Saturday, 11 January 2014

Road Racers by Stephen Davison

Very few photographers can be credited with influencing a sport, but Irish photographer Davison has. His images turned British motorcyclists onto real road racing like never before and he helped make stars of riders like Guy Martin and Ryan Farquhar. This isn't some PR blurb sent out with this new 140-odd page hardback book, it's an eyewitness opinion from a me, a journalist who was working for the biggest British magazines when Stephen's photos started coming through. It's a bold statement, but I stand by it.

Very few British riders knew anything about road racing beyond the NW200 and the TT, and the latter was on its arse. Once British magazines started printing the stories, foreign mags followed. I first worked with Stephen in 2004 and have regularly been on assignments with him since.

Stephen's photos; Paul Phillips taking over the TT; affordable on-board cameras, that led to improved TV coverage and new, free digital channels that allowed for more space for quality footage have transformed the TT and road racing in general. But, I truly believe, Stephen helped get the ball rolling by showing the world not all racers had become sponsor-thanking athletes. Road racing has long had its characters and mavericks and Stephen has benefitted from a rich seam including McGuinness, all the Dunlops, Martin, Hutchinson, Finnegan, and the fans that line the courses, both day-trippers and the hardcore.

The book includes photos dating back to 2000 right up to the present. They are from Ireland, England, Isle of Man, Macau, Spain and the Czech Republic. They include race footage and intimate moments, including an incredible shot of Stephen's friend Ryan Farquhar under-going surgery and at the funeral of Farquhar's uncle.

The RRP is £17.99.

1 comment:

WhitelinePsycho said...

Great review and insight, cheers muchos.