Portland Rocks

On a mad day of two halves, right on the point of Portland island just off of Weymouth bay, Fin, me (Jack) and the Andrei Burton Events team went hunting for some dramatic, dangerous looking trials shots. What we came away with was thoroughly unexpected.

Our journey down through the west country was a wet one. When i say wet i mean cataclysmic rain storms battering the car, huge rolling thunder storms and lightening that light up the dark spray spewing motorways. Not exactly perfect weather for a day by the seaside, let alone with 3 highly talented riders who put their lives at risk by riding on the craggiest/highest/most precarious rocks possible and 10 grands worth of camera equipment and lighting. On arriving at Portland the only thing to do was sit in the cafe and stare miserably out the rain lashed window, sipping tea and chatting over what we could be doing. We were sat there for around 2 hours before the rain started to ease off, all of us had made quite a journey to get there and we all wanted to see at least a bit of rubber on rock action. So as soon as the rain turned to drizzle, coats were pulled on, waterproof camera covers were dug out and everyone pulled up their socks to get the job done. We did not expect what came next; a colossal bank of blue sky far out to sea, but heading our way, fast. Within 20 minutes that blue sky was above us and the sun blazed, from deluge to drought in 20 minutes, incredible.

The sunshine was a real catalyst for action. Tourists emerged bleary eyed from the cafe to explore the stunning coastline and marvel at Andrei and Joe’s incredible skill at riding lines across this challenging landscape. A particular eye catcher was when Andrei climbed out onto a gigantic rock stack jutting out into the sea and, in collaboration with Joe and Jack, threw some huge simultaneous bunny hops above the angry swirling sea 100 ft below.

Joe also pulled some massive hops out on the point of the headline on a small-car sized rock, perfectly in time with crashing waves just meters away. To achieve the shot, Fin himself had to climb down the shoreline and get very close indeed to said crashing waves, creating some interesting ‘soggy camera’ moments but one of my personal favorite shots of the day.

After a thoroughly impressive trials session we left Andrei and Joe in the car park throwing themselves at the roof of their team van to go and get some natural street style riding with dirt jumper Jack Gear. The Portland environment is not where Jack is happiest but he was still super keen to ride (he always is!) so we went on a hunt to find something on this wind blown part of the dorset coast that Jack could ride. We stumbled across a slab of rock sticking out of the ground at an (almost) perfect angle to throw some big airs off the top. The only trouble being there was no transition from grass to rock so after a few small flat rocks were strategically placed, Jack was ready to ride. We positioned the camera so we were looking straight across at the lighthouse, giving the effect Jack was jumping over the lighthouse, the shots were coming out great and Jack was having a laugh until one little of slip of a rock spoiled our fun. Jack had ridden the feature about 4 times and was just starting to feel comfortable and even talking of some tricks when he cranked into it for the 5th time, pulling up as he hit the rock to fly off the top, the small rock he used as a transition slipped out of place as his front wheel passed over it, meaning his back wheel slammed full on into the rock face catapulting Jack way over the bars, head over heals over the top of the rock and monkeying his way down the other side, the bike flipping its way towards the lights… close shave! The impact was too much for Jacks back wheel which took the full force of the crash. Jack was fine but the bike was not so lucky and that marked the end of his riding for the day.

We had loads of fun shooting on Portland with the AB events guys, Andrei took us to loads of secret hidden away training spots across the island he uses to hone his skills for the events he rides throughout the year. From quarries to craggy coastlines to abandoned prisons, Portland certainly is a trails riders haven.

We have had three of the images from the day published in Flipside Magazine, all of which are double page spreads which is awesome! Be sure to pick up a copy and check out the shots. We are in the 9 front pages!

We will also hopefully soon get the rest of the images published, we will keep you posted about when and where that will be!