Kent Grand National – First Time at the Races

Kent Grand National – With the Grand National 2016 upon us I thought I would share my first experience covering horse racing.

Kent Grand National – A few weeks ago I went and covered my first point to point meeting at Charing Race Course. Its fair to say that I’m not a huge horse fan and that I had never before even been t a race meeting so I didn’t really have much idea what to expect. I was there to cover the Kent Grand National as well so no pressure there then. As the cherry on the cake it was very muddy and I only had trainers! One of which got stuck in the mud and fell off my foot to the amusement of some of the race goers that saw it happen.

Kent Grand National

Here are a few of my favorites

I’m guessing this jockey has had betters days at the office

Faller at the second fence

Faller at the second fence

It was Winner Hunters Lodge ridden by Gareth Henderson that won the coveted Kent Grand National 2016

Winner Hunters Lodge ridden by Gareth Henderson

Winner Hunters Lodge heading for the finish line

I thoroughly enjoyed my first experience covering point to point racing, as a Sport Photographer it had long been on my list of sports to turn my hand to, safe to say I thoroughly enjoyed it even though it was a baptism of fire I will hopefully look to spend more time covering horse racing in the future. I even managed to experiment a little as well.

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As ever always interested in what people think so please feel free to let me know what you think.

Rugby World Cup, England 2015

Rugby World Cup, England 2015 – a retrospective

So Rugby World Cup, England 2015 is all done and dusted, the final whistle has been blown, to the victors the spoils and every other cliché have now (hopefully) been used to death and will never more be seen, heard or read again. Until of course when the next major sporting tournament gets underway and it will all be brought out of storage. Dusted off and regurgitated and made out its a piece or original journalism! But stop there, yes there was some very average reporting, yes the accreditation processes were questionable. But you cannot hide the fact that the press facilities from what I as a sports photographer experienced were absolutely bang on. Plus the fact that the spectator numbers broke every record nearly on a daily basis and sheer enthusiasm was totally unquestionable.

Here are a few of my personal favourites from the three games I covered. The rest of my stuff an be seen over on the SportPix website

The first game I covered was at the Amex Stadium in Brighton. It was to go down in history as the real upset in the Rugby World Cup, England 2015. So to kick off (pun intended) Japan against South Africa. Here is that moment everyone will remember that try right on the final whistle. Yes nearly everyone headed down to the other end in the second half expecting a Spring Bok steam roller to come rolling into town. But, it didn’t and I was at the wrong end! but whats nice about this picture is the fans faces. The guy with the beard holding his head and two people away another Spring Bok jersey wearing supporter actually cheering!

Rugby World Cup, England 2015 - Japan score the final try to notch up an historic victory against South Africa. Rugby World Cup group game from Pool B between South Africa and Japan. at Brighton Community Stadium. (c) Matt Bristow | SportPix.org.uk

Japan score the final try to notch up an historic victory against South Africa. Rugby World Cup group game from Pool B between South Africa and Japan. at Brighton Community Stadium. (c) Matt Bristow

Next up for me was my first visit to The Stadium. Formally the Olympic Stadium, renamed for no apparent good reason what so ever! This time it was for New Zealand first game against Namibia. I must admit after this game I was in no doubt that the Kiwi’s would win.

Rugby World Cup, England 2015 - The Kiwis didn't have it all their way as New Zealand's Centre Sonny Bill Williams finds out. Rugby World Cup group game from Pool C between New Zealand and Namibia at Olympic Stadium. (c) Matt Bristow

The Kiwis didn’t have it all their way as New Zealand’s Centre Sonny Bill Williams finds out. Rugby World Cup group game from Pool C between New Zealand and Namibia at Olympic Stadium. (c) Matt Bristow

Never ever let it be said that rugby is not a game for total hard men.

Rugby World Cup, England 2015 - Rugby World Cup group game from Pool C between New Zealand and Namibia at Olympic Stadium. (c) Matt Bristow

Rugby World Cup group game from Pool C between New Zealand and Namibia at Olympic Stadium. (c) Matt Bristow

The last game I covered was South Africa against the USA. The only white wash of the tournament, but lets not mention that! For some reason I stayed at the wrong end for the second half.  God knows why! but I did get Bryan Habana celebrating equalising Jonah Lomu’s try total.

