The first photographer to respond to my call for inspiring talent to feature was Chris Martin, Southampton Photographer of note for his work covering motorcycle racing amongst other sporting events. As motorcycle racing has been a huge passion of mine since I was young, Chris’s offer to allow me to use his Master Photographers Association, Associateship panel was a chance I was not going to pass on!
Chris is now a successful wedding and portrait photographer in Southampton and you can find him here. Chris Martin Photography. Chris also provided some notes to go with each picture to give a little more insight in to the thought process behind each one.
Dean “Deano” Thomas, British Superbike Championship, Oulton Park.
I had noticed a reflection when Dean wheelied past me earlier in the session and as the riders often wheelie on the slowing down lap after the session I thought I would see if I could capture an image with the riders face brightly illuminated. I opted for shutter priority at 1/800s to ensure a sharp shot. I wasn’t too concerned about frozen motion because of the angle I was shooting at.
Steve Plater, British Superbike Championship, Snetterton.
Having noticed the AIM Yamahas flaming exhaust at this corner on the TV monitors I decided to walk over and try and capture it. I had to wait a few laps before I got my timing right.
Richard Britton, Ballykelly army base, Northern Ireland.
I was in Northern Ireland with the Rizla Suzuki Superbike team and they had local rider the late Richard Britton racing the bike. Not having raced on roads before there were problems getting the bike stable at high speed so the team got permission to test the bike at this army base. During one of many high speed passes a helicopter appeared from the distance and chased the bike along the airfield. This was not planned and the M.o.D. wouldn’t allow publication of this image! I would have used a slower shutter speed to get blurred rotors if I had known the helicopter was about to appear. I had the shutter speed set at 1/800s which still gave a blurred background as the bike approached as it was doing 187mph as it passed us about 25 yards away!
Sete Gibernau, MotoGP, Donington Park.
Sete Gibernau crashing out of the MotoGP race at Donington Park while championship rival Valentino Rossi rides past in the background. This picture made the front page of Motorcycle News and made standing in the pouring rain for hours on end worth it! My sleeves kept filling with water and I had to lower my arms from time to time to empty them.
Chris Walker, Rizla Suzuki British Superbike test, Almeria, Spain.
As team photographer I travelled to Almeria to photograph an off season test. The team press officer had a long list of requirements and amongst them was a need for images of the bikes with lots of space around them, preferably uncluttered, for editorial use. This is one of the images I came up with. I wanted to frame the bike against the snow capped mountain range in the distance and I also wanted it to be on a diagonal across the bottom right hand corner. This would leave most of the image covered by clear sky.
Shinichi Nakatomi, World Superbike Championship, Valencia.
This shot was taken on an extremely fast left hand bend near the end of the lap at Valencia. The bikes approach over a blind crest making it difficult to pick up the bike smoothly for a panning shot. The bikes are on the limit of adhesion as can been seen by looking at the rear tyre where it contacts the tarmac. Nakatomi has angled his head towards me while looking where he’s going out of the corner of his eyes. Makes for a great shot!
Bob Collins, British Superstock Cup, Brands Hatch.
Bob displaying his stunt riding skills on the cool down lap. He has somehow managed to sit on the tank with both legs over the handlebars, performing a rolling burnout while also spotting me! Although this takes great skill race direction were not impressed and fined him for performing this stunt.
Shane “Shakey” Byrne Superbike Test, Almeria, Spain.
This is the sort of shot the teams like that they can’t easily get in England. There are no barriers around this part of the circuit so I could adopt a low stance a capture the bike against the backdrop of the distant mountains. The low angle shows off the sponsors stickers well.
Cal Crutchlow, British Superbikes, Mondello Park, Ireland.
Cal’s unfortunate accident at Mondello Park in Ireland. I was tracking Cal into the corner with a completely different shot in mind when the crash happened and I instinctively kept the camera on the bike and rider and kept taking shots.
James Toseland, MotoGP, Donington Park.
This was shot for possible use as a poster print. James’ season didn’t go so well and it was not used. I was after a strong corner to corner frame filling image from an angle not often seen from the public enclosures.
James Haydon, British Superbike Testing, Croft.
I was walking the track at Croft taking photos from as many vantage points as possible when it started to snow. As I headed back towards the garages I noticed the sun was backlighting the spray from the bikes so I waited for James to come round again to capture this shot. I knew he would pull in because of the weather so I only had the one chance to capture this. I positioned the bike frame left to show more of the spray behind the bike.
Chris Walker, Rizla Suzuki, Knockhill, Scotland.
I was asked by the team to produce a shot with the bike upright and to the left of centre. I couldn’t find a good place to shoot and then realised the bike didn’t actually need to be upright as such. I could achieve the result I wanted by tilting the camera. I knew the image was for the back cover of a brochure so the large area of track was ideal for placing text over. I generally pre focus when the bike is moving away from the camera as autofocus doesn’t work as well as when they are travelling towards the camera.
Craig Jones, World Supersport Championship, Brands Hatch.
The late Craig Jones exiting Druids hairpin. I was team photographer for this team when they raced in the British championship. I particularly liked the way the white sections of the kerb acted as a fill reflector.
Chris, these are fantastic! All pictures used with the permission of the photographer – please do not use these images without permission.