Offroad racing in an urban city just became reality. On August 26, 2012 Motomotions inaugural XC event took place at Chicopee Ski & Summer Resort, in Kitchener, Ontario. Fielding Offroad Ontario’s largest race turnout the event (over 200) was both challenging yet fun for racers and spectators alike.
Under another blazing hot sunny day, the newly layed out course held up well under dry, dusty conditions. With lots of switchbacks, off camber climbs, near vertical ups and downs – the course can be crowned as one of the most difficult on the Offroad Ontario XC circuit. Not impossible…but challenging. And in my opinion…challenge is good. I don’t know about you but that’s how I learn and how I get better. There were a few bottle necks in the morning races but don’t forget…this is a brand new course. Hiccups are bound to happen and I am sure these will be dealt with appropriately next year.
I had a blast taking pictures for this event. Taking photos in a new facility always amps up my creative juices. The most difficult part of the day (besides becoming ‘crispy’ from too much sun) was the dust. Like most of the race season this summer the dust has been relentless. I decided to stay with one lens as I did not want to change it out in the open. I just spent good money cleaning my sensor and, quite frankly, I cannot afford to part with my camera for a few days while it sits on some white lab table at Nikon HQ.
Not only was this a spectacular event Chicopee had a their restaurant/bar open and lots of beers were sold during and after the races for spectators and racers alike. Entrance money from over 400+ people was also collected in support of the Rick Hanson Foundation. Killer award plaques – sporting a huge 10×15″ size – found their way into the hands of podium recipients. Pro autograph session, free posters, vendors, exhibitors and tons of activities for the entire family. Need I say more?
To see all pictures of Sundays MX1 & MX2 races please click on this link: order.cecilegambin.com/riders. Or, go to the Gallery tab above and the ‘For Riders’ tab.
Early Saturday morning I received an email from the editor of Inside MotoX & Offroad letting me know that my credentials were waiting at Gate B ready for me to pick up in time for the 2012 Parts Canada CMRC TransCan Canadian MX Nationals held in Walton, Ontario, August 19.
A few hours later I was in my car driving back to Toronto (I had just gotten to the cottage only a few hours before) to pick up the rest of my camera gear, buy another memory card, charge my batteries and get about 4.5 hours sleep. David and the kids stayed up north so I would have to drive back on Monday to pick them up as I had taken the car.
Despite the lack of sleep and heavy driving duty it was not an issue as I loved every moment shooting the big race. Don’t get me wrong…I love offroad but I will admit that shooting a 2-3 km MX loop is much easier than a 100km enduro event. Really the only similiarities between the two sports, aside from the bikes having two wheels, is the poison ivy that grows rampant in sandy soil. And, somewhere on the Walton farm there is a crop of it and it found me!
I have assembled a few photos that I hope you will enjoy. They have been specifically chosen to represent my day watching athletes and volunteers hard at work, and spectators enjoying the show while encompassing the beautiful Walton farm landscape where the colours and textures inspired me to take the photos the way I did.
Thanks to Jeff Morgan of IMX for giving me this opportunity!
Sizzle! Hot off the press – Ron Golden of Motomotion, in collaboration with KTM Canada, have chosen my photo of XC number one plate holder Josh Long as a background picture to this uber cool award plaque. This is one sweet looking award which if I were racing I know I would work extra hard to be able to land one and proudly hang on my wall. Congrats to Motomotion and their graphic artist for the creation of the award and poster. Job well done!
A few weeks ago after the Burnt River XC race KTM and APEX backed rider Josh and myself headed out for a photoshoot session. Riding with blistered hands and broken toes Josh was a complete pro and was super easy to work with. Josh busted out some sick riding moves, and even caught me off guard a few times as he litterally flew over my head. Knowing ahead of time what the photos were going to be used for helped me in directing Josh. Forty-five minutes later, the photoshoot was a wrap and Josh hurried back to the awards ceremony for his podium finish. Not bad day for a guy riding with a few broken toes.
It was a treat to shoot a gifted rider and a bigger treat for me to see my work on this 12×15″ award plaque and promotional poster approved by KTM Canada. Shooting one on one really taps into one’s creativity and I relished at this opportunity. At the end, I was very happy with the shoot and showed my potential photos with confidence.
Mark Sunday, August 26th down on your calendars for a XC race that you won’t want to miss. Bring your family and kids as there will be a host of activities for every age group – think bouncy castles for the wee ones, peewee races and more. My husband will be bringing our two young children and I am excited to show them how family orientated the wonderful world of offroad racing is. Plus, a portion of proceeds will be donated to the Rick Hanson Foundation – another uber cool detail about this event.
I look forward to being the Chicopee official photographer. A huge title and I am honoured to be able to wear it. See you in a few weeks at the races and don’t forget to smile and style it for the camera! Thanks to Ron Golden and his hard working crew for putting this entire event and idea together.
With respect to the Burnt River XC race this past Sunday a few adjectives come to mind to describe Offroad Ontario’s seventh stop: fast, slow, technical, abusive, relentless, tiring, bumpy and rocky.
Riders were treated once again to a very sunny, hot and humid day making the almost 15 km loop exhausting. Add in copius amounts of baby heads and many finished the race with blistered hands and battered bodies.
Thanks to Offroad Ontario and the gang at the Burnt River Offroad Facility for a great event and of course, kudos to all the competitors and their families getting all crispy under the scorching sun, cheering for the riders.
Click HERE to see pictures of both the AM and PM races. Side note: I have not posted all pictures of the PM riders. Please email me with your plate number and I’ll upload the picture for you. Thanks for your understanding and patience.
On July 15, 2012 Honda Canada kicked off an exciting new motorcycle venue jumping on board what the Europeans and Japanese have already figured out – that MotoGymKhana is both a fun and competitive skill based event. Welcome MGK to Canada. Let’s ‘Rock the Red’.
For the uninitiated MGK is described by Wikipedia as an event consisting of speed pattern racing where the rider follows a new course ‘layout’, reacting by driving the bike into turns, braking, and accelerating in a closed loop. The goal is simply to complete the course in the fastest time with the fewest errors.
Honda Canada recognised the skill needed to pilot a motorcycle through an MGK layout. Together with Honda’s ‘Rock the Red’ program and spiffy new CBR 250R’s and 125R’s, head Instructor Yoshi Nakatani and partner Vicki Gray began teaching eager students how to successfully compete in today’s event by giving them the necessary skills and practice time before the competition.
The instructors are passionate about motorcycling and between them have quite an impressive CV. Yoshi is recognised by JAGE (Japan Moto-Gymkhana Association) and has the distinct honour to introduce this sport to Canada and the USA while Vicki has ripped it up on the road racing scene having competed at the World Cup level. She is also the person behind one of the most complete international motorycle online magazines for the ladies ‘Motoress‘. Pretty cool, huh?
Keep your ears and eyes open as MGK is just debuting and I am certain more training and competitive events will follow. For more information regarding MGK please visit my previous blog titled MGK on a CBF1000: http://www.cecilegambin.com/wp/page/3/.