A life less ordinary

As mentioned in my first blog post I used to cover motorsport events with my brother Matthew.

We had always loved motorbike racing, an interest we inherited from our dad. In 2009 we started regularly going to motorbike races across the UK. We both enjoyed taking photos so we setup a Facebook page and started adding our images of the races there.

Our images were noticed by Arai UK who asked us to cover major sporting events for them. This led to us being media accredited photographers at the Isle of Man TT, Motorcycle Live (the motorbike equivalent of the motorshow) and the Festival of 1000 Bikes (similar to the Goodwood Festival of Speed). Covering the Isle of Man TT was very special for us. We both visited there for the first time in 1989 with our father. To now be the other side of the fence taking photographs, which would go on to feature in the Arai advert for TT 2012 and in the Isle of Man TT 2012 programme is one of my proudest achievements as a photographer.

I can remember taking photos on the inside of St Ninians Crossroads in 2011, just at the end of the start and finish straight. It’s a very fast 170mph-180mph part of the TT course. I was advised by the marshall to use a small electricity box on the pavement as my protection. I can still vividly remember the crowd whispers from behind the fence, over my shoulder “I wouldn’t like to be where he is”, “He’s brave”, “Anything happens here and he’s a goner”. Seeing a motorbike go past you at 180mph within arms reach is one of the most amazing experiences, the draft moving your clothes and the noise rattling through your bones. I loved getting in spots where only media access got you. The closer the better.

During this time we were lucky to meet many of our heroes, people I thought I would never meet. To name a few: Mick Doohan (5 times world motorcycle champion), Freddie Spencer (2 times world motorcycle champion), Giacomo Agostini (15 times world motorcycle champion), Kenny Roberts (3 times world motorcycle champion) and Eddie Lawson, who I had a model of on my shelf when I was 8 years old (4 times world motorcycle champion).

Sitting in the press room at the Isle of Man TT in 2011 chatting with Murray Walker on one side and Mick Doohan on the other is a memory that will live with me forever.

Having a Macdonalds with Keith Amor the Scottish Superbike racer and Jonathan Rea the now multiple World Superbike Champion from Northern Ireland, chatting about all sorts, now seems slightly surreal. Keith was great, always chatting to us and having a laugh, even letting us go testing with him at Jurby Airfield.

Other surreal experiences included watching the Red Arrows from within the Monster Energy VIP zone on Douglas Promenade during TT week. Looking out over a huge crowd lining the sea front.

We made good friends too, Jamie Robinson the former Motogp rider who now makes documentaries about motorcycles was the Alpinestars photographer and video maker at the time. We all had great nights out together. We still keep in touch over Facebook with Jamie living in California. The guys at Arai really looked after us and looked out for us we still keep in touch and some came to my wedding in 2013.

When Arai changed UK distributors for 2012, the new company brought their own photographers with them. We decided to have a break from motorsport photography and have both concentrated on landscapes since.

From 2009 through 2011 nearly every weekend was spent photographing racing. Finish work early on the Friday and hit the road. Our bbq’s were legendary, we even hosted Sam Lowes (now one of the leading British stars in Motogp) for a burger at our motorhome.

Writing this blog has brought back loads of fun memories, amazing times. I have 1000’s of photos from those years. Most of which have never seen the light of day.

No doubt we’ll do it again one day! But for now here’s a few images from way back when.

I’ve always loved the pictures where you can see the intensity of the riders eyes through the visor, so there’s a few of them included here.

As always you can see more of my images on www.nathanaeljonesphotography.com

If you want to see more of our motorsport images, head here: https://www.facebook.com/mnj.photography.uk/

All the images here are the copyrighted property of Nathanael Jones.

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