“Since I first started to take my photography more seriously and set myself up as a ‘proper’ photographer around 3 years ago I have been fortunate enough to be able cover cycling events across the country ranging from international level downhill mountain bike events in the Scottish highlands to local road cycling events.
Recently however, for financial reasons, I have had to scale back my travels and concentrate on events in North East England. Fortunately, events like the Halfords Tour Series have brought high profile events in the sport that I love to my doorstep. Well almost, Durham is a 45 minute drive which is just about close enough for my budget!
Circuit racing offers something that is often not possible in the field of cycling photography… a second chance! Unlike other events where a rider (or bunch) will fly past and disappear into the distance, circuit racing usually takes place on a short (around 1km) course and are usually last an hour plus 5 laps (for elite riders – less for other levels). Of course this means that if you miss your man you can always wait for him to come round again.
Perfect? Well, sort of. On a course as challenging as the one set out in Durham, it’s often more of a headache choosing where to shoot. Do you wait for some carnage at ‘the corner’ where riders come hurtling down the hill into a near hairpin bend, exiting onto a cobbled hill? Watch them struggle further up said cobbled hill? Bag your spot near the finish area for the final fireworks?
In the end at events such as this I invariably end up walking round the whole course, taking in as many location as possible, trying to time my own lap to end up at the finish at the right moment for the finale. Headaches aside, circuit racing is a great event for photographer and general spectator alike.”
Matt Muir – Event photography, specialising in cycle racing.