Best of 2015 Review

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London, UK | 4

Best of 2015

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1 | ‘Motocross of Nations’

Its been said many times before that there is no atmosphere quite like the MXoN but I had never truly appreciated this until Ernee 2015. Every flag, every nation, air horns, chainsaws, beer, face paint, more beer, fancy dress…. and even more beer; it really was insane. I spend 2 days trying to figure out the best location to try to capture the sheer size of crowd and ended up grabbing this shot from the far north of the track on the Sunday morning. This is what 80,000 crazy motocross fans looks like, awesome!

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2 | ‘Fan Favourite’

This shot was taken on the Saturday, as Marvin crossed the line to win his qualifying race. The reaction of the crowd was insane and the relief on Marvin’s face was clear to see, only two weeks are losing the National 250 title and getting the terrible news of his Brothers accident.

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3 | ‘Festival of Motocross’

Did I mention there were 80,000 fans at the MXoN? Getting them into one shot was impossible, but this kind of give you an idea what a sea of MX fans looks like. Count the flags, I dare you!

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4 | ‘The Return’

Ben Townley rocked up to Ernee having retired two years previously. It was his last hurrah and a way of signing off in front so many of his fans. Or So we thought!

31 year old Townley lined up against the worlds greatest MX riders, and swiftly led the final race of the day whilst battling with the current MX1 champion. As Townley crossed the finish line the British fans had already entered the track to congratulate Dean Wilson before turning their attention to BT101 and giving him the congratulations he deserved, the look of achievement on his face was a truly special moment. I’m looking forward to 2016 already!

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5 | ‘Mission Accomplished’

Ernee is always a tough weekend for me, I’m not sure why but I’ve never really gelled with it photographically. Walking 30km uphill over 3 days might have something to do with it though! That said, this shot was the last photo I took from the MXoN, on the way back to the press room trawling all my gear back up the hill just as team France arrived for their press conference. A fitting end to a great weekend.

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6_Qatar_15_02_28_1102c 6 | ‘USA Vs Europe’

2015 began as the most hyped MXGP season in a long time and most of it can be attributed to Ryan Villopoto. Qatar turned out to be an indication of the season ahead for RV though – bike issues and a coming together with Jose Butron put paid to any thoughts that RV was going to have it easy racing against the ‘Euros.’

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7 | ‘Eject’

Confession time, this photo is a complete fluke, I had just climbed the edge of the track just before the finish line and was dialing in my settings when I decided to take a few test shots…. Just as Tim Gajser decided to eject from the top floor! The result was a sequence of 5 shots which spread through social media pretty quickly. If I’m honest the photos aren’t great, but the crash was so nuts we just couldn’t not share them. The website blew up when we uploaded them. After the race Tim came to the media centre to see the shots, until that point I don’t think he had realized just how gnarly the crash was, which explains why he got back on the bike and completed another 2 laps after he crashed!

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8 | ‘Swiss Scrub’

I was introduced to the Guillod scrub in Spain at Talavera (pictured) but it was Round 8 at Villars Sous Ecot, effectively a French/ Swiss round, where Guillod arrived with, for me, his best racing of the season. On the Saturday it was looking promising as Guillod as he took the lead and went on to win the qualifying race, his raw speed was impressive. On the Sunday Guillod would battle it out with Jeffrey Herlings and on Lap 7 of race 1 he passed the #84 with one of the most insane scrubs I’ve seen in a long time. Unfortunately race 2 didn’t go so well and the Swiss rider would DNF for 13th overall. But it was one of the few times where a riders raw speed was too much for even #84.

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What a weekend, two British riders dominating on a world stage at one of the most iconic tracks on the calendar; it really doesn’t get any better. Max won each race by over 25 seconds and really never looked like being challenged, leading 32 of the 34 laps raced on the Sunday. The support from the British fans was great too.

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10 | ‘MXGP, but not as we know it’

At the start of the year the MXGP class offered so much excitement, but by the time we arrived at Lommel we were without Cairoli, Villopoto, Nagl, Desalle and De Dycker. I guess it is a sign of the depth in the MXGP class that we still had such competitive racing. But lets all hope for fewer injuries next year!

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11 | ‘This is (New) Motocross’

There was a lot of talk about Assen beforehand, with some reluctant to accept the introduction of modern, man-made tracks. The reality however is that this event was awesome, sure it was different from Lommel, Leirop or any number of other world class tracks locally. But Assen offered up something different, the viewing experience from the grandstand was like nothing else I have ever seen in Motocross. Oh, and Shaun Simpson (and the Simpson Army in the background) kinda liked it too.

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12 | ‘I’ll be back’

2015 will have to go down as one of Cairolis most frustrating. He has had good fortune with injuries for a number of years but that changed in Maggiora when

the 2014 champ injured his wrist. Next year Cairoli returns for another attempt at a 9th world title and you have to think he’ll have more motivation than ever.

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13 | ‘I’ll Be Back (pt2)’

Much Like Cairoli Jeffrey Herlings will want to move on quickly from 2015 and shift focus to 2016. Many have questioned his decision to stay in MX2 but after 2 injury ravaged seasons the dutch sandmaster just needs to get that winning feeling back.

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14_MG_8891 14 | ‘Team effort’

Seriously, who saw this coming?! Back in February the talk was whether RV2 or AC222 would take the title, behind them sat about 5 other riders who could challenge for wins, then there was a few other guys, then there was Romain Febvre, at least that’s how I saw it. Even after the first few rounds I still didn’t see Febvre mounting a serious challenge, so firmly focused was I on the RV story. But this shot really shows just what it takes to win a championship, a solid team all pulling in the same direction. Congrats Romain and congrats Yamaha!

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So there we have it. The photos of a year were so much was promised and so many twists and turns were delivered. Lets do it all again in 2016!