The Willo Enduro

The Willo Enduro, Wingello State Forest, 2017

Last weekend we headed down to the Southern Highlands for the annual Willo Enduro. The Willo is a great race to shoot simply because it is on such a beautiful track. There are certain sections on the track that are just a photographer’s dream.

The Willo is typically held under a blanket of grey cloudy with a slight drizzle in the air. This year didn’t disappoint us either. While that doesn’t sound too tempting it is great for shooting in the forests. Overnight rain had left the track slick and muddy and had a few riders sliding around in the damper sections.

This was our first year covering the event for competitors though Gil and I have shot it over the previous years on an editorial basis. We called up another member of our team and then all headed off into our various sections of the forests. I had the wonderful Nyes creek crossing, a beautiful section of rainforest and ferns.

Normally we would change locations a lot more but since it was only a 3 lap race we just stayed relatively close to our designated areas. Luckily since it is such a beautiful track those areas have an abundance of shots and angles.

If you want to see the complete gallery of photos and grab your images from the day they can be found here on our website.

If you have an event that you would like covered swing on over to Outer Image and touch base with us so we can work out how best to suit your needs

 

Jetblack 24hr: Awaba

Jetblack’s Annual 24hr XC race was held at Awaba this year. It was a change from the usual tracks that hold the longer races as for us it meant all the shots would be under the canopy of the trees. Awaba doesn’t have much if any open areas.

Jetblack Twenty Four Hour XC race at Awaba, 2017

Although the weekend started out warm and sunny once the race got underway the clouds moved in bringing with them a few showers. Luckily despite an initial blast from a well aimed storm the rest of the race remained relatively dry. The rain was actually great as it brought the dust level down and provided better traction for the riders and they kept knocking out the laps.

As night fell the 6+6 category retired from the track leaving only the dedicated night riders out on track. For us it meant things slowed a bit on track but it also gave us time to work on our lighting and fine it to get the most out of our shots.

After a couple of hours kip we got up in time to catch the 6+6 riders as they headed back out on to the track. Gil headed out to the northern end of the track while I walked the western side.

24hr races are demanding for the riders but also for us. But in so saying they do provide us with some great photographic opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to shoot.

If you want to see the complete gallery of photos they can be viewed here on our website. If you raced be sure and download your free images courtesy of Bacci Fresh and Jetblack Products.

If you have an event that you would like covered swing on over to Outer Image and touch base with us so we can work out how best to suit your needs

 

Base in Bright’s B24

The Thule B24 mountain bike race in the Victorian Alps around Bright

Once again the Thule B24 has rolled around put on by Base in Bright down at the beautiful little Victorian town of Bright. Tucked in the Victorian Alps, Bright is a bikers paradise with trails running everywhere to suit all levels of skill and all types of biking. An unfortunate clash of dates meant I was down there this year while Gil went off to cover the Highland Fling.

The threat of rain unfortunately kept the numbers lower than expected but, considering the forecast, the turnout was great and certainly not the small race it was when it kicked off 4 years ago. The weekend started out at the Bright Brewery with a track stand contest and a few beers.

Saturday lunch saw the race get underway from the grand marquee. First out were the solo racers, followed 15 mins later by the esprit d’ corps category. A few shots along the river then I headed out to the new section of track called Tombstone. By all reports this super-flowy section went down a treat and everyone who came down were all smiles. Basically though, all the track was new as the course had been reversed this year to accommodated taking in Tombstone.

Early Sunday morning around 1am, I had just about dozed off in the back of my car when the sky lit up and the heavens opened with a bang as a thunderstorm rolled in. I felt pity for those still slogging it through the night. Some pretty torrential rain fell over night but by morning it had eased back a bit in intensity though was still consistent. The rain fell through the Sunday at times becoming increasing again. I was rather helpless as first my lenses started to mist and then I saw moisture forming inside the camera itself. Not much to do but keep shooting anyway.

By the end of the race those who were was still out on track were plastered with mud but still everyone who came in couldn’t wipe the smile off their face after such a great event. I have long wanted to shoot a few portraits after a muddy race like that and I got more than my fair share of mud-encrusted faces after the race finished up

Sam Moffitt took the win with his first 24hr victory and Courtney Henry took the win in the female solo category with her 3rd ever mtb race.

Head over to the full gallery to check out all that was captured over the weekend.

If you have an event that you would like covered touch base with us so we can work out how best to suit your needs. Here is some of the ways we can help your event grow.

Jetblack 12hr: Mowbray Farm

The final laps into the night

The final laps into the night

The final mountain bike race for the 2016 Rocky Trail Entertainment XC season was the Jetblack 12 hour. This year it was held at Mowbray farm MTB track near Picton in the southwest of Sydney. It was a couple of years since we previously shot an XC race there. Though the course was basically the same, weather over the last month or so had altered the terrain around it.

The main change in the features around the course was the missing lake. Heavy rainfall of the previous weeks managed to wash away a dam, draining the lake in the middle of the course. The rain had left the track over-saturated. More rain overnight also added to the puddles, making some sections of the track more like water crossings. Although the previous night had been another wet one, the new day dawned windy but otherwise the weather was great.

