After a devastating week for New Zealand with the Christchurch earthquake claiming many lives, destroying homes and business and leaving many too terrified to go back, it was hard to think about anything else. But on Saturday saw the famous yearly mountain bike, BMX, motocross and freestyle motocross competition in Southland, nicknamed as the X-Games of NZ, 2011 Unit Farm Jam. Brothers Kris, Dan and Brett Frew organise this festival of wheels each year on their parents beautiful farm near Winton. It all takes place on sculpted dirt jumps, built meticulously over the years by the Frew brothers.
I headed down on Friday, for practice day to shoot photos for a few editorial commissions I have on the event. Friday saw an interesting day of clouds coming and going, and fun light to play with.
The sheep of the Frew’s farm graze beside the moto x course.
With the light coming and going I played around snapping shots of the incredibly talented mountain bikers and BMX guys… They practiced hard all afternoon and only stopped when it got too dark to see.
As the clouds thickened before sunset, I realised that we were not going to get a good sunset for the FMX (freestyle moto x) shoot. None the less the helicopter with its belly load of filmers and photogs buzzed around the evening gloom trying to shoot images of Levi Sherwood, Nick Franklin and Josh Sheehan amongst others doing amazing stunts on their motor bikes. After the sun had truly gone, without giving us any colours (slightly disappointing!), everyone chilled out by the wool-shed eating snarlers of the BBQ and yarning about the days activities, while a few interviews took place for Red Bull’s filmers.
The Red Bull Hummer and crew watching BMXer Anthony Neapolitan get interviewed for Red Bull
The sheep yards
After shooting some photos in the dark, I slept a comfy night in the back of my truck and woke at sunrise. I had arranged to shoot a portrait of the Frew Family first thing, that I needed for one of my editorial commissions . A glorious blue skied morning greeted us and the light was fabulous, showing off Southland at its best.
The day kicked off with the freestyle moto x and the large crowd that formed to watch, were not disappointed.
The Moto X course
Josh Sheehan won the FMX
After the Pit Bike race and FMX it was time to do to the quieter side of the paddock and watch the push bikes. A huge crowd watched as some incredible tricks were performed over the dirt jumps. Conor MacFarlane won the mountain bike competition with an incredible mixture of tricks performed over the big line. Including a front flip (so very hard to do on a bike!) off the board walk. Unfortunately this didn’t end too well with poor Conor breaking his collar bone. The BMX was just as impressive with some mind blowing stunts going down… It all ended pretty sharp though with another nasty crash reminding the crowd that it aint as easy as these pro’s make it look and the s**t can hit the fan oh too quick. Its a fine line…
The crowds watching the bike park.
The amazing array of jumps and different lines a rider can take at this beautifully crafted dirt park.
After a very long day, and a tired eye and wrist, it was time to get on the road back to Wanaka. I’m sorry that I cant show you very many photos, I am needing to keep a large amount aside. Thanks so much to the Frew’s for another incredible year at the Farm Jam. These boys put so much hard work into this event, and no-one left disappointed…
I would like to finish this post by expressing my heart felt thoughts and prayers to all those affected by the Christchurch earthquake. I have many friends up there and its going to be a long road back to normality…. You have us all with you every step of the way xx