Rugby World Cup, England 2015 - South Africas Wing Bryan Habana celebrates scoring and equalising the highest score during a World Cup. Rugby World Cup group game from Pool B between South Africa and USA at The Stadium. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. (c) Matt Bristow | SportPix.org.uk

South Africas Wing Bryan Habana celebrates scoring and equalising the highest score during a World Cup. Rugby World Cup group game from Pool B between South Africa and USA at The Stadium. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. (c) Matt Bristow

I had to take this which I think captures the national feeling after England crashed out!

Rugby World Cup, England 2015 - Rugby World Cup group game from Pool B between South Africa and USA at The Stadium. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. (c) Matt Bristow

Rugby World Cup group game from Pool B between South Africa and USA at The Stadium. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. (c) Matt Bristow

London X League Round 6

London X League Round 6 – Betteshanger Country Park. I recently spent an enjoyable day covering round 6 of the London Cyclocross League.

After putting a few frames on Facebook I have been persuaded to add a few more here (basically so that the quality is better). Cyclocross is great to cover I haven’t done any since I covered the UCI Cyclocross Worldcup round in Milton Keynes last year, for some reason I never added any here!

London Cyclocross League

Action from the veterens race. Betteshanger Country Park, Kent. (c) Matt Bristow

The day was split with 4 or 5 races across the day.

London X league Round 6 2015. Betteshanger Country Park, Kent. (c) Matt Bristow

London X league Round 6 2015. Betteshanger Country Park, Kent. (c) Matt Bristow

Next up were the Veterens, all Ladies and the aptly named super veterans! (I was expecting loads of capes!)

London X league Round 6

London X league Round 6 2015. Betteshanger Country Park, Kent. (c) Matt Bristow

And finally the juniors and Senior men.

London X league Round 6 2015. Betteshanger Country Park, Kent. (c) Matt Bristow

Blood, Mud and sweat. Betteshanger Country Park, Kent. (c) Matt Bristow

Fairfield Church, New Romney, Kent

Fairfield Church, New Romney – 30th September 2015

If your a photographer of any level amateur or a fellow professional when was the last time you took a picture just for the hell of it? with no brief or financial thought about what your pointing your lens at?

I spend my entire working life as a press and PR photographer rushing from A to B, answering various briefs shooting for clients who want me to work for them. If I’m honest I’m not sure when the last time I just shot for my own enjoyment.

Today I found myself down on Romney Marsh with some time to fill and after a quick search on-line I was stood looking across a field looking at the very picturesque Fairfield Church.

Fairfield Church, New Romney - 30th September 2015

Fairfield Church, New Romney – 30th September 2015

Whilst I was there I was lucky enough to bump into a couple that had the key to the door!

Grainy B&W whats not to like? - Fairfield Church, New Romney - 30th September 2015

Grainy B&W whats not to like?

For some reason I have always found historic churches fascinating so is a small gallery from my quick look around.

Think I might sling a tripod in the boot for any future discoveries. Who knows what I might find by not looking!

Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2015

Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2015 – Rounds 7 and 8. Fast, tight and very quick racing by the cream of British Cycling what’s not to like?

Out of any of the cycling events and races I cover over the course of a year I think The Tour Series is my favorite. The races only last for just over an hour but they are very intense and a challenge to cover, I think that’s why I like it so much. This year the Woking round had been moved to Croydon which was round 7 it was also supported by round 3 of the Womans Matrix Fitness Grand Prix which was won by Scot Charline Joiner from Team WNT.

Charline Joiner, Team WNT celebrates winning the Croydon round of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series.

Charline Joiner, Team WNT celebrates winning the Croydon round of the Matrix Fitness Grand Prix Series.

An exciting race insued around the tight and twisty Croydon circuit

The main Tour Series event was not going to disappoint either. with more than a few crashes and it was unfortunately the current leaders Maddison Genesis who came off worse. With two of their riders crashing out of contention a problem when The whole series is a team points affair!

Pedal Heavens Alex Payton is being heralded as the surpise package over the last couple of seasons

Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2015 - Pedal Heavens Alex Payton

Pedal Heavens Alex Payton

But after a thrilling end it was One PRO Cycling‘s Marcin Bialoblocki that took the individual win

Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2015. One Pro Cycling's Marcin Bialoblocki celebrates crossing the line first. Pearl Izumi Tour Series. Round 7 Croydon.

