Roads: BBC unveil new 'Road Racing People' exhibition

Published: 31 March 2017

MCN’s road racing reporter and internationally renowned photographer Stephen Davison has revealed a new photographic exhibition with the BBC delving into the world behind the unique sport of motorcycle road racing in Northern Ireland.

A collaboration with independent production company Doubleband Films, who have produced a new BBC TV series that goes inside the world of road racing to accompany it, the exhibition consists of 26 portraits of riders, fans, mechanics and families taken during the 2016 season.

The images were shot over a period of 121 days at the Mid Antrim 150, Tandragee 100, Cookstown 100, Skerries 100, North West 200 and Armoy road races using nothing more than a portable studio and 50mm lens. 318 people were photographed during that period, with the idea to capture the enthusiasm, the character and the essence of the sport.

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The exhibition also reflects the tragic side of road racing, featuring two riders who were fatally injured during the period in which the exhibition was shot – Malachi Mitchell Thomas and Paul Shoesmith.

Speaking of the exhibition, Davison said: “The attraction of this spectacle is obvious, but my greatest fascination in 25 years of photographing road racing has always been with the people involved. Making these portraits to accompany the filming of DoubleBand’s Road Riders series for the BBC was the fulfilment of a lifetime’s ambition.”

Dermot Lavery of DoubleBand Films added: “We wanted to convey the sport’s very real sense of family and community. Stephen’s pictures record and tell us something revealing about motorcycle road racing, its people and personalities in a way that moving images cannot.” 

The exhibition is supported by Libraries NI and curated by Sarah Edge, Professor of Photography and Cultural Studies in the School of Communication and Media at Ulster University, Coleraine. It will be touring Northern Ireland from early April with dates and venues released on the Libraries NI website in due course. 

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