Black Snake Rodeo

Black Snake Rodeo

Regular price £30.00 Sale

As a race photographer, most of my favourite photos come down to first wins, World Champs and World Cup finals shots. Basically, because they are the ones that capture a special moment in mountain bike history.
Whatever race you shoot, it’s not just about getting a good picture; you want to tell the story, get the atmosphere, show the track, the crowd, the focus in the eyes of the riders and their emotions after they cross the line in their final run. That’s what you want to capture each weekend and even more so on those rare and special occasions. The challenging part is that you never know how things will play out while you are trying to anticipate what is going to happen. It can be frustrating if you take a risk and get it all wrong, but in the same way it can be immensely rewarding if you pull it off and you are in the right place at the right time.
At the World Champs in Val di Sole in 2008, the moment every photographer wanted to capture was, of course, Sam Hill’s famous crash in the second to last corner, washing out after already leading with over six seconds on an absolutely insane final run. For magazines and editors this was the photo they were looking for and the one they wanted to print to tell that story. Unfortunately for me, I didn’t get a shot of Sam in that corner. I had just left one or two riders before and had decided to go further down for the last couple of riders. Instead I captured a disappointed and bruised Sam Hill at the finish and, minutes later, Gee Atherton winning and celebrating his first-ever World Championship title. Of course, I was disappointed that I didn’t stay longer in that corner and missed this opportunity.
Surprisingly, at the end it turned out that my favourite shot I took home that World Champs week wasn’t even from finals. It was a shot I took of Sam on the second day of practice and I can’t actually tell you why I like it so much, but I did from the second that it showed up on the screen of my camera. It’s not a creative angle or an arty composition and it doesn´t really show much of the gnarlyness of that amazing Val di Sole track, either. Still, until today it’s one of my favourite race shots: if I had to pick one Sam Hill photo I took over all the years, it would be this one. Maybe because a timeless shot of Sam which, to me, represents his iconic years on the Iron Horse, flying down one of the best downhill tracks ever. But probably because it just always reminds me of that amazing race weekend in Italy and how lucky we are as race photographers to be able to witness all those moments live at the venues, even if we don’t get the shot