Normally I’ve been shooting photos at Mountain Bike events so I was excited to try my hand at BMX Race photos again. A couple of years ago, I bought a BMX bike as a bit of fun and ended up racing BMX on it, until I broke my pelvis in an accident in gate practice. I did recover and made it back to some races but it was never quite the same after that, and I haven’t really raced now for at least 18 months. Around the same time as breaking my pelvis I decided I would get more serious about using the Canon DSLR I’d had for a while. I thought to myself at the time , how hard could it be? (In case you’re wondering, the answer is, harder than you think!)
But I digress. Castle Hill BMX track has undergone some changes since the last time I was there, racing in 2015. A new clubhouse facility has been built and the track has been changed, particularly the 3rd corner and last straight. They were hosting the first round of the BMX NSW State Series, which is where NSW riders can qualify to race at the State Championships and then progress to National rounds and, for the exceptional few, the Olympics.
For those who don’t know the BMX race structure, there is 3 “Motos” where up to 8 riders ride the track, with points awarded depending on their finish order. At the end of the Motos, the points are added and the best riders then advance to finals. Depending on numbers, then quarter or semi finals may be run before a final.
I arrived about a quarter of the way into the Third Motos, at the time I arrived around 12.45PM, it was around 37C. Hot, but for the riders wearing long sleeve jerseys and pants and having to ride at 100% , it was a lot hotter. It was good to see a few familiar (and new) faces and catch up with people.
I found a few positions around the track and started shooting photos. Having a bit of time away from BMX and shooting MTB predominantly I think gave me a different perspective on how to shoot BMX. There was three things I wanted to cover in the style of shooting I had. The first, was the human element of BMX – the faces, some of the emotion on the track. The second, the action, of course there is always a lot of this in BMX racing, elbows out and lots of very fast reactions particularly in elite/Superclass. The third was to bring a little something different, like some panshots and other creative shots. Here’s a few examples.
Before the finals started, thankfully a cool change came through, bringing temperatures down into the low 30’s. For final races, the Sakakibara siblings, Saya and Kai dominated proceedings. Saya dominated the Women’s superclass final from the first straight.
Kai had a tougher final. In an excitement packed race, the leader changing a couple of times down the first straight, Craig Moore leading through the first corner, and down the 2nd straight it looked like anyone’s race.
But a well executed high-low pass from Kai sealed the race after the 2nd corner.
It was a good day out, and I hope to be shooting more BMX events in future!