If you’re of a certain age, or let’s just say you race 50+, you might remember the cult 1984 film Repo Man with Emilio Estevez and Harry Dean Stanton. This quote from a scene with those two is forever embedded in my brain and where Stanton’s and Emilio’s characters are involved in a shootout whilst repo’ing a Mustang. Stanton the grizzly repo veteran remains calm, while Otto (Estevez) is shitting himself and once it’s over he simply states that the life of a repo man is always intense.
BMX racing for me is exactly the same. It’s super intense and frenetic for those 30 seconds or more once that gate drops, and unless you’ve been in that situation time after time, it’s hard to convey to non-racers the intensity of that half a minute or so. You go from complete standstill to bar-to-bar 8 wide over a jump in around two seconds. Us racers know that there are no lines (quiet up the back you old timers) and you can get chopped on the second pedal and those two or three seconds are some of the most intense moments of your life, and the most exhilarating!
I’ve never taken a run off an 8m, but I can imagine those feelings are even more amplified and I think that’s what makes racing BMX so addictive. That rush of adrenaline is like nothing else and after 40 years of racing, I’m fully convinced that you’re either born a racer, or not. And sprinters are a special bunch on top of that! It’s definitely a drug that should come with a warning.
While shooting at the recent Australian Championships I decided to capture these minutes and moments before racers headed up to the gate, sat just behind it, and moments just before it dropped. We all have our own techniques for managing our emotions when we’re older, but the younger riders often display the rawness of those moments. Using a 70-200mm lens allowed me to grab shots quite candidly and while I was slightly regretting my decision to not race at this level any longer, I was stoked on capturing friends and fellow racers deep in thought, or joking with their fellow racer. These raw, unfiltered moments of life can shape who you become if you compete through your formative years and I have still to this day, I have massive respect for everyone that rolls into the gate for having the guts to put it all on the line, young or old.
Thanks to my crew from Australia’s raddest BMX store, LUXBMX, for letting me indulge my passion and to BMX Australia for the all-areas access pass in Shepparton. Jump over to the LUXBMX/race Facebook page for all the action shots from the race at the track that will host a World Cup in February 2020 …
Bruce Morris – Race Program Manager