Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Crowds Roared - A Laguna Seca MotoGp USGP Update!

Apologies for the delay in updating this corner of the world. What with one thing or another I needed a little break. Finally AutoMotoPhoto has been updated. The race weekend was interesting. Fog played a major part in the events, causing delays to the AMA schedule. However, as MotoGP is tied very heavily to TV schedules worldwide, it runs when it's supposed to. Overall the weather during the weekend was pleasant and maneagable, the crowds were a little down on last year but it made moving around considerably easier and well, the GP race on Sunday certainly gave everyone their money's worth.For once in my crazy motorcycle racing photography career I was in the right place at the right time an was fortunate enough to capture the entire pass Valentino Rossi made on Casey Stoner by following the tried and tested Alex Zanardi route through the dirt. You had to be there, with a full house of racing fans behind me, each time riders appeared air horns blasted and cheers went up! This time, as Rossi passed Stoner on the dirt, it was like David Beckham scoring a goal for England (Eng-a-land) soon as the they had passed every photographer grappled with the rear of their cameras to check (or "chimp" )their review screens to see if they caught what would turn out to be the "shot of the day"....

To think, just a moment before I was going to walk a little further down the hill for another vantage point but thought to myself, "nah, I'll stay here for one more lap" and for the first time ever it paid off. After working my way down to the hill to hopefully catch a chequered flag shot I arrived at the first gate into the paddock and I was turned away, sadly by the time we had got to the second gate I missed Rossi triumphantly wheelie his Yamaha across the finish line. That's life I suppose, however, not to be too downhearted I was fortunate enough to get to the barriers in parc ferme right next to Rossi's team and was able to witness his jubilation and joy of winning the race. This is the second time I have been able to witness a Rossi win up close and personal, the first was at Phillip Island a couple of years ago and his (Rossi) exuberance and just plain excited boyishness is infectious. Smiles all round...a big well done to AMA Superbike riders Ben Spies and Jamie Hacking who put on a cracking performance as wild cards in the GP race and a big well done to Ben Bostrom and Mat Mladin as well. It gave me some folks to cheer for. With that in mind, I'll leave you with an aerial view of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a big thanks to Michael for getting me up, up and awaaaay.
Off to Mid Ohio tomorrow. It looks like it won't rain....PHEW!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Bernard Cahier - 1927-2008

Just a small update to recognize one of greats of motorsport photography. Bernard Cahier died on July 10. For someone who grew up with Formula 1 there wasn't the coverage on TV that there is now, so magazines were all you had aside from what would turn up on the BEEB sometimes. His son Paul Henri continues the tradition of capturing one of the worlds greatest motorsports and along with Darren Heath are two of my favourite photographers and a personal inspiration for me in my world of motorcycle racing photography. Thank you for the memories.

To visit some of his work click here

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Smoked Turkey Legs - Indy MotoGP Test - Go Ben

Just a small update, I'll post some pictures to my site after the weekend.

This week I went to cover the MotoGP test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. The last time I was there was for Formula 1 (with Emily) and so it was with quite a lot of excitement that I was traveling there once again. When I was there last, as a spectator, it seemed so much bigger, so maybe having worked in motorsport for the last few years has made these places seem so much less imposing. Some of the old F1 track is there, however, where the last turn onto the start finish used to be, has been totally removed and is now turn one which takes you into the infield, not totally dissimilar to the "in and out" or turn 1 at Daytona.

The test included riders from Yamaha, Ducati, Honda and of course Suzuki, with current AMA Superbike Champion Ben Spies putting in an immaculate performance during the test. Obviously, circuits (or as they're affectionately known over here as "rovals" - ROad courses on OVALS such as this are nothing new for Ben, racing on similar rovals such as Daytona and the California Speedway in Fontana.Fortunately during the two day test for the MotoGP teams the weather cooperated...however, on Thursday, rain made quite an appearance for the Red Bull Rookie test at the speedway.That's all from me for now...we'll see you at Laguna Seca for the Red Bull USGP in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, here's a little G9 video vignette of the track for your viewing pleasure.