Thursday, September 24, 2020

A Good news story

Last Sunday I attended the Sydney 5 Hour endurance event hosted by St George Motorcycle Club at Sydney Motorsport Park(SMSP). Initially this year's race was cancelled due to Covid but it was re-scheduled from June to September. 

I've been out to this race meeting for the last 2 years and it's a great event that is now attracting more attention. Ex-superbike racers are now racing in the series, with Troy and Oli Bayliss riding in last years event,  and also Glenn Allerton riding in this years event.

This years event was a little different than the last two. How's that I hear you ask? Well...... this year I applied for media access through St George Motorcycle Club. Low and behold I was accepted. I must admit I was pretty excited to be accepted as official "Media". Then I got a little worried my shots won't be good enough. Self doubt is a terrible thing. I shouldn't have been concerned as it all turned out ok on the day.

Arriving at the gate I produced my Media pass to the attendant, feeling much more important than I should. I was quickly ushered in. After parking up and getting my gear ready, it was out with the umbrella as there was a fair smattering of the wet stuff flying about this morning. I arrived at race control about 8:30 and entered with a little apprehension of whether or not that I would really be allowed in as "Media". Speaking with the lovely lady in race control I showed her my Media pass and was duly handed a safety vest and was then promptly on my way out again, just like that.

Phew, that was easier than I thought. No 20 questions, no showing insurances, business details, media credentials, nothing. I was in and out in under a minute. Wow, makes me wonder if I just pulled out a fluro vest and camera and I could have walked just about anywhere I liked. Except I'm not like that and prefer to do things the right way. Still I was a little shocked at how easy it really was.

As it was raining and there was a lot of not much happening I thought I needed a good strong coffee to kick start my day. Waiting at the cafe for my coffee I saw this young fella with a worried look on his face. 

Yeah I bet most of the guys riding today didn't want to be out in this stuff.

So I didn't really want to be out shooting pics in the rain and possibly damage my camera/lenses so I hung around the pits under shelter and captured a bunch of images of the bikes, riders and pit crews in pit lane.

The light was really quite terrible today and made shooting a bit difficult selecting the right ISO and shutter speed. Trying not to get under exposed and blurry images.

Here's a couple from pit lane, with some bikes circulating early in the morning for practise.

It stopped raining about 20 minutes before the 5 Hour race was about to start and a few patches of blue sky started to poke through the clouds. Great I might actually be able to get out around the track to get some shots in. Riders were ushered to the marshalling area and media. Oh thats "ME", lol. So I got a few shots of the riders lining up getting ready to go out and hold the bikes for the Lemans style start.

I must say the level of access afforded to media is fantastic when you are a racing fanboy like myself. I could get practically anywhere I wanted within reason. It was fantastic. Pit wall is off limits normally but not today, heh heh.

I was a bit slow in grabbing a spot on the main straight and the gaps in the fence were full nearly to the end. Lucky I have a nice zoom lense.

And just like that, off they went. It is comical to watch grown men wearing full leathers and boots run across the track and awkwardly jump on their bikes and race off.

After the start of the race I made my way around to turn 15(9 on old GP circuit) and then up to the last corner. Turn nine was a great spot for shots but we weren't allowed close to the edge of the track at 18 so I quickly left and headed down to turn 4 on both sides of the track. This is a great spot on the inside and can get very close. I did feel a little fear being on the inside of the fence that close to the circuit with the bikes zooming past at 190kph+ only meters away. That's an uneasy feeling for the first time and took me a while to adjust to it. Pics below from 3-4 over the crest aka wheelie central.

Lining up at turn 4 I noticed Nick from Halflight Photography and another photog. Chatting with those guys for a few minutes was good. Standing there in a line up it felt a bit like the paparazzi. Weird feeling that. Pics below from turn 4. I credit Nick for inspiring me to get off my ass and actually plunge head long into DSLR photography and get out of relying on my phone. Best thing I ever did.

I then decided to head around to turn 2 as its close to the track and always good for photos. Just as I was leaving 4 I saw there was yellow flags out and then the safety car came out. About 20 minutes later the careflight chopper came over and landed. That's not a good sign. Hope the rider is ok and recovers quickly.

Turn 2 action

It was now after 4pm and I was getting a bit tired buggered being on my feet all day, running here and there taking pics with the 200-500 which is quite heavy to lug around. I 'd about had enough. I didn't make it to the end of the race and ended up leaving about 20 minutes before the finish. I was done. I might have signed on as media but technically no one was paying me to be there and highly unlikely that I would sell any photos either so I was happy to call it a day. It was beginning to feel like a job, and a poorly paying one at that.

Still I had a ball out there being a "PRO" for a day. Will I do it again. Well sure why not. Bring it on.

I put up some galleries on my facebook images page, you can view them at the following links. Enjoy.

Gallery  - Pit Lane

Gallery 1 - Bikes on track

Gallery 2 - Bikes on track



  1. Wow, yous is famous!

    Nice that the weather came right for you. Great pics as usual!

    1. Well I wouldn't quit my day job that's for sure. Famous, hardly.

      Thanks bud

  2. Great photos Bro though you'll have to work on your stamina so you can make it until the finish. Some victory/podium photos would have been good.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Warren. There's a lot of failures in there amongst those good shots though. I think I need a camera with a better focusing system.