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 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

 

Kempsey Rollercoaster

Rocky Trail Entertainment's Kempsey Rollercoaster

It’s been a while since I have been out shooting any races but last weekend I was back at it under the guise of Outer Image. We were off to Kempsey to cover the fourth round of the Gravity Enduro Rollercoaster series.

This year 2 more tracks were added to the course and another day of racing was added too. Day 1 was 2 tracks and then on the second day the tracks changed to the other 2. There was a little bit of something for everyone in the tracks. I heard some say that there was too much pedaling in parts of the track while others said they loved those same sections for the rolling rides through the trees. The tracks were nowhere near as dusty as they were last year which although is good for the riders though I did love the sun shining through the dust last year.  There was around 120 riders this time. Not such a big turn out for an enduro but considering its 5 hr drive from Sydney it was more than we expected. All in all it’s a great track and good to see it’s expanded to include another 2 tracks this year.

Below is a selection of our shots from the event. Alternatively you can go  check out the full gallery of shots here. If you raced then your shots are free to download thanks to Fox racing and Camelbak who sponsored the event. Just enter your number into the search box on the Outerimage website, hit us up for the password and we will check your name off the list and sort it out for you.

If you want to check out the results then Rocky Trail Entertainment have the full listing over on their website here

Enjoy!!!

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.

Fox BH Rollercoaster Round 1

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And so a new season begins.

Rocky Trail Entertainment’s Rollercoaster series kicked off on a scorcher of a day. The expectant temperature was 35C but the temperature readings on some Garmin GPS units read up to 44C. Plus it was one of those days when the sun just seemed brutal and unforgiving. It certainly had me looking for shade whenever I set up for a new shot.

The course, at Killingworth near Newcastle, is new on the circuit but an old track remembered by those who had been riding for a bit. Rocky Trail had set the race to run over 3 tracks, the Fox trail, the BH trail and the Gloryfy trail. For the sake of trying to ensure we got photos of everyone Gil and I took a track each and spent the day on it. Unfortunately this meant that we had to miss out on the Gloryfy trail, but then we need to save something for next time.

Fox, BH and Rocky Trail provided all the images taken on the day free for personal use to those in the race. If you were in the race but didn’t recieve your password to download your images be sure and drop us a line. If you just want to check out more of the images have a look at the full gallery here

See you next time at Del Rio

 

 

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

 

 

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.

Shimano GP, Round 1, Awaba

Rocky Trail Entertainment's Shimano Gp, Round 1 at Awaba

After previously being rain delayed the first round of Rocky Trail Entertainment’s Shimano Gp got underway at Awaba last weekend. Rain had threatened with delaying the race again but the weather cleared up and although there was a couple of puddles the majority of the track had dried sufficiently beforehand.

It was a great day with a nice cloud cover around for most of the day which also kept the heat down. Clouds are friends to photographers especially when shooting in amongst the trees. Contrast levels are kept right down and we are able to control the lighting much easier.

Awaba is one of those great track where you can walk 50m and find a new angle to shoot and new features to cover. I shot the final section of the track while Gil headed off and covered the start and the middle section. To mix it up and give it a new feel Rocky Trail decided to run the course in reverse to what it would normally be. As far as photography goes this basically means it’s a whole new track for us to shoot as everything becomes different.

There was quite a few familiar faces out on the course but also plenty of fresh ones. In the end it was Andrew Lloyd who took the honours in the male elite category 7hr and Kirby Knowles in the Female Elite 7hrs.

All the photos can be found and purchased here on our website.

The full results from the days race can be found over on Rocky Trail’s website here

Australian Gravity Enduro Rnd. 1: Glenworth Valley

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A new track and a new race circuit. OuterImage were spoiled with getting the chance to shoot both recently.

  The Australian Gravity Enduro Series kicked off the season with it’s inaugural race at Glenworth Valley one misty morning. The Gravity Enduro is a combination race of technical downhill and rolling single track enduro sections. Gil took the top half of the track, taking the bus up and walking down while I started at the bottom and headed up. Gil’s walk took him through scrubland along the rolling track where competitors had to pedal hard to keep their speed up. Whilst my walk took me through mosquito infested forests and up what was the downhill section. This technical section of track, tight, rocky and steep, got the better of many competitors throwing them from their bikes and although there was a few who had to pull out of the race the injuries were minimal. 

 Elite male category was dominated by Dan MacMunn while the Elite Females fell to Genevieve McKew. More results from the series can be found here on Rocky Trail’s website.    

  The series continues next in Victoria before heading out to South Australia, across to Western Australia, back his way to Stromlo in the ACT  before finishing up later in the year at Cairns in the Queensland. Definitely something to watch out for when it comes your way.

If you are interested in riding this track at Glenworth Valley you will have to wait until the Rollercoaster event hits it later in the year as it will be closed between now and then.

You can check out the full range of photographs on our website here.