The North West 200, that is. Well, it's all about motorbikes on a normal road circuit, which they close to normal traffic. That's an important bit, since they are going at some crazy speeds. I tried to take some snaps to show what they look like...
I think I captured them rather well, considering I was holding the ME Super still and trying to open the shutter as they whizzed past. I think I was down around f/22, which meant 1/30s, but can't be sure - the bikes were slowing down from somewhere around 200mph before a 90 degree corner about 300m up the road to the right. I'm surprised I got anything at all, to be honest, since I wasn't even looking through the viewfinder, but watching as they entered my field of vision from the left. Recommended as a good way to waste some film, for sure.
It was a bad year at the races, with 2 major accidents. The first guy, Ryan Farquhar, was very lucky to have had a medic attend to him at the roadside, which enabled him to survive long enough to get to hospital. He's was discharged from hospital following surgery but was re-admitted only yesterday and apparently remains seriously ill. Ryan is a seasoned rider, 40 years of age and retired in 2012 after his uncle's death at another road-racing event at the Isle of Man, but decided to 'un-retire' a year later.
In the second accident, in spite of roadside medical help, the young man was not so fortunate and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident. All the more tragic given that he was a young guy in his first ever visit to the NorthWest200. Malachi-Mitchell Thomas was 20 and was well respected as someone who knew what he was about - he had already won the Manx Senior Race at the Isle of Man in 2015 and was fighting for a podium finish at the NW200 when he crashed.
I have very mixed feelings about these sorts of events nowadays - there are several smaller road races all over Ireland during the summer season. When I was younger of course I was mesmerised by the speed, the colours, the sounds. These days I find it harder to enjoy the NW200 - I seem to be more aware of the dangers involved than anything else. Clearly no-one is forcing these young men and women to participate - they are doing it because of the thrill, the adrenaline, the rush. I don't know - perhaps, as organiser Mervyn Whyte says, we should concentrate on making events like this safer. It's a tough one.