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Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

That statement holds true on this shot, or actually a series of shots. These images where taken during the second moto at Unadilla. As I stood on top of what the Unadilla folks now call "The Wall" -a nearly vertical descent followed by a 180 degree left-hand turn and right back up. Ricky Carmichael made this section look easy as he would hammer the berm at the bottom then head clear over to the left side of the track that very few riders were taking for a smooth ascent to the top. He took this line lap after lap with surgical precision. On this particular lap I stood at the very edge of the track armed with my 300mm lens and shot him as he headed for the top. From the very first shot his eyes appeared to be glued on me. As the Suzuki 450F barked out of the turn, I started snapping frames. Hindsight being 20/20 I wish I would of had my camera set to High speed shutter as I would of loved to see a more incremental sequence to this. But I did get off three shots. The first one to the right here►►

 

 

 

Second shot and I'm on the run

With Ricky's eyes seemingly locked on my camera I snapped off another, his thundering Suzuki setting his cross hairs on me. With the sight of the GOAT getting larger and larger in my viewfinder I started backing away from the edge of the track-shutter fully depressed trying to squeeze in a few more images. The last shot is my favorite, with the hi-rez version being tack sharp and Ricky staring directly into my camera. As I fired off the last frame I lowered my camera and watched RC sail off the top of the hill. Jeff Stanton stood on the other side of the track with a sheepish grin on his face, as if to say: "that's it Ricky, mess with them photographers", or maybe he was just watching him with the shear enjoyment of Ricky putting that motorcycle exactly where he wanted it...effortlessly.

Chimpin' through the shots

As I stepped back and scrolled through those shots, my head involuntarily nodded in approval of what I just captured. I took a fair number of what I consider good photos this year, and just like last year, Unadilla was especially good to me - taking home a good percentage of my favorite shots of the year.  As some of you may know I got super lucky last year nailing the October cover shot of Racer- X magazine on a long uphill that the Robinson family decided to not even run this year. So coming into Unadilla this year I couldn't even begin to count how many people came up to me and asked:  "You gonna get another cover here today?" As much as I'd like to have another cover, I think that my cover days are over with no where to go but down after my dumb luck last year. What I consider a great photo is crap to many others and sometimes vice-versa. I found this out on this photo especially. I showed it to a couple of fellow photographers and their response was less than enthusiastic. In fact, my dad thought it sucked!  In all honesty I'm not sure what it is that endears this photo to me. Maybe it's because of my total respect that I have for Ricky Carmichael, there is obviously no one that works harder in the mx biz. His grit, determination, work ethic, toughness and not to mention his ability to turn the throttle to the stops-everywhere- is second to none.

 

That ain't Cover Material

Racer X's brand manager Mike Farbar was one of the people that approached me at Unadilla and asked me if I had another cover in me. So I took a break from editing photos the day after Unadilla to do a mock-up cover (see below) for Racer X and sent it to Davey Coombs and Mike Farber. Trying to be humorous I added some controversial headlines to the cover. The ever diplomatic Coombs answered back:  "...that's cool, but I think we need more bike for a cover..." I'm sure Davey is right, but to me that picture screams Ricky Carmichael: Totally focused, on the gas and the fact there is only a 20% bike to 80% rider ratio in the photo, just drives home the spirit of the sport of motocross in general.

 

I'm the Lucky Bastard

All mock-up covers and joking aside, I'd like to thank those that helped me this year:  Davey Coombs for hooking me up and using some of my photos. Jeff Surwall of No Fear for using my stuff in magazine ads and in the catalog. Bill Nordquist  of AMA Pro for using my stuff on their website and last but certainly not least my dear friend Rupert X Pellett for sticking his neck out for me with AMA Pro and just keeping me entertained in general.

2006 was an incredible year to have the privilege of standing trackside with all those epic battles between RC and Stewart a mere inches from my big dumb ass. I am truly blessed. Thank you all and I hope to see you  next year!

Trevor Hawk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
   

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