A quick aside...

This is just a quick post to share some photos that I can't seem to fit anywhere else on the website.

When we (the family) moved to Yssingeaux, in the Haute-Loire region of France, last year it didn't take long to realise that we were in an area that held motocross in particularly high-esteem. It seemed that every teenager (male and female) were riding around on noisy, wasp-like, 125cc dirt bikes and adult versions of the same bikes were regular seen roaring through the village on the weekends. It wasn't too surprising then, when we started to see posters advertising the up-coming motocross championships, to be held nearby. 

These images were taken at that first leg of the national motocross championship (I think that is correct) held near Yssingeaux, back in March. I'd never tried any kind of sports photography before (with the humble exception of sports days at the kids school) but had always been interested in the idea of trying to capture good images of constantly moving subjects. And so, armed with my 5D MkIV and 300mm f/4L lens, I dragged the family to the even, found a spot that I guessed would provide some interesting action, and waited for the fun to start.

  The first three riders coming over the hill

The first three riders coming over the hill

We could hear the bikes long before we saw them, a low and persistent buzz, growing in intensity as the bikes drew closer. And then the first three bikes came barreling over the hill, the bikes and riders already caked in mud, and my cameras motor sprung into life.

  First blood

First blood

It wasn't long before the first rider became separated from his bike and his dejection was clear as he made his way back up the steep hill to where his fallen steed lay.

  Balance maintained

Balance maintained

The same hill was proving particularly tricky, coming as it did just after a tight bend in the route, but most riders managed to stay in the saddle, with a little fancy body-work.

  Wrong turn

Wrong turn

Some riders battled to even stay on the track and this unfortunate individual remained stuck in his hole for several laps, his bike steadfastly refusing to start again.

  Leaning in

Leaning in

Swinging my camera round revealed another section of the serpentine course and here, the relatively wide turn allowed the riders to really lean into the track, kicking up mud as they accelerated out of the bend.

  Defying gravity

Defying gravity

Towards the end of the race I moved my position completely and was rewarded with the courses' most impressive jump; even the Marshall here seems amazed at the extreme angle the bike is thrown into as it powers up and over the slope.

I took around 2000 shots that day; these 6 are just a taster - picked to tell a story rather than show the images. As someone who usually photographs serene landscapes and, when extremely lucky, startled wildlife, I found the pace and general ambience of the track frenetic and strangely exhilarating. Whilst I don't see myself switching primarily to sports photography, when the opportunity arises, I'd enjoy another shot. 

In fact, at the end of September, the village we now find ourselves in will be hosting an international festival of free-flying and, in particular, paragliding (it seems we've moved form a national motocross centre to a national paragliding one) and I hope to fill another memory card with images from that. Stay tuned...