant, which he bellows over the police CB band, citing his credentials as a hero to his peers, and general invincibility 'Step right up and watch the kid lay down a rubber road to freedom!!!'
Though he managed to elude his initial pursuers: Roop and Charlie, and Sarse and Scuttle; the Nightrider then encountered the MFP's "top pursuit man", leather-clad Max Rockatansky. Max, the more skilled driver with a well-tuned, and faster vehicle, pursued the Nightrider in a high-speed nerve-wracking chase. The Nightrider engages Max in a game of chicken, driving head on in a collision course at top speed, assuming that Max's nerve will break, and force him to swerve away. However, it is the Nightrider whose nerve breaks first, and he swerves off course with a yelp of fear. With terror in his eyes, Nightrider begins to weep, as his dream of freedom is replaced by a vision of certain doom, and Max's faster car shunts the Nightrider's Monaro along the highway at top speed. Barely focusing on the road, he is totally unable to negotiate an overturned vehicle in his path. The chase resulted in the death of the Nightrider and his girl in a fiery car crash.
Appearance and personality
Nightrider definitely had some reputation that surrounded him, no doubt from his criminal abilities and commitment to Toecutter. Throughout the chase scene, the Phi tattoo that all the gang's initiated members have, is clearly visible on his left cheekbone. From the scenes where the gang collects his body from the station master, and later through Johnny the Boy's psychotic mumblings, we learn that Toecutter regards Nightrider as somewhat of a legend, commenting: "The Night Rider, remember him when you look at the night sky." It is also noteworthy from the scene in the town, that a great number of gang affiliates converge to be a part of the Nightrider's honour guard - Far more than the small crew the Toecutter keeps close to him.
The substance of the Nightrider's legendary status can be discerned in what we actually do see of him before his death. He seemingly single-handedly broke free of the Halls of Justice and alongside this feat managed to steal a Pursuit Special in the process. His driving abilities, in a car, are possibly questionable, but this may be due to the amount of damage the Monaro seems to have taken during the escape. Although he puts up a reasonable lead, he is eventually shut down, and his personality suddenly shifts from raging manic psychosis to fearful depression in the face of further imprisonment or death.
His mental health, as stated above, is obviously highly questionable. It appears that Nightrider likely has both schizophrenia and a bi-polar disorder that alternates viciously from extreme manic euphoria to catastrophizing and fear when faced with a dilemma he doesn't think he can overcome. As far as Toecutter's gang goes, he's not much different to any of them - they all seem to be mentally ill in one way or another.