Photos from 250+ Feet up COTA’s Petrolsaurus Rex

Standing 251 feet above Turns 16, 17, & 18, the COTA observation tower provides a bird’s eye view of just about every tun on the circuit, if you can stomach its subtle sway in the wind and clear-glass floor at the precipice. Officially called by COTA as the “Observation Tower” – it really needs a better name for casual conversation. We’ve heard COTA Cobra used a few times with some lovely alliteration, but the structure has always struck us as less snake-like, and more like a big dinosaur — we’re going to use the name “Petrolsaurus Rex” until I hear something better, or COTA sends me a cease and desist order. I climbed to the top of Petrolsaurus Rex (read: took the elevator) during the MotoGP Warm-Up session, and snapped a few photos in the process. Enjoy!

MV Agusta F3 800 Ago Now Officially Debuts

We already announced the bike last November, and brought you a bevy of hi-res images of the special edition machine. Although now that we think of it, MV Agusta never released anything on this Giacomo Agostini tribute motorcycle — better late than never, right? Back at the EICMA show launch, where the MV Agusta F3 800 Ago was first shown to the public (and Agostini himself), the Varese brand promised us two additional motorcycle launches in early 2014. MV Agsuta made good on half that promise with the Dragster 800 model, hopefully this Ago special edition isn’t the other half of that statement, and MV Agusta still has something waiting in the wings. That being said, the Tricolore & Gold paint scheme is gorgeous, and looks even better in person.

Isle of Man TT Gets TV Deal for Australia & USA

Want to watch the Isle of Man TT from the comfort of your non-British TV, but haven’t been able to in the past? A new TV from the Isle of Man’s Department of Economic Development will do just that. Inking a new TV contract with North One TV, the Isle of Man TT will be televised in the American, Australian, and of course British markets, making it easier than ever to watch the iconic road race. With a five-year contract with the Velocity Channel in the US, the American cable channel will show seven one-hour race shows. Each segment will air within 24hrs of each race, and be tailored for the American market.

Castiglioni Denies Fiat Buyout of MV Agusta Is in the Works

After reporting 22% growth in Q1 2014, Giovanni Castiglioni had some closing words about the rumors that Fiat could acquire MV Agusta — a popular rumor that has been swirling around in the press the last two months. Denying outright that MV Agusta had, or was in, talks with the Fiat-Chrysler group about an acquisition (some reports linked even MV Agusta to being bought by Fiat-owned Ferrari), Castiglioni said the Italian company solely was focused on building growth, and building motorcycles. “Moreover, I’d like to take this opportunity to deny rumours circulated by the media over the last few days concerning supposed negotiations vis-à-vis the sale of a share of MV Agusta to the Fiat-Chrysler Group,” said Giovanni Castiglioni, the President and CEO of MV Agusta.

A 2WD Hybrid-Electric Motorcycle for the US Military?

In the coming years, US special forces may be riding a tw0-wheel drive, hybrid-electric, multi-fuel motorcycle co-developed by BRD Motorcycles and Logos Technologies. Helping make this project possible is a Small Business Innovation Research grant from DARPA. The goal is to make a single-track vehicle for US expeditionary and special forces that will be nearly silent in operation, yet also capable of traveling long distances. Details on the proposed machine are light, of course, but it sounds like the 2WD dirt bike will be based off the BRD RedShift MX (shown above), and use an electric drivetrain, as well as a multi-fuel internal combustion engine to achieve its goals.

Colin Edwards Will Retire from Racing after 2014 Season

Announcing his decision during the pre-event press conference for the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, Colin Edwards told the assembled press that 2014 would be the Texan’s last season racing a motorcycle. Citing a lack of improvement on his performance in pre-season testing and at the Qatar GP, Edwards decision perhaps answers the lingering question in the paddock of when the American rider would hang-up his spurs after an illustrious career in AMA, WSBK and MotoGP. Talking about his inability to come to terms with the Forward Yamaha, which Aleix Espargaro was able to take to the front of the pack in Qatar, Edwards was at a loss when it came to understanding the Open Class machine and his lack of results.

MSF Updates Its Basic RiderCourse Curriculum

It is no surprise that statistics from the NHTSA show that motorcycle accidents and injuries are on the rise. According to the 2012 Motor Vehicle Crash report published by the NHTSA, motorcycle fatalities for that year rose to 4,957, up seven percent from 2011, while injuries increased 15% to 93,000. While the NHTSA statistics are misleading because the motorcycle category includes mopeds, scooters, three-wheelers, pocket bikes, mini bikes, and off-road vehicles, new riders need every advantage they can afford. The Motorcycle Safety Foundation has taken notice of these statistics and has revised the curriculum for its Basic RiderCourse to include a new Basic eCourse, which students will take prior to in-person instruction.

Yamaha Trademarks “R1S” & “R1M” at USPTO – “YZF-R1M” Trademarked Abroad – But Why?

Are new Yamaha YZF-R1 models coming down the pipe? That’s the question being asked after trademark filings in the US and abroad tipped off Yamaha Motor’s intention to use “R1S”, “R1M”, and “YZF-R1M” for motorcycle, scooter, and three-wheeled purposes. The filings are being taken as hints towards a possible multiple trim levels of the Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike, with the “S” and “M” designations being different spec machines than the current base model. The “S” nomenclature is a popular one in the two and four-wheeled world, though “M” would certainly be a novel designation, outside of say…BMW.

