We were home this year for the annual street racing event, held the day after New Year. This year I tried to get some images with a good feeling of speed (photographic details below). It worked:
It doesn’t do justice to the amazing way he takes the corners – a two-wheel drift into them, tyres squealing.
Here’s another ‘frozen action’ shot, of the overall winner Dan Mackenzie on his 2004 Honda CBR1000:
That shot was saved by his failure to keep control of the front end (usually seen performed by the back markers, who make up for their lack of pace by being a bit flashy). This next shot of Jock Woodley from Blenheim on his Suzuki RGV250 is miles better.
The oldest machine racing, a 1929 Rudge, was a bit scary to watch as the rider managed his stick shift!
The day before the local paper had featured a young teenager, Scout Fletcher, who is making a name for herself. I got a shot of her on her 150 Suzuki, on which she was keeping up with much more powerful machines.
But she was also riding a Classic machine: a 350 Manx Norton formerly owned by Hugh Anderson and part of the Tom Sturgess ‘New Zealand Classics’ stable. This next shot shows the difficulty in going for ‘artier’ images – most of them were rejects. I’ve included this one because it does show her riding style very well, even if it is blurred.
Finally, a more successful shot of another elderly machine, a Norton Atlas (? – the program was missing many of the entries)
You can see many of the images taken at the event in my gallery here. (If your machine is not included in those posted, email me. I have many more and am very happy to look through them).
I was using my Nikon D200 with a 70-200 f:2.8 VR lens. I prefer the D200 over my D700 for this event, for its longer reach. The ‘frozen’ shots were very easy with this rig, typically 1/1000 s at f:4. They all came out sharp. The ‘speed’ shots were taken with a shutter speed of 1/30 to 1/125, panning the camera. Especially when the bike was quite close, perhaps 5 meters away, the proportion of ‘keepers’ was very low, around one in five. I got better as the day went on.