Terrain along the track varies quite a bit. It heads through open fields with some nice views across to the city, crosses and drifts along a small creek that was once the lake and heads off into a young pine forest, meanders a back along the creek then up to the start again. There is about 123m vertical over the course which mostly seems to be crammed into the hill at the end . The wet weather had closed a couple of sections of the track making the course shorter and a couple of sections rather slippery. However, the shorter course just meant faster laps, bringing the riders back in front of our cameras more often.

At 10am a mass start sent mountain bikers racing off into the fields. The harsh light in the open fields below the start line meant shooting there was tricky. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before a few clouds came rolling in and softened up the light a bit. Gil set off against the flow and I went with the flow of riders were headed stopping when I came across shots that I liked. By mid afternoon we had both made it probably halfway around the track. We realised the best locations to shoot the sunset would be the fields and dams back near the start so headed back in that direction.

Nightfall saw us both in the fields playing experimenting at using our lights in different ways. Gil lit some of the beautiful old trees in shots and I went to the dams to use the reflections in mine. Chill soon set in around the water’s edge and I headed back up to warm up and await the podiums.

Below are our picks for the race. The full gallery of images that Gil and I captured can be found over on the Outerimage website here

Full results from the race can be found over on the Rocky Trail Entertainment website here

Shimano GP round 5: Mt Annan

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A couple of weekends ago was round 5 of the Shimano GP. It was held at the now familiar Mt. Annan Botanical Gardens. As it is a race that is close to the city it always attracts a great turn-out. Mt. Annan also turned on the other thing it is now famous with me for, hot weather. We have shot some scorchers out there with the thermometer pushing 46C. Thankfully although it wasn’t quite that hot it was nudging the 30C mark.

Gil headed out to the back of the track and started his day off around the big berm out there. He got some fantastic shots just nearby at a small rollover of people taking to the air. I spent the majority of the day hiding in the cool shade of the trees. There is some great forested sections  and tree tunnels in the gardens. Although I searched for new shots I found myself dragged back to old favourites as well.

Only the final race left now at Mowbray farm, A new track means lots of new angles and lot’s of new locations to shoot from. Be sure and keep an eye out for those upcoming images.

You can see the full gallery of  Mt Annan images here. Don’t forget that if you raced then you can download all your images free thanks to the great folks over at Shimano. Just drop us a line if you need the password and we shall sort things out for you.

Enjoy!!

 

Shimano GP round 4: Mt Stromlo

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The continuing series of this year’s Shimano GP took place over the weekend with round 4 at Canberra.  The day dawned chilly but not frosty like the previous weekend’s Rollercoaster. After a short pre-race briefing the race got off to a start under the cloudy skies of Mt Stromlo Forest Park.

Gil and I started off shooting around the start the Gil drove to the top of the hill and headed out along the skyline track. I started at the bottom as I wanted to shoot among some of the beautiful wattle that was in bloom down there before the sun burnt through the clouds and made the light too harsh. Unfortunately this meant that all up my day was spent walking uphill and shooting riders as they came uphill. As it was the soft cloudy light stuck around for most of the day.  Over the rest of the day we made the most of the soft light shooting in the trees but still trying to mix up the shots as best as we could to get a good variation of shots. There is some great views around the track which makes Stromlo one of our favourites to shoot.

One racer made my day when she brought me up a cup of coffee, Dalene you are a legend!!!! At the end of the day I ended up at Echidna Pass near the start of Rollercoaster. As luck would have it both Gil and I finished up in about the same area which meant I got a lift back down the hill.

You can visit the full gallery and check out the photos here. Remember if you raced over the weekend you can download your images for free thanks to the folks over at Shimano, just send us a message and we shall check you off the list and throw you the password.

To check out the full results swing over to the Rocky Trail website where they have them all listed

 

Back to the Vineyards

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So it was back to the vineyards of James Estate for the first round of the 2015 series of the Shimano GP. The big news is that this year Outer Image is happy to announce that the series images will be supplied free of charge to the competitors for personal use thanks  to the generosity of Shimano and Rocky Trail Entertainment.

The track was quite dusty as you can see in the images below but there was certainly no complaints to be heard from anyone. Normally one of us takes the vineyard and the other takes the single trail at the back but this year we had to change. Due to an abundance of the nasty cats eye burs (nemesis of the bike riders tyres) throughout the vinyards the course was shortened down to around 8.5kms so gil went right and I went left on the single-track. The shorter track had a couple of knock-on effects for Gil and I. It meant that the riders came around more often  and it meant that there was a more constant flow of riders for us both, definitely not a bad thing for two photographers who love being out on track shooting.

It looks set to be a close series again this year. A few familiar faces have changed categories but many have stayed where they are. There was also a whole bunch of new faces which was great to see out there. Hopefully we shall be seeing you all again at the next round at the old favourite Awaba.

