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

Mt. Stromlo, the Series finale

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This time it was back to Stromlo in Canberra for the series finishing round of Rocky Trail Entertainment’s Fox Rollercoaster.

With three tracks running the Rollercoaster covered a large section of Mt Stromlo. We went on the Friday so we could be there bright and breezy for a track walk and location scout. Saturday was practice runs at Stromlo. Gil and I decided that we would both cover the vapor trail or, as it was known on race day, the Camelbak Track. We have both shot the Luge to death in previous events and the other trail was the most technically demanding. Gil took to the top half of the Vapor Trail while I explored the lower half. I was quite keen on getting a few shots of the big wallrides in action plus we were just doing a bit of recon for shooting locations on race day. Not nearly as many people were hitting the wallrides as I had expected but I did manage to get a couple of shots. With locations scouted I started on my way back down heading via a field where I knew the kangaroos gathered and snapped a few shots.

Early Sunday morning and apparently the temperatures hit a chilly -4 so it was a rather frosty morning. Race day all went smoothly. Gil and I shot at the locations we had scouted the day before. Gil got some great shots of a drop up top while I shot lower down on a berm I knew of. I even managed to get a few more sneaky wallride shots.

Being the final race of the season the podiums included the series winners. A huge congratulation to all those place-getters and an even bigger one to Michael Vanos and Vanessa Thompson who won the male and female elite series. You can, as always see the full results on the Rocky Trail website here. All the images are available for viewing on our website here and don’t forget to download your shots if you raced on the day.

Gil and I would like to pass on our heartiest thank you to all those involved for making the series as wonderful as it was. Obviously top of the list is Martin and Juliana of Rocky Trail Entertainment without whom we wouldn’t have a series in the first place. To the fine folks at Fox racing and Camelbak for sponsoring all the races. It was with their support that we were able to supply you with all the photos over the season. To all those that care and maintain the great tracks that the races are run upon and of course to all the competitors who are the soul of the series and who make each event so much fun.

So thank you one and all and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Richard and Gil

 

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

 

 

Rocky Trailers, we thank you.

Rocky Trailers

Rocky Trailers

Faster and faster we go, another year another series done but with all the memories experienced and captured in this years Rocky Trail Entertainment Shimano MTB GP we can hardly wait until 2015.  Its been quite an experience getting to know every twist and turn of this series and the faces that appear out of the dust, mud spattered and grinning ear to ear.  We have seen some funny moments, some crashes and some low-sugar survival mode zombies but a lap later that zombie is gone replaced with the determined, powering “Rocky-Trailer” we have come to know by so many names.

Martin, Juliane, Graham, Charlie, Max, Peter, Nigel, Chris, Paris, James, Callum, Andrew, Kirby, Ed, Eliza, Jamie, Wendy, Sara, Laura, Michael, Kevin, Spencer, Grantley, Jo, Jackson, Michal, Ondrej……. the list is endless.

For us its not about who is the fittest, who had the fastest lap or who beat who we will leave that up to the athletes.  It is all about being there in the dust, in the scorching sun supplying the local Culicidae with a fresh supply of blood just so we can say yes we saw that, we got it and now you can relive that moment too. We love photographing these amazing locations with the unique terrain and lighting conditions on offer from the sunny vineyards of James Estate, the dark forests of Ourimbah and Awaba to the relentless rocks of Stromlo.  Every round we push ourselves to find new images on tracks that are truly etched into your riding-psyche not settling on the first corner, first jump or closest rock, we hope we have achieved that for you.

What we didn’t plan on was the friendships we made along the way, between ourselves and with everyone we have had the time to stop and talk to while working the angles, looking for the right moment and after all the racing is done.  We want to thank you all who make our job easier and have a little fun out on the course for our benefit.    Its people like Nigel Jefferys and his wonderful ability to pull a wheelie, “Very entertaining Nigel :)”  Peter Selkrig being one of our “time to move to new location” counters with his fluro-kit.  “Thanks Peter we look forward to 2015 colours.”  Eliza Kwan and her energizer-bunny style and smile, “Thanks Eliza we cannot help but smile back.”

 

If you raced at this years series a big congratulations and thank you for your support, we would love to hear any feedback of any kind on what you feel would make 2015 even better yet.  If you have not raced a Rocky Trail event and are reading this and checking out the images we can promise you will not be disappointed in becoming a Rocky-Trail rider.  Come on down the trails are just right…. rocky.

Cheers Gil and Richard.