18:30 Thursday the 2nd of June… I walk out of my last exam and into a van. With Sheffield disappearing behind us Ed, Pip and myself head through the Peak District and emerge into a surprisingly traffic free Glossop. The trip to Fort William had begun well.
We carried on driving well into the night… once in scotland the sun never seemed to fully set as the time-lapse shows.
And without further ado here are some photos, if you find black and white boring, you may not want to continue.
An early start and we leave our mountain surrounded visitor centre car park and depart past Glen Coe. The Drive takes in some of Scotland’s best landscape and it would have been great to have the time to stop and take a couple of proper landscape photos.
Tight and twisty roads lined with trees and not a car in sight at 5am.
Some traffic now but the views opened up to reveal mist-filled vistas.
It didn’t feel like long but after a few hours in this landscape we arrived! Time to get down to photo business and avoid sunburn. Friday enjoyed bright sunshine and low winds all day. Perfect.
Big camera out now and the first few runs of the day saw the majority of riders sticking together in their teams for line discussion and support. Here Neethling is followed by Duncan Riffle through the flowy top corners, looks like i’m getting a death stare in this one:
Further down the track things start to get a bit rockier. This is probably one of my favourite shots from the 3 days shooting. Eventual winner Greg Minaar emerges through the poles and rocks.
I recently invested in a new lens and its panning IS mode makes things a whole lot easier when it comes to tracking riders through trees.
You may have seen this photo before but I just had to include it again. Matti was throwing down some of the biggest whips all weekend. Maybe they need to start writing things on the bottom of his frame.
I say “some” as Danny Hart was putting in some good competition. This particular shot was taken during the qualifying runs. Some people reckon that without this he would have qualified ahead of Gee Atherton who was 0.001 seconds ahead.
Part of my work at Fort Bill included shooting some lifestyle photos, the signing sessions held on the Saturday and the Sunday attracted huge queues of people and it would seem the riders enjoyed the attention too.
Saturday afternoon saw the 4x take place. Huge crowds gathered and lined the course. Competition was tight.
The beginning of Sunday and the riders seemed to have regrouped in their teams again. A couple of runs before racing seemed to be the average for most teams. Here you can see the track winding down the hillside.
Troy is a pinner, there’s no doubting that. He was the fastest man on his team in qualification at Fort William, ending some of the superstition about small riders not being able to carry speed on “big manly courses”. With a little more riding consistency it shouldn’t be long before we see him on the podium.
Punctures were a common sight on the Hill, here Josh Bryceland has to walk past the road gap since the “pit stop puncture stop” had run out of tubes.
In the woods no rider looked as good as Sam Blenkinsop, he seemed completely at ease with the bike squirming over rocks finding a natural line.
Jill Kitner seemed lonely riding on the Transition team, with teammates out due to injury her confidence and ambition seemed unaffected.
The CRC boys looked fast all weekend, why they don’t podium is beyond me. Nonetheless that does look good in photos.
The Monster road drop was the most popular place for the crowds other than the finish line. Many riders safely rode across however some felt the need to stylishly send it.
Brook McDonald took the whole of Fort William by surprise and held the hot seat for ages. Only Greg Minaar and Danny Hart could beat him. Here we see Greg and McDonald exchanging appreciation for eachother’s run.
With every man down the hill Greg Minaar bursts into celebration. Riders congratulate him and he is the center of media attention. However in the left hand side of the frame we see Gwin distant and clearly dissapointed with his own run. 5 seconds faster than Greg at the last split a small crash on course lost him another monumental win.
On the road again we leave Fort Bill for Dover. Once on the other side we adopt driving on the wrong side of the road and activate the sat-nav. Our journey duration started at just over 10 hours and this estimate didn’t include traffic.
The drive consisted of hour upon hour of straight, efficient and dulll motorway. However there were a few interesting road side sights on the way…
With 2 hours of driving left to go we finally reach some “hills”!
Upon arrival camp was set and we passed time by hunting down a suitable power socket to charge many batteries. It wasn’t long before we grabbed some sleep. The view out of the “bedroom window” sure beats high rise student accomodation.
Wednesday is 4x track walking, the Anthill films team were floating about grabbing the odd filler shot here and there.
And well, that brings us up to now. Wednesday afternoon. I’m now settled in a chalet sharing with half the british 4x force out here in austria. The 5 a day will resume on friday and I should hopefully have a couple of track head cams online before then.
If you’ve managed to read the whole thing to here then thanks for taking the time to do so!