NEWS/VIDEO REPORT: Photographer takes a hit at speedway

Motorcycle loses control in accident caught on video at Fast Fridays; Video getting national TV attention
By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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A video clip of a bruising encounter with a wayward motorcycle is giving Auburn photographer Michael Kirby some Web, DVD and TV time. “I hope that’s not my 15 minutes,” Kirby said, after re-watching’s video. The clip shows a motorcycle losing control at the start line, bashing through a hay bale and crashing into Kirby. The bike plowed into Kirby’s thigh as he stood taking photos in the inner oval of the McCann Stadium race track during a lower division Fast Fridays race at the Oct. 24 USA vs. The World team challenge in Auburn. But instead of crumpling over, Kirby was thrown into the air before falling to the ground. Two weeks later, Kirby said he’s still feeling the pain in his ribs and elbow but broken camera equipment has been replaced by insurance and he’s back shooting. When Kirby sees himself on the video, which was shot by Mark Williams of Huntington Beach, he says he still can’t believe he went so high in the air. He doesn’t remember much. “Things went black and I saw little blue stars,” he said. “I came to with paramedics asking me what day it was.” Williams, videographer for American Speedway Online, said he’s already marketing the Kirby crash clip and it will be shown later this month on the True TV cable channel during “World’s Most Daring” and “Wild Women” segments. American Speedway Online is also coming out with DVD of the USA vs. The World challenge and will use the crash as a bonus clip, Williams said. Williