As I sit here on the afternoon of Sunday April 23rd, I’m feeling excited. Later this week I’ll be flying to London, to fly to Croatia, to drive to Slovenia for the first round of the 2017 Speedway Grand Prix series. As I’m waiting to head to the coast tonight for a sunset photo mission, I figured I’d have a look through my archives at what kind of thing I got at this event last year, and then inevitably ended up doing re-edits, then looked at more from other events and now I’m doing a blog post. I’ve not even checked if my batteries are charged or if my filters and lenses are clean. I’m kind of on a bit of a crest of a wave.
I’ll state just now, that I’m not going to give you a season in review, who did what kind of post. A) that just ain’t me and B) I’m always that concentrated on trying to get a shot that I can never remember what happened. Instead I’m going to kind of just babble on for a bit, trying to straddle the line between each paragraph seeming like an ill conceived caption and going off on one like a pompous arse.
This upcoming season will be my third shooting Speedway for Monster Energy. Whereas in the previous years I entered the season feeling nervous, woefully under prepared and ill-equipped for the year ahead, this time round I feel ready to crush it. Speedway isn’t a particularly difficult sport to shoot. The bikes are on an oval, and go past you every fifteen seconds on a relatively narrow stretch of track. You know where you are, where the riders are going to be. If you have a basic understanding of how a camera works, there’s a decent chance you will get something usable.
It is however exceedingly difficult to get creative, expressive shots of Speedway. For that kind of stuff you need to build relationships with riders, mechanics, managers and anyone else who you are going to get in the way of while cutting about in the pits.
A pit for a speedway bike is probably about the same size as your garden shed. There will be about 3 mechanics, 4 helmets, a seat for the rider to try and relax between races, A TV showing the broadcast for the event, at least one roll cab toolbox and top box. It’s not a huge area. Then you add in the TV crew that come over and try and get the interview after a heat. There ain’t a lot of space for creativity that’s for sure.
That however is my job. Get the shots that nobody else is getting in an incredibly frenetic space that adds to the story and overall atmosphere of an event. The best part is I love doing it. I am as excited to catch up with friends as I am to shoot. I have plans and ideas. I feel I have also matured since I last shot speedway as photographer and more importantly as an editor.
As the new season dawns I feel more ready than I ever have. That’s a pretty good feeling.
CUTTING ROOM FLOOR