July began briskly with some of our pilots deployed to Stockholm and Hamburg to cover continuing rounds of the ITU World Triathlon Championships. However tight, narrow courses further compromised by seemingly strategically placed manhole covers on apexes required high levels of vigilance - particularly with the impending Olympic Games in Rio next month.
Elsewhere, there was a new event on the calendar for pilot Graeme Holmes: the Tour de Pologne - a seven day stage race taking in the best of the Polish countryside. In total three TV crews flew in to provide two hours of live coverage every day. The scale of the event was enormous, the field huge (192 riders) and the amount of support and size of staging was on a level to match only that of the Tour de France.
All ran perfectly until Stage 5 - the first of two dramatic mountain stages in the Zakopane area of Poland. The rain started the night before the stage in torrential proportions and was unabated come the start of the race the next day. The RST motorcycle gear has been beyond reproach since we began using it on the Tour de Yorkshire back in May. However a combination of open face helmets and low necks had water literally running off the helmet, down our necks and into the jacket, pants and boots!
Cold too at only 9 degrees. But that was only half the story. Moto one was shooting a three man break away down a particularly narrow and dangerous descent. One of the three riders lost traction and spilled off at around 70 km/h. He slid for some 40 metres or so before coming to rest in a driveway. Naturally we shot it before chasing back after the two remaining leaders. Sometime later he caught back up. Despite the long slide there wasn't a scratch on him and even his shorts were still intact. In driver training and racing schools, they use low friction surfaces to improve reaction times. This wasn't a low friction surface; it was a waterslide!
Stage 6 , and the weather was even worse. So much so that the Race Director called the race off after just 38 km as the route was deemed too dangerous (mattresses strapped to the sides of buildings down one particular decent was obviously not regarded as a sufficient safety precaution)! Despite the volume of the water, its continued persistence and how wet everything got, we didn't have a single frame drop out over the RF for the entire time and everything worked perfectly throughout. For kit testing, who needs expensive laboratories when there's the Polish mountains in Monsoon season!