A recent camera club competition had the theme “photojournalism”. I entered this image, taken on my very first visit to Moore Park.
Afterwards I was quizzed by some of the members, wanting to know the outcome of this rather horrifying collision. Unfortunately it wasn’t good, I think there were some broken limbs. Here’s what happened next:
That corner, the first bend, was always the most likely scene of an accident amongst the sidecars. (Because the solo bikes raced in the opposite direction, the best spot for them was at the opposite end of the track. That kept me quite fit.) The incidents did not always result in injury and were sometimes very funny. For example when this yellow outfit lost it:
In this next picture, you can almost see the look of surprise under the helmet of the black rider:
Sometimes the riders just get a bit lost.
These outfits can only turn to the right. It is safe enough to stand in the middle of the track when the solos are racing. They usually fall off at a tangent to the track and almost never head towards the centre. The sidecars on the other hand make a habit of suddenly turning in towards the centre before doing a large loop to get back on the track. So track marshals and medics usually clear out before the race. I have occasionally stood in the very centre as far away from the track as I could get, feeling quite nervous.
To finish the sidecars chapter, this next shot was not of an accident but a slight case of engine overheating:
Accidents amongst the solos are usually quite different. They have very good control over their bikes and are well protected with their leather suits, helmets and boots. On the minus side, they have no brakes! If they want to stop they simply drop the bike, like this:
Here’s another example. The leading rider has caught a rut and been “high-sided” (flipped over his bike). He is slowing himself down by doing a face plant. You can see how his legs are catching up with his head. The following rider is travelling much faster so he has dropped the bike to slow down.
Unfortunately the rider on the left slowed down a lot faster than the one on the right. (Work that out.)
There is sometimes a nice symmetry afterwards:
The juniors fall off too, of course. I’m sure it is very character building, first to be winded:
then have to pick yourself up before the other three riders come around again,
before getting some sympathy:
As usual, #88 started the next race with no ill effects, confidence restored. I have to say I think it’s good to see this, in these days of overprotective parenting.
I would hate you to think that the riders at Moore Park spend their time falling off. They usually show great form, demonstrated here by Andrew Aldridge. He is in perfect control with the bike in a full power slide, all feet off the ground. Beautiful to watch!
If you’d like to see more of my speedway pictures, here are some links:
Premium prints (on NZ Photos Online)
My pBase pages (look for Moore Park galleries)