Day 1: Free Practice

After collecting our accreditation credentials, we went straight to the track. Even though on a Friday its mostly free practice, the track was buzzing with activity. On our way there we heard over the news that Regis Laconi had an almighty crash in the first practice session, and that he was airlifted to hospital with broken vertebrae and a head injury.

Once there, we decided to shoot up and into Wesbank corner, which is an off-camber left hand corner with a fast downhill sweep, not dubbed “the mineshaft” for nothing. It was on this fast straight where Laconi came off.

This fast panning shot was taken with the following camera settings
Exposure mode: Shutterspeed Priority
ISO: 100
Aperture: f8
Shutterspeed: 1/500
Focal length: 560mm

[ 400 + 1.4 TC ]

Xaus close
Day 2: Practice & Qualifying

We started off on the inside of turn 2. Normally a very bad place to be early morning having to shoot into the sun, but as it was overcast it wasn’t a problem at the time, and being a corner I never had the opportunity to shoot from I embraced the overcast conditions. We proceeded to shoot from various corners as the clouds and light rain was present throughout the day.

For this head-on shot I deliberately set a fast shutter speed since there was no side view of the wheels, and minimal track visible. Thus no need for a slow shutter speed to show movement in wheels and background.

Exposure mode: Shutterspeed Priority
ISO: 250
Aperture: f4
Shutterspeed: 1/1600
Focal length: 560mm [ 400 + 1.4 TC ]


In this side-on panning shot of Johnny Rea I opted for a slow shutter speed to emphasize the  sense of motion/speed.

Exposure mode: Shutterspeed Priority
ISO: 100
Aperture: f10
Shutterspeed: 1/320
Focal length: 560mm [ 400 + 1.4 TC ]


Here Max Biaggi is accelerating out of  “the bowl”.

Exposure mode: Shutterspeed Priority
ISO: 250
Aperture: f8
Shutterspeed: 1/500
Focal length: 560mm [ 400 + 1.4 TC ]

Day 3: Race Day

In the proceding before the first race we had a few incidents at turn 3, first Max Biaggi went off into the kitty litter and fell right in front of us. Then in the warm up lap of the local 1000cc support race, two riders touched, then crashed and the sparks ignited the fuel when the one bike’s fuel spilled.

Biaggi off










Local crash


For the first race we opted for turn 2 and 3 with the sun over our shoulders. There we met up with Simon du Plessis from Action-image, a guy both of us turn to for wisdom and advice.

Haga warmup

Haga lead

Haga win

The second race I decided to move up into “clubhouse”, an uphill lefthander. I’ve seen a few riders lean so low around that corner that their elbows would touch the apex.  One of them being South African rider Sheridan Morais lucky enough to be riding with the Kawasaki factory team for the weekend.



Noriyuki “Nitro” Haga went on to win both races, with his team mate Michel Fabrizio second in both.

Haga Michel


My 400 f2.8L was at times a bit short on the 1.3 crop 1D MkII body, even with the 1.4x TC attached I struggled to get the riders full frame. I shot the testing sessions last year with a 500 f4L + 1.4x TC and it worked better, since I don’t like to crop excessively. For support I used a Manfrotto 681 Pro Monopod, with the Arca Swiss compatible Wimberley QR clamp fitted onto the Manfrotto 234 tilt head. Simon introduced me to the belt pouch when I first started with Sports Photography, and I’ve used it ever since. Using your hips and bending your knees to compensate for upwards or downwards tilting rather than to move the whole setup forward, and backward when using a monopod on the ground.

by Marcell van Aswegen


Marcell van Aswegen

All images © Marcell van Aswegen

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