One Pro Cycling’s Marcin Bialoblocki celebrates crossing the line first. Pearl Izumi Tour Series. Round 7 Croydon.

Two days later and the action moved to Canary Wharf. Four corners and Four straights. An all together a different kind of race.

Ready on the start line. Pearl Izumi Tour Series. Round 8 Canary Wharf.

Ready on the start line. Pearl Izumi Tour Series. Round 8 Canary Wharf.

One PRO Cycling laid down the gauntlet with a fantastic team effort.

Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2015. Round 8 Canary Wharf.

Pearl Izumi Tour Series. Round 8 Canary Wharf.

But in one of the closest photo-finishes I can recall it was NFTO‘s  Steele Von Hoff that took the individual honors from JLT Condors Ed Clancy.

Pearl Izumi Tour Series 2015 - NFTO's Australian Criterium Champion Steele Von Hoff and JLT Condor's Ed Clancy giving a photo finish! Pearl Izumi Tour Series. Round 8 Canary Wharf.

NFTO’s Australian Criterium Champion Steele Von Hoff and JLT Condor’s Ed Clancy giving a photo finish! Pearl Izumi Tour Series. Round 8 Canary Wharf.

D-Day Landings – 71 Years on

I wanted to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings but I was not sure what picture to use. A bit of thought and for me the choice was obvious. A couple of weeks ago I was on a press job covering the 75th anniversary of Operation Dynamo in Ramsgate. Where a fleet of small boats crossed the channel to rescue stranded allied troops from northern France.

During the event there was a fly past of a Spitfire and a Hurricane. Right in front of my was somebody with a huge Union Flag, the frame made itself definitely a case of of right place, right time.

I had originally thought it was the spitfire, but I was later corrected by a Anorak friend. It is of course the Hurricane.

A fly past by a Spitfire and Hurricane completed the send off. Operation Dynamo 75th anniversary. A selection of ships leave Ramsgate harbour and sail to Dunkirk accompanied by the Royal Navy and RNLI to mark the occasion.

A fly past by a Spitfire and Hurricane completed the send off. Operation Dynamo 75th anniversary. A selection of ships leave Ramsgate harbour and sail to Dunkirk accompanied by the Royal Navy and RNLI to mark the occasion.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Kents 2015 General Election

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem or as I would sooner refer to to it ‘The Freak Show!’

As we all adjust to the surprise result and life returns to what is commonly accepted as normal (I’m no political commentator and I’m not about to start either!) It occurred to me just how much time I have spent covering the election in and around Kent over the last couple of months. In fact it started way back in February!

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem

Sandwich Market, Guildhall Forecourt, Cattle Market, Sandwich. Nigel Farage doing a walkabout in the town and speaking to residents.

Unusually snapped him sipping at something other than a pint as well. I was quite surprised that the good people of Sandwich seemed to like Nigel Farage and UKIP.

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem

Sandwich Market, Guildhall Forecourt, Cattle Market, Sandwich. Nigel Farage doing a walkabout in the town and speaking to residents.

There seemed to be a trend of MP’s and general political types donning hard hats and getting down with the working man. Sittingbourne’s MP Gordon Henderson visiting Carillion’s training centre to talk with the apprentices. Have you ever tried using a camera with full hard hat, protective glasses and gloves on? its not easy!

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem

Succesfull Apprentice Paulo Pinhal, Gordon Hendrson MP, Centre Manager Ian Young speak to Bricklaying instructor Steve Moyle. National Apprentice Week : Sittingbourne. Local MP Gordon Henderon visits Carillion’s traing centre to talk with the apprentices.

For some unknown reason I decided to go and cover a UKIP policy release, still not sure what the policy was other than something to do with health and I’m not entirely sure he did either. Divine inspiration?

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem

Nigel Farage speech on UKIP health policy. Farage, Ukip health spokesman Louise Bours MEP and Ukip deputy chairman Suzanne Evans will unveil UKIP’s health policy.

