Living the Dream – A Photographer’s Story: Mugello

06/12/2014 @ 3:49 pm, by Tony Goldsmith3 COMMENTS

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When the calendar for the 2014 MotoGP season was announced one race immediately jumped out, Mugello.

This would probably not be for the reason that everyone would assume, after all Mugello is one of the most popular races on the calendar. It stood out as it was bang in the middle of the Isle of Man TT races.

While I really enjoy photographing MotoGP, my passion is, and always will be, the Isle of Man TT. In fact had it been any race other than Mugello, I may have decided to stay at home. But it wasn’t, so the decision was made, after all, how could I shoot a MotoGP season and not go to Mugello?

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Having not missed a TT in 25 years it was quite a wrench when it was time to leave the Island. Packing a bag after Wednesday evenings’ practice session just felt wrong, but pack it I did.

I left the Island on Thursday morning and arrived in Pisa in the early evening. I had booked an old Tuscan farmhouse for the weekend, which I was sharing with my friend and photo-journalist Stephen English.

The owner of the house had arranged for me to meet up with her neighbor at a restaurant nearby, as the place was off the beaten track and hard to find. She wasn’t kidding, after following the guy up a rutted old farm track into the Tuscan hills, I started hearing duelling banjos in my head. Thankfully I didn’t need to worry as we finally arrived at the house.

Driving to and from the track on Friday and Saturday was fine, only taking 35 minutes despite the rally stage at the beginning. Sunday however was a whole different ball game.

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Being designed as a test track for Ferrari access to it was clearly not high on the agenda with the journey in and out taking nearly 2 hours. The problem has more to do with the circuits location right by the town of Mugello, than the increase in race day numbers.

On the other hand, if you plan to go to Mugello, and can find accommodation in the town, you can walk in and out of the track. Problem solved.

The circuit does pose a few problems for the hard working photographer, particularly those of us without scooters. There is only one access road for the shuttle which is on the outside of the track. If you want to shoot from the inside, you are on foot. The track’s layout does help a little though, as it comes back on itself and you can cover different sections without walking very far.

The media center is also a little small. I felt like I was sitting on top of the guy to my left and David Emmet on my right, who didn’t bring a lot of stuff with him as a writer.

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At the end of the race on Sunday I made a rookie Mugello error. I foolishly stayed out on track for the podium and was swamped by thousands of Valentino Rossi fans as they jostled to get a glimpse of their hero. It took me 15 minutes to make the 2 minute walk to the end of pit lane, you can imagine my mood when I finally made it back to the media center.

My biggest problem for the weekend had nothing to do with Mugello or MotoGP. I was missing the TT, and I don’t think I was as focused as I normally would be. I’m pretty sure I drove Stephen and David mad talking about it. As I’m writing this though, the TT has finished and I’m back in MotoGP mode and Barcelona bound.

I would like to finish this post by offering my deepest condolences to the families and friends of Bob Price and Karl “Bomber” Harris who both tragically lost their lives during this years Isle of Man TT.

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Photo: © 2014 Tony Goldsmith / TGF Photos – All Rights Reserved

Tony Goldsmith is an Isle of Man based freelance motorcycle racing photographer specialising in the Isle of Man TT races. He has also covered selected rounds of the British Superbike Championship and MotoGP. His online archive is available at www.tgfphotos.com and he can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Comment:

  1. KSW says:

    Tony,

    Great story and the little house looks like quite the find. We did all miss you at the TT and as the TT press room can only be described as a sardine can at best, my opting out of the media room this year was no accident.

    Speaking of accidents, why is anyone at MotoGP during the Isle of Man TT? My website has all of motorcycling in images and “John McGuinness Motorhome” gets more hits than anything with an MGP associated to it even if the MGP has MM for initials. I’m at a loss as to why the others pay a fee to be at MGP when the IOMTT is free and has more followers than that Dorna Circus.

    Great pics and as usual have fun on the next leg. I’m going to enjoy my retirement from motorcycle photography for all but the TT. For all of you so called motorcycle journalist’s who’ve never been on the “Rock in the Irish Sea” get off your arse and join the world at the TT. Your lens will thank you and I can assure you, MGP will never be on your calendar if it conflicts with the TT. Heck, even Arlen Ness and the family where riding Triumphs from Jason Griffiths this year. If the Family Ness is on the Isle, you a journalist, have no excuses.

  2. L2C says:

    Good report, Tony. Sometimes it hard to know whether to follow your gut or your mind. Especially when one clearly grabs your attention over the other. Do you listen to the smaller, quieter voice? Or the loud, obnoxious one?

    It looks like you made out okay, though. Despite the feeling of being out of sync and a few minor challenges. And you go the chance to live in that beautiful house, in those beautiful hills, for a few of days. Gives new meaning to the phrase “soothing properties”.

    Excellent photos and I look forward to your next report!

  3. Some marvelous photos in this collection, Tony. Nice work.