Luke Evans is a cycling journalist, author and former editor of Cycle Sport magazine. In his spare time, he pilots top cycling photographer Graham Watson at the races. Currently, he’s taking Graham around the Giro d’Italia.
We are Moto 4 at the Centoanni Giro d’Italia, that is motorcycle number four of 12 accredited stills photographers who have permission to roam freely throughout the race. My ‘capo’ is Graham Watson, the English photographer who has been present for at least a quarter of the 100 Giros.
GW has two Nikon D3 camera bodies, a 16mm fisheye lens and three others: a 24-70mm; 70-200mm; and the fantastic new 200-400mm. All are carried on the bike but the 200-400mm is so big it takes up the whole of the right hand pannier, angled at 45 degrees with not a mill to spare. He has invaded my left hand side pannier, normally reserved for the driver and that is now very full with wet weather gear.
The tankbag is the third ‘drawer’ in our little office. That is the driver’s store for essentials like phone, documents, sunglasses, camera, a gilet top and food. In the clear panel on the tankbag we have a set of profiles for each stage.
The bike is a 1992 BMW K1100LT. It’s the same machine as the white ones that the TV guys use, ours is dark green and not so heavily modified. It has a WP heavy duty shock absorber on the back and big footplates made from checkerplate that GW can stand up on. For the 3,456km Giro it has new tyres, fresh oil in the engine, gearbox and rear drive, and a heavy duty clutch cable.
I love it, it’s not as flickable as the 750cc version but it’s very stable, handles well and will trickle along through a crowd on tickover, which gives GW just enough time to say hi to someone without us having to stop.
We have a scanner and amplifier fitted in the glovebox in the fairing and can hear race radio using the integral speakers in the fairing.
It’s a very neat system, thanks to my mate Robert back home.
Our bags are being carried in a van with those of the Italian Watson, Roberto Bettini. He is here with his son Luca, moto driver Fabio and van driver Pizo. They are Moto 1.
That is our ‘squadra’ for three weeks and the motorbike is our cramped little office, from where we report the race as best we can while trying to remain civil to each other.
|Giro d’Italia 2009 links|
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