Enter stage right Mr Al Murray standing in Thanet South as his character ‘The Pub Landlord’ things were going to get weird. He arrived in a fire engine converted to be a beer pump!

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem

Al Murray handing in his nomination paperwork.

Comedian Al Murray, AKA The Pub Landlord, handing in his nomination paperwork at the Thanet council offices in Margate, Kent. (c) Charles Saddler

Comedian Al Murray, AKA The Pub Landlord, handing in his nomination paperwork at the Thanet council offices in Margate, Kent.

If I’m honest its a good job he didn’t win as thats one rubbish poured pint! It was then the turn of Labour to wheel in the big guns! So Ross Kemp accompanied Will Scoobie for a walk around Broadstairs which would have been fine but it was more of a selfie fest for Kemp.

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem

Ross Kemp celebrity Labour supporter accompanies Labour Candidate Will Scobie on a walk about in Broadstairs.

Although the chip shop stop was a welcome opportunity that was fast becoming a waste of time.

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem

Will Scoobie and Ross Kemp stop and buy a lunch of a cone of chips. High St, Broadstairs, Kent CT10 1NQ. Ross Kemp celebrity Labour supporter accompanies Labour Candidate Will Scobie on a walk about in Broadstairs. Picture: Matt Bristow

Theres always a Farage opportunity but since I last had the pleasure it had all got a lot more serious and it was invite only.

Kents 2015 General Election Mayhem

Nigel Farage visits The Northwood Club in Ransgate, Kent for a drink, along with some veterans to mark St. George’s Day.

So lets cut to the actual election count, by now like many other Press Photographers I was wishing it to come to an end! I think the Liberal Candidate Sarah Smith was thinking the same!

Liberal Democrate candidate Sarah Smith. 2015 General Election. Constituency Results, Dover. (c) MATT BRISTOW | StockPix.eu

Liberal Democrate candidate Sarah Smith. 2015 General Election. Constituency Results, Dover.

So that’s enough I think! here’s a last few

2014 World Champions as seen by me

2014 World Champions as seen by me. With 2015 under way pretty much everyone looks back over the year that has just passed.

I wanted to take a slightly different look back. Not that long ago I had a conversation about world champions with somebody, which got me thinking. Just how many World Champions pass infront of my lens in 12 months? Because I don’t particularly specialise in any sport photography it took me a little time to actually work this out. So here goes in the order that I took pictures of them and not in the order of winning.

1. Petter Solberg – Secured the inaugral FIA World Rallycross Championship title. The first person to win two FIA world titles in different diciplines. Pictured here at round 2 which was held at Lydden Hill Race Circuit in Kent.

2014 World Champions - Petter Solberg

2014 World Champions – Petter Solberg, FIA World Rallycross Champion

2. Jessica Fox – Who won the K1 and C1 Canoeing titles in 2014. Pictured here at the ICF Canoe Slalom World Cup held at the olympic Lee Valley White Water Centre, London.

2014 World Champions - Jessica Fox

2014 World Champions – Jessica Fox who won the K1 and C1 world titles

3. Sir Bradely Wiggins – Who took the UCI Road World Championship Men’s Time Trial title held in Spain in September by a huge margin of 26 seconds. Pictured here at the start of the time trial on stage 8a of the Tour of Britain held in London.

2014 World Champions -  Sir Bradely Wiggins

2014 World Champions – Sir Bradely Wiggins. UCI Road World Championships – Men’s time trial

4. Novak Djokovic – OK not strictly called a world champion, but he was crowned as world number 1  which is good enough for me. Pictured here at the ATP World Tour Finals held at the O2 in London.

2014 World Champions - Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic who was crowned the world number 1 at the ATP Tour finals in London

So my total tally for the year was 4, not bad but this year I plan on making it more. Happy new year everyone.

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

ATP World Tour Finals 2014 were once again played at the O2 in London. Which saw the very best from the world of professional tennis battle it out for one of the most coveted awards of the tour.

The annual return to the O2 and as a Sports Photographer I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. I started out with Marin Cilic against world number 1 Novak Djokovic.

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

Novak Djokovic plays Marin Cilic in their opening matches – Barclays ATP World Tour Finals 2014 – 10th November 2014

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

Novak Djokovic plays Marin Cilic in the group B opening games. Barclays ATP World Tour Finals 2014. London O2 Arena. (c) Matt Bristow

Djokovic started out as he meant to go on winning in straight sets.