Bell & COTA Create Texas-Themed Limited-Edition Helmet

Continuing its theme of making limited-edition helmets for premier-class US rounds, Bell Helmets has teamed up with the Circuit of the Americas and Chris Wood, of Airtrix, to create a Texas-themed Bell Star Carbon helmet, just in time for COTA’s MotoGP race next weekend. Available only until April 13th, the Bell/COTA helmet features a red, white, and blue flag motif on the front, with both the American and State of Texas flags visible, which then wrap around the rear to merge with a hardwood design, reminiscent of the floorboards in a Western saloon. The helmet is also crowned with a Longhorn cattle skull, which adds to the Texan motif. The specially designed helmet also features a horseshoe, the COTA logo, and the 2014 Red Bull MotoGP of The Americas logo.

Aprilia Mounting a Return to MotoGP in 2016

Towards the end of the 800cc era, MotoGP looked to be in dire condition. Grids were dwindling, factories were reducing their participation, and teams were in difficult financial straits indeed. By the end of 2011, there were just 17 full time entries, Suzuki was down to a single rider, and were about to pull out entirely for 2012. How different the situation looks today. In a recent interview with the official MotoGP.com website, Aprilia Corse’s new boss Romano Albesiano gave a brief outline of their plans. The Italian factory will continue to work with the IODA Racing team for 2014 to collect data on the electronics and tires, which they will use as input on an entirely new project being worked on for 2016.

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge

06/25/2013 @ 12:20 pm, by Tony Goldsmith6 COMMENTS

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 04 635x421

The Isle of Man TT is widely acknowledged as the most demanding motorcycle road race on earth for both rider and machine.  For a motorsport photographer the 37.75 mile course offers a wealth of opportunities as well as a unique challenge.

The opportunities are obvious: stunning scenery, spectacular jumps and spectators literally within arms-reach of the riders as they blast through towns and villages.

It goes without saying that capturing a sharp image of a 200bhp motorcycle can be tricky even when they are not moving particularly quickly.  In my opinion, the difficulty level at the TT is greater due to the sheer speed the bikes are travelling at.

The key to successfully photographing the TT has nothing to do with technical ability or gear, it is, as with most things in life, down to experience – although a bit of location planning and local knowledge doesn’t hurt either.

Once a location has been picked it’s not unusual to find yourself hiking through fields, clambering over centuries old Manx stone walls or wading through mud and water to get to the chosen spot.  Barbed wire fences have claimed more than one pair of jeans in the past, thankfully nothing more in my case, although I do recall one near miss after dangling off a barbed wire fence by the seat of my jeans.

After going through all that effort you’ll need to be aware of your surroundings and plan an escape route, preferably one that doesn’t involve barbed wire.

The average MotoGP race is run over 20 plus laps, lasts about 45 minutes and the photographers have the opportunity to capture images from multiple locations and angles during a race.  A 6 lap TT race is completed in around 1 hour 45 minutes and you will have at best 6 chances to get your shot.

If you plan on shooting from more than one location, and want to cover the start and end of a race, then you may miss a lap or two whilst negotiating the island’s busy roads.  The pressure is therefore on to make sure you nail the shot the first time, after all your editor is not going to care that you missed the race winner because you were being chased out of a field by a herd of cows!

I count myself incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to photograph a handful of MotoGP races over the last few years.  However, there really is no place I would rather be than perched on a hedge, camera at the ready, straining to catch the sound of a screaming engine in the distance, hoping the damn cows stay on the other side of the field…

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 01 635x421

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 02 635x421

Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 03 635x421

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Trackside Tuesday: From Over the Hedge Trackside Tuesday Isle of Man TT 2013 Tony Goldsmith 06 635x421

Photos: © 2013 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 to see you at the TT. Wonderful pics and words. I’m thinking the Vintage is calling my name.
    Might see you again soon.

    Cheers,

    Kevin

  2. Gutterslob says:

    Great images, and a wonderful bit of scribing. Thanks for sharing, Mr. Goldsmith.

    I wouldn’t say that equipment is totally irrelevant, though. A Leica digital rangefinder might be the current fad among rich hipsters, but I doubt it’s got the the lens selection capable of consistently capture anything like you’ve got.

    Btw, any images of them bikes exiting the bend at Gorse Lea? Not sure if people are still allowed to camp there after the incident 2 or 3 years ago, but it’s some sight seeing the riders go around that bit of track.

  3. Excellent photos. I never tire of seeing the bikes cresting a hill/bump and seeing the front wheel claw skyward.

  4. It was good to meet you too Kevin and cheers for the kind words. I’m going to miss the Classic TT as I’m off to Brno for the MotoGP, extended 40th birthday celebrations/commiserations.

    Gutterslob – Cheers for the comments and your quite about the equipment. I don’t know if there is camping at Gorse Lea but you can still watch from there. It’s on my list of possible places for next year as I’ve not shot from there before.

    Trane – I’m with you on that one.

  5. And, man, the compression of the suspension in that second pic of McPint with the Dunlop livery is epic. Your eye and timing are wonderful.

  6. Amen to that Tony! It’s most definitely about getting around or having a location where you can cover multiple shots/ideas. This year was only my third TT (both viewing and shooting) so I’m still getting to grips with the races and the unique aspects of covering them.

    I could shoot a BSB weekend with my eyes shut compared to a fortnight at the TT!