Inland Speed Track Day (Motorcycle Roadracing!)

I had a great time shooting motorcycles on the road course at Spokane Raceway Park a few weeks ago.  I tried some new stuff, got some great photos, and got wet!!!

Motorcycles on the road course at Spokane Raceway Park

Motorcycles on the road course at Spokane Raceway Park

Check it out…

Last year, I emailed the folks at Inland Speed, who put on track days here in Spokane, about shooting for them.  They had already lined up a photographer for the season, so I went over to the motocross track and had a great year there.

A few months ago, Todd with Inland Speed contacted me to see if I was still interested in working with them this year.  He had looked at my motocross stuff and liked what he saw.  I told him I would love to shoot road course bikes, and I finally got to do it!

First off, I have lots of shooting experience, but not shooting road bikes.  So there were some nuances that took a bit to figure out.  One of the techniques I have struggled with some, particularly with motocross, is panning.  Of course, motocross is not the ideal place to try panning since the track is pretty rough and tumble.  I began to dial in some pretty great pan shots with the road bikes pretty quickly; the smooth track really helps!

Panning 1/200 at F8, 300mm plus 1.4x TC (420mm equiv.)

Panning 1/200 at F8, 300mm plus 1.4x TC (420mm equiv.)

Panning 1/200 at f8, 300mm plus 1.4x TC (420mm equiv.)

Panning 1/200 at f8, 300mm plus 1.4x TC (420mm equiv.)

Now the weather here in Spokane has been traditionally spring-like: wait 5 minutes and it will change!  The morning started out with mostly cloudy skies and a few sprinkles of rain.  But Mother Nature smiled on us for a while with only clouds and a mostly dry track.

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There were a few sprinkles; you can see the drops in a few of the shots (like this one)

You can see little specks if you look close, rain is starting...

You can see little specks if you look close, rain is starting…

Then around lunchtime, the wind began to pick up and the rain began to fall.  First it was just a steady drizzle, then it got heavier.  Todd was excited and swapped quickly to rain tires and went out in the wet.  He is a good rider and showed us all how to do it:

Todd in the rain

Todd in the rain

Todd leaning WAAY over in the rain

Todd leaning WAAY over in the rain

A few other brave souls also ventured out to test the traction:

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But alas, springtime temps and rain do not make for warm bodies.  I was wet from the bottom of my rain jacket down, and the wind was blowing rain in my face and onto my lens.  Even the hardiest souls ran no more than about ten laps in the wet before calling it “good enough!”

I was a bit disappointed because I wanted to shoot more, and in more places.  I never got down to the high speed back straight where the fast guys will wheelie over a rise.  I never got into a couple of the tight, low speed corners.  I didn’t get very many shots of many of the riders simply due to bad timing between pit stops.  (photographers take “pit stops” too…too much coffee!)

I look forward to going back and with better weather I will correct many of the above maladies and have a great time doing it.  I want to give a big thanks to Todd and the Inland Speed crew for inviting me and for putting together a fun and safe event.

Until next time…

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