Vurb Journal: Salt Lake City, Part 2

Howdy, folks! Brandon here, reporting once again from the official Vurb satellite office in Park City, Utah! We’re five races down and we’ve clocked hundreds of miles racing around the Beehive State, documenting the return of the 2020 Monster Energy Supercross Championship. Since we last talked, Kyle ran 10 miles, completing his 100-mile challenge through the month of May (congrats, Kyle!), Wes has mountain biked his way through two tire tubes, a set of pedals, and a pant size. And me? Well, I’ve been officially “promoted” to “lead” v-logger for the remainder of the trip (wait, is that a good thing? Like, comment, and subscribe below!) All kidding aside, the guys here at Vurb have provided me with a platform to explore my creativity and share ideas, while providing guidance to set me forward on a path of success. It’s been an epic two weeks, and in this short time I’ve taken hundreds of photos of top riders, written two feature articles, and worked behind the scenes with Wes, Brent, and Chase throughout the relaunch of the website.

Despite the remaining seven races being held at Rice-Eccles Stadium in downtown, we’ve spent most of our time traveling between Utah Motorsports Complex and a private facility named Flying Iron Horse Ranch, both less than an hour from SLC. Although the distance between the two is minimal, the terrain and climate of each couldn’t be more distinct. UMC, formerly known as Miller Motorsports, is located in Toole. It’s a small town, known locally for its Army Depot and more recently its racing facility. UMC purpose built a supercross track designated for team ride days throughout the week, so that they have a place to keep up with training and testing throughout the month. We’ve seen teams like GEICO Honda, Factory KTM, and Rockstar Husqvarna putting in the seat time on the track to prepare for racing twice a week. With no shade or apparent elevation change for several miles it’s a no-frills racetrack made to separate the men from the boys.

Flying Iron Horse Ranch, on the other hand, is a picturesque property wedged between the foothills mountains and a naturally flowing river. Amongst a mountainous backdrop and green pastures, the dark dirt twists and turns along the water and between trees. Bearing a closer resemblance to a watercolor painting than your typical motocross track, it’s a photographer’s dream come true. The effort put forth to making this course as elegant as it is challenging is apparent, and as owner, Spencer, says, “The only problem you’ll run into out here is having enough time to get all your shots.” I agree with this sentiment after several visits to the ranch, photographing riders like Garrett Marchbanks, Chad Reed, and Ken Roczen. As you leave the track, you notice locals fly fishing in the river as the multicolor motorcycles soar through the air in the distance, creating an interesting dynamic I can only imagine being found in a place like Flying Iron Horse Ranch. I hope that my photos will do the ranch justice, but it’s a scene best taken in with your own eyes.

The contrast between the two facilities has kept it challenging to capture compelling images of motorcycle racers. To go to a location a single time and take photos is one challenge (and one I’m most used to), but to return to photograph that same location several times, while trying to keep things fresh, is another. As I continue hone my craft, I embrace the challenge and look forward to figuring out new ways to view the course and use different shooting techniques to capture unique images. I always have and always will try to approach photography through my own eyes and take little influence from others style in an attempt to bring a unique perspective to stills photography in action sports.

Clueless: SLC 4&5

Garrett Marchbanks To Miss Remainder of Supercross