If you didn’t receive your password to download your race images drop Gil and I a message and we shall send it through to you. If you want to see all the images you can find them here on our website. You can find all the details for the upcoming races and results over on Rocky Trail’s website and if you like getting your images for free be sure and swing by Shimano Australia’s facebook page and let them know.

AMB 100 Marathon

AMB 100, Mt. Stromlo 2015

Under a hot Canberra sun last weekend the AMB 100 took place at Mount Stromlo Forest Park. Things got underway with the 31 ‘100 milers’ leaving the gate at an early 5am.  A few hours later after a lovely sunrise the rest of the pack got to hit the trail as well in their chosen length of 100kms, 66kms or 33kms.

The day warmed quickly with temperatures up into the high 30’s (for some reason it always feels a good 5C hotter at Mt Stromlo). Red faces on some of the competitors showed that the heat was taking its toll on some, others however just seemed to shrug it off.

Gil took his camera and headed out to the back of the track, an area that is not often used for races (at least with Rocky Trail’s series). I stayed on the front-side and covered a new section of downhill with twists and turns with a few little drops thrown in for good measure.

It was a long day on the mountain but as so often is the case with the Rocky Trail series it was a great day on the mountain.

Full results can be found on Rocky Trail Entertainment’s website here

All the race images can be found in their galleries here

 

 

Its Dark when you Solo

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Its been a week now since the 2014 Australian Solo 24hr Nationals were run and won in partnership with Rocky Trail Entertainments JetBlack 24 at Mt Annan trails in Sydney. Winners Jason English and Tory Thomas winning both the national titles and the right to wear the Yellow and Gold for a a year as the national champions in the discipline. One of the staggering numbers from this event is the number of laps achieved by Jason with 36laps of a 9.8km loop and female winner Tory not far behind with 33 a feat which would have put her about 5th overall against all the men.

What also impressed us, besides the new trail work at Mt Annan, was the number of people wanting to come out and test themselves mate against mate and on the course. Numbers for the event were 400 strong with over 100 of those riders riding solo. For the photographers of Outer Image this is one of the ideal events for a variety of shooting conditions. Not only do we get to see the riders over and over again on the looping track but we get to see them throughout a variety of light conditions from full bright sun, evening sunset to complete darkness only to reverse this order again the next day. A photographers dream.

During the event we see many stages of riders energy levels. Now after talking to quite a few post race and via emails its nice to know our presence of music, words of encouragement and “wow I didn’t see you” wake-up calls were helpful.  But on a more serious note, we are always impressed with how happy the riders remain even when exhausted, covered in a thick layer of sunscreen and dust pushing through the pain barriers. It puts our job at hand in perspective as we tire and sometimes struggle with the gear we carry to find new and interesting photo perspectives.  It drives us to continue to find and capture images that will inspire others and allow riders to have a memento of their efforts.

As we settle down for the year we have pretty much finished this year’s events and will be just working on personal projects and preparing ideas for next year. We would love to hear from the #rockytrailracers on anything.  We are always looking for new ways to improve our skills and bring you some of the best mtb photography out there in Australia. What better way to do that then hear directly from those that matter, you.  So if you every want to chat we are always eager to here what you have to say maybe over a cold drink or out on the trails while riding (hopefully there is more time for a bit of that now the year is done) or even just send us a message through here or facebook.

Have a great break and if we don’t see you until next year when the Rocky Trail event series kicks off again with the AMB 100 in Stromlo, Canberra then enjoy that summer sunshine, you have experienced enough darkness during the JetBlack 24hr.

Rider images can be viewed here by searching your race number.

Cheers Gil and Richard.

Thule B24 in Bright

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Once again Gil and I hit the road, this time making our way down to the Victorian Alps. It was time  for the Thule B24 enduro at Bright. It’s the second year it has been running and word is getting around about the 24hr race and it’s trails, numbers were up on last year and this year almost 300 competitors registered for the race.

Gil and I arrived on the Thursday evening and scouted the course on the Friday. Although mainly the same course as last year there was a couple of changes to add in more single-track. The track runs out along the river before heading up into the pine forests on the mountainside above Bright. It dips into the pines of Treehugger before the return downhill through a flowing section called Gorilla Warfare and back out to run along the river again.

Race day saw temperatures up into the 30’s and a few people dropping out for a few hours until things cooled again heading into the evening. Many soldiered on though and continued knocking out the laps. As night fell so too did the temperature though not to the same biting chill like the previous year. Lights came on but Gil and I continued to shoot into the night. Eventually Gil and I called it a night.

As Sunday dawned we got back into the shooting in some beautiful mountain light. As the sun rose and the temperature climbed again I made my way deeper into cooling shade of the trees around the river. As the temperature rose even further I actually made my way into the river and cooled down a bit whilst standing knee deep and shooting from there. I wasn’t alone as the race neared completion more and more competitors who had made their final run came down to cool off.

A huge congratulations to all those who competed and a big thank you from Gil and I to all those who helped organise such a wonderful event. Already looking forward to the next one.

Be sure and check out all the images on our website here