Thursday, 6 August 2009

InMotion: The Nocturne Series

Blackpool is a place where drunken louts come and have stag and hen nights, and generally just trash the place without a care in the world other than themselves.
Wrong.
Blackpool is also a home, to people like myself, and other who actually appreciate what Blackpool has to offer. Every year, major British and International events are staged in Blackpool, for all types of people from, music, dance, theatre and multiple sports disciplines.
As for myself, i am more interested in the sports events that are held here. One such event happened last weekend (Saturday 1st August), The Nocturne Series. The Nocturne Series is a series of quite prestigious bicycle races. In fact there are only three in the series; one in Edinburgh, one in London, and the last being held in Blackpool., which i think is quite an achievement and privilege.
The event attracted some big name riders. Rob Hayles, Commonwealth Gold medalist, Ed Clancy, four time World Champion and Olympic Gold medalist, as well as South African rider Robbie Hunter, who has a Tour de France Stage win to his name, amongst other numerous successes.
The event in Blackpool was great. The event took place over a 950 metre course that started on the promenade, before circling Blackpool Tower, back to the promenade heading north before a tight hairpin brought them back south to the finish line.
There was a warm up race, which had more local riders in which started and finished in relative daylight. (Pictures 1-4)


The main event however, didn't start until 9 pm, and night soon rolled in, making it both difficult for myself taking the photographs, and of course the riders.
This was the third time i had tried to photograph a cycle race, and i still stand by the statement that it is the hardest thing i have ever tried to photograph, perhaps because the area for focusing is so small and they move so fast. However this time i think i finally got some good shots.
This statement may change however when i attempt to photograph the Red Arrows performing in Blackpool on Sunday (it's all go here you know)
There were many people staggering out of the bars and clubs who who were strangely bemused by bicycles flying past them them quicker then most cars normally travel down the promenade. Some found themselves being escorted away however.
I took a vantage point at the hairpin, which proved to be quite a good decision, as i got some good shots, and saw some great action. Some of the bikes such as above, were amazing. Almost pieces of art. One piece carbon-fibre frame, with deep dish rims carbon rims, which made a fantastic noise when the brakes were applied.
This guy (above) was truly spectacular...


... as you can see he likes to lean the bike over quite a lot, which proved to be his undoing. With in moments of this shot, he was on the floor with the biking kicking off the kerb and sliding down the road, just inches from my lens. Unfortunately i didn't capture the moment; i was more bother about making sure my lens was still attached to my camera.

Above: Possibly my favourite shot from the evening.

I wish i had found this corner earlier in the race when there was still some available light. Photographically not that great, but the spectacle was amazing. They were riding on cobbles, around a 90 degree bend... and did they brake... did they heck. The speed that they were carrying was emense, and trying to capture was proving to be extremely difficult in the dim light. The resulting images proved to be extremely noisy, but i kind of like it.
I hope these two shots purvey the kind of speeds they were travelling at.
Above: Oh yeah, this is Ed Clancy 4 x's World Champion and olympic Gold Medalist... did i mention he was British.

See Blackpool not all about having a good time... well it is... just in a different way.

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