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?
Recently, I have had a few opportunities to take action portraits of people doing what they love best. In this case … offroad riding. I had no idea that I would enjoy this type of photography and always thought of it as very complex, time consuming and technical. But I was wrong and I pleasantly found that action, or sport if you prefer, portraits challenges both my creativity and technical skills as a photographer allowing me to show my subject at their best in their element.
I had a sneak preview of the upcoming XC race held at Chicopee, in Kitchener, Ontario and was invited by Ron Golden of Motomotion to ride with a group of established riders. I not only jumped at the chance to ride my KTM 200 but I also wanted to stake out some cool areas to take action shots of racers next weekend. I have been wanting to have a sport portrait photo session for a while and this was the perfect opportunity.
Overall, I am stoked with the pictures I took but not so stoked at the way I rode the technical sections of the course. I have not been able to do a lot of riding over the last five years (I can count them on both hands) and I believe I have been spoiled by both the Ganaraska and Simcoe Country Forests for their sweet flowing singletrack. I am a whiz on that but had an eye opening, and embarassing (yes…I have an ego) technical faux pas in the uphill sections of the course reserved for the pros.
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.
Cecile Gambin Photography is open, taking bookings and is practicing COVID-19 safety measures during this unprecedented time.