Photo of the Week: Hands of Perseverance

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Sometimes I make an image which, at the time, seems fairly ordinary, but later emerges as something of an unexpected interest. When I saw Toni Elias about to mount up to begin his Moto 2 title chase, I thought it interesting that someone who had been in the premier class for five seasons couldn’t manage to take to the track with matching gloves. When Elias went on to become the first Moto2 champ, I included this image in the calendar, thinking it even more ironic that the future class champion had begun the season with this odd equipment choice.

During a speaking appearance at the San Francisco Dainese D-Store, I spoke to assistant manager Mike J. who shed some more insight on the photo. While holding a copy of the calendar open to the October page, Mike pointed out that while Elias had an Alpinestars glove on his right hand, the glove on his left was by Dainese. Due to Elias’ contract with A-stars, Elias had the logo and brand references covered up. I had not recognized the brand, only that the design was different from his Alpinestars glove.

At the 2010 season opener, Elias had been getting around on crutches due to a broken left ankle he’d sustained at the Jerez test a few weeks earlier. Elias had also injured the little finger of his left hand, which had been repaired with five small screws and a plate. I’d known about the ankle, of which the crutches were an effective reminder. But I’d not realized he’s also had the finger operation, which helps explain the left glove. When Mike pointed out that Elias had had the finger problem as well as the ankle, I went back to the photos of that weekend and found, sure enough, a shot of Elias’s left side in which the long scar on his little finger is plainly visible. Apparently, something about the Dainese glove fit the injured digit better than his contracted equipment.

Thus this image has come to mean more than I originally thought. It’s not only an example of the things that go on behind the scenes, but also another instance of just how tough you have to be to make it in motorbike racing. Sometimes you have to endure being busted down to the minors, then begin what will turn out to be a championship season with a recently broken ankle, a plate and screws in your little finger, and a glove that won’t fit.

Scott Jones is a professional photographer known for his great action shots and poignant candids when covering MotoGP and WSBK racing events. You may have already seen his work on MotoMatters (they still have more calendars available that feature Scott’s work by the way). Not only do we like Scott’s shots, but he fits right in with our all Nikon-totting office. You can find him on his blog, Twitter, & Facebook. Scott is such a nice guy, he’ll even let you stay in his Lake Tahoe cabin. All images posted, shared, or sent for editorial use or review are registered for full copyright protection at the Library of Congress.

Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved