Photographing Men of MotoAmerica 2015

Danny Eslick, Pro Rider #69 of Turbo Turtle Racing

 

There are people in life who embrace life to it’s complete maximum and it’s my belief that those people have that special secret ingredient for life I like to call #Awesomesauce. It’s that extra cool element which shines through their personality and positively affects all those they surround. Mr. Danny Eslick, four-time AMA National champion and two-time Daytona 200 winner (current champion two years in a row), definitely falls into this category of unique individuals.

Every time I see the man, he beams with the brightest smile, the kind of smile that is completely contagious and you don’t even realize you’re beaming just as bright until your own smile muscles start aching. That reminds me, I need to smile more to exercise those muscles. Back to our story. I had the fortune of meeting up with Danny to photograph him for this MotoAmerica series at Road America in Sheboygan, WI, riding with Turbo Turtle Racing.

Before viewing the images however, I want to share with you the story of how I first met Danny back in 2013. To premise, I had never been on the back of a superbike, nor haven’t been on one in gear since then, so Jon Schiereck decided to toss me behind Danny at the Ducati Seattle – Seattle100 fundraiser with Scott Russell. Danny rode up to us fully suited, so all I got to see at first introductions were his eyes squinting through sweat and sunshine. No words were exchanged until Jon threw me on to the back of the bike and yelled over the revving engine: “She’s my girlfriend! DON’T go easy on her!” Jon then slapped the top of Danny’s helmet leaving me with no time to intervene, only a moment to hang on tight.

Oh shit.

Be sure to read on for my story of riding with an infamously fearless professional motorcycle rider.  (Bucket list: check!)

Danny Eslick #69 pro rider of Trubo Turtle Racing at MotoAmerica at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI, May 31, 2015

Danny Eslick #69 pro rider of Turbo Turtle Racing at MotoAmerica at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.

Danny Eslick #69 pro rider of Trubo Turtle Racing at MotoAmerica at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.

Danny Eslick #69 pro rider of Turbo Turtle Racing at MotoAmerica at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.

Danny Eslick #69 pro rider of Turbo Turtle Racing at MotoAmerica at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.

Danny Eslick #69 pro rider of Turbo Turtle Racing at MotoAmerica at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.

Danny Eslick #69 pro rider of Turbo Turtle Racing at MotoAmerica at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.

Danny Eslick #69 pro rider of Turbo Turtle Racing at MotoAmerica at Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI.

 

Thanks to all who have participated in this series to date.
All the posts from the MotoAmerica series can be viewed HERE
If you are interested in your team being a part of this series, please contact me HERE.

 

From the original blog post describing my first Superbike ride – with infamous Danny Eslick:

In “After Earth” Will Smith says: “Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me, danger is very real, but fear is a choice.”

Think about that while reading on.

My first introduction to Superbike racing was to be thrown on the back of a Suzuki GSX-R1000 with Michael Jordan Motorsports racer Danny Eslick at Pacific Raceways in Seattle, WA. It was not on my bucket list to ever try such a thing as my instinct to survive is pretty strong, but I’m definitely grateful to have experienced the incredible power of gravity and the distinct feeling of healthy fear. It’s simply freedom, fun, and exhilarating. When you hit 130 mph at the gate and the front wheel goes up for a quarter of a mile. There is no room to breath. Were the breaks activated on that long turn? My breathing stops. The throttle revs up and you go faster coming out of a turn. 160mph? 180mph? There You feel like you’re going to fly off. Focusing on the scenery becomes as dizzying as looking at a Jackson Pollock painting, and dear god you want the bike to stop but the ride to continue on. It’s insane.

Those who do this for a living, are totally balls-out-crazy. And are absolutely brilliant. You see, they have mastered their fear.

Respect.

LaRae Lobdell before her first superbike ride with Danny Eslick.

Me moments before my first superbike ride with Danny Eslick.

 

 

MY CAMERA GEAR FOR THIS SHOOT:

Think Tank Photo Airport AirStream™ Rolling Camera Bag

Think Tank Photo Pro Speed Belt™ V2.0 and modular pouches

Think Tank Photo Modular Component Set™ V2.0

BlackRapid Kick Women’s Sling Camera Strap RS2SW1S  (Grey)

Nikon D750 FX-format Digital SLR Camera Body

Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens

Nikon 85mm f/1.8D AF Nikkor Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras

POST-PROCESSING SOFTWARE: