Zooming in

Report and pictures by: 
Jeremy Long

The World Superbike Championship (WSBK) racers were burning rubber. The rest of us were just burning.

From grid girls clutching umbrellas, the audience sweltering in the grandstands, media and team crews by trackside, to the racers themselves — melting in their helmets and leathers — the 36-degree C heat showed no mercy.

Dark clouds gave us hope after the first race.

But it might as well have been a hallucination. The thunderstorm was a no-show and a bike even caught fire early in the second and last race, prompting a restart.

Photographing the racers was a race in itself. The media scrum was intense. One photographer rode a bike with one hand while operating a camera with the other.

Competing with a press gang like that for shots of a racer going past at more than 300kmh was a sure-fire recipe for burnout.

Of course, the racer would come back in the next lap pretty fast. And you could hear them a mile away.

The article related to these pictures was first published in The New Paper on 17 June 2014.