I then had Djokvic again this time against Stanislas Wawrinka. A game I was looking forward to and expected a drawn out affair. However, Djokovic had other ideas and beat Wawrinka in straight sets. It was starting to look like nobody could get anywhere close to Djokovic.

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

World Number 1 Novak Djokovic serves for the match. (c) Matt Bristow

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

Stanislas Wawrinka world number 4 eyes up a forehand return. (c) Matt Bristow

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

Novak Djokovic reaches to make a low return on his way to beating Wawrinka. (c) Matt Bristow

My next game was in the other group and was a real crowd puller. GB’s own Andy Murray playing the ever popular Roger Federer. Federer had already qualified for the knockout stages. What followed was difficult to watch if you were a Murray fan as Federer systematically destroyed Murray in straight sets. Infact Murray only took one game all match! From where I was sitting it looked like Federer gifted him that as well!

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

Andy Murray was never allowed a look in

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

Roger Federer kept his cool and barely broke sweat.

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

For Andy Murray it must have been lonely sat in the break being 1 set down not having won a single game

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

Andy Murray sprints to return a drop shot.

Unfortunately the showdown between the world number 1 Djokovic and Number 2 Federer never happened as unusually Federer pulled out of the final moments before it was to start due to a back injury.

Which left Djokovic the winner of the 2014 ATP Tour Finals with hitting a ball in the final.

ATP World Tour Finals 2014

Novak Djokovic celebrates after dismissing Stanislas Wawrinka in straight sets and ultimately winning the tournament

Here are a few of my favorites from the week. To see full galleries and for license information please visit SportsPix

Events like this always attract celebrities this year I saw Alan Carr, Pippa Middleton and José Mourinho

José Mourinho has his picture taken with a fan.

José Mourinho has his picture taken with a fan.

Tour of Britain 2014 – Stage 8 London

Tour of Britain 2014 – Stage 8 London. Everything you would ever want in a cycling event Time Trial, Racing and the final champion decided on the line!

The final stage of Tour of Britain 2014 – Stage 8 London. Split into two parts the first an 8km time trial. Riders would set off at regular 1 minute intervals, if they missed it they couldn’t start. The top 10, the last to set off have a 2 minute stagger. All eyes were of course on the British and Olympic Time Trial champion Sir Bradely Wiggins. Was there any doubt that as he romped home a full 8 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

Tour of Britain 2014

Team Sky’s Sir Bradely Wiggins at the start of the Time Trial. On his way to a emphatic victory.

I’d just like to  say that Sir ‘Wiggo’ is quite possibly the coolest person in existence, my belief has been furthered enhanced when I saw his support car. Yes it is a Jaguar F-Type R! and the plate is pretty spot on as well.

Tour of Britain 2014

Team Skys support car is actually a Jaguar F-Type R, more than cool

Time Trial is a weird thing compared to racing. There’s no tactics other than going out fully focused and pushing your physical limits to the extreme.

Tour of Britain 2014

BMC racings Dylan Teuns from Belgium totally focused at the start of his time trial.

The final part was a 10 lap race over the same course as the time trial so not really a lot of change. There wasn’t a climb and only just about the chance for the final Yodel Sprint category. The surprise Garmin Sharp’s Dylan Van Baarle  started with the yellow jersey on his back.

Tour of Britain 2014

Garmin Sharp’s Dylan Van Baarle on the startline in yellow looking very composed on his way to securing the overall Tour of Britain title.

Team GB young rider Chris Latham worked hard all race in the break away and was for his efforts awarded the Rouleur Combativity Award for the final stage.

Friends Life Tour of Britain Stage 8 London

Team GB’s Chris Latham

You couldn’t have written the ending a photo finish that saw Giant-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel narrowly beat Omega Pharma Quickstep’s Mark Cavendish in a photofinish.

A photo finish which saw Marcel Kittel narrowly beat Mark Cavendish

A photo finish which saw Marcel Kittel narrowly beat Mark Cavendish

 

Full results can be found on the Tour of Britains website and all my full set of pictures ready for licence on the SportPix website. Here is a selection of a few of my favorites.