This weeks’ adventure meant spud was in his true element. An overnight stay in Cadwell Park was just what was needed for a blog that isn’t wildlife related. Despite the luxuries of the campervan which include two double beds, heating, cooker, fridge and other necessities, mum wasn’t up for it. This, she says wasn’t due to the camping, but because of the nature of the place we were staying. Our reason for staying at Cadwell was to watch Ryan Cooper (Bex’s partner) racing his Yamaha YZF-R6 (Or just a very fast motorbike to you and me) in the Thundersport GB Golden Era Super Sport.
Note: Mum is very supportive of Ryan racing, but as most mothers are she can’t bring herself to watch Ryan in case he gets injured. Although he isn’t her son, he is one of the family, so understandably she doesn’t watch him race. Dad however cheers him on around the bends… It’s a bit of a contrast!
‘Cadwell Park's twisty and undulating nature, winding through open park and woodland, has marked it out as one of the best circuits in the country. Once discovered, it is often a firm favourite amongst many who visit, whether as a spectator or participant.
The circuit is also one of the most popular destinations on the MCE Insurance British Superbike calendar, with the infamous 'Mountain' section, which riders usually tackle airborne, providing a particular challenge.’ http://www.cadwellpark.co.uk/circuit-information.aspx
Ryan is a keen racer, and a very good one at that. Despite a few falls, one of which landed him in hospital with broken ribs and a punctured lung not so long back, he is actually 3rd in his league. Like the supporting family we are, along with the support from Ryan’s own family they make a great team. Coop’s Racing is as I have said a family racing unit. The racers are Ryan, his uncle Gary Cooper, and more recently Ryan’s cousin and Gary’s son Preston Cooper. Together with their blue, white and orange team colours they are the well know family racers.
On Saturday evening, my dad, Bex and I travelled the two hours to the track. Admittedly I was asleep for a good hour and a half of the journey but it went smoothly as far as I am aware. On arrival, we set up the van (Popped the top which is my bed) and put the kettle straight on. We knew where to pull up due to the vibrant orange gazebo and the big ‘Coops Racing’ sign on the fence outside. By the time we had set up it was pretty much time to go to sleep. It was actually probably one of the best night sleeps I’ve ever had. It was warm, comfortable, and silent, but that was down to the lifesaving earplugs I had.
The next morning, I was woken by the revving of motorbike engines and we got up and ready to watch Ryan’s qualifying race. For those like me who don’t know an awful lot about motorbike racing, the qualifying race determines where on the grid the riders start. Those who qualify the fastest start at the front of the gird for the actual race and the slowest go to the back. Those at the front of course have the advantage.
For his qualifier, Ryan finished 4th which meant he was 4th on the gird. In his first race Ryan finished 2nd, earning himself another trophy to the collection and on his second race he finished 3rd after leading the entire race for over five laps. Despite this, Ryan said he had a great race and its exactly that kind of thrill that he races for. His competitors said the same and are all very supportive of one another, laughing and joking and going into detail about the race.
Of course with racing a lot means the riders often know each other personally. Ryan’s friend Chris Manger is another very talented rider, who pitched his gazebo next to the Coopers’. Chris did very well in his races and finished 5th in his first race on his Yamaha YZFR6 bike and 6th in his second. Chris’ number 68 bike is clear to see with the sky blue and white fairings along with the gold wheels.
Ryan had a great start to his second race which eventually boosted him to first.
The Coops fan's were really holding their breaths as they saw Ryan entering the chicane, go hell for leather up the mountain and electorate through the start/finish line which takes them on a steep curved incline to the next part of the track. Below are some images which show Ryan in the lead as he races up and down and along these parts of the track.
The race weekends are great fun, and despite the often terrible weather, this weekend wasn’t too bad with a cold wind but sunshine in between cloud.
For the weekend, I used my Nikon D810 along with my 24-85mm kit lens for the landscape shots, and my 300mm f/4 lens for the shots of the bikes. Despite this being my first time photographing the bikes, which I might add, are a lot quicker than most wildlife I've ever shot, clocking in at around 140mph, I thought it was quite successful. I was alongside professional sports photographers that cover the images for magazines such as Thundersport GT etc. who, of course had lenses up to 500mm. I am happy with the shots and enjoyed capturing the action on the day.
Thank you for reading this blog. Please feel free to leave any comments, all are welcome! What else would you like to see in my blog? Is there anything missing that you really want to know about, please let me know so that I can improve my future blog posts.
For more information on Coops racing please follow this link to see their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Coops-Racing-539738106131640/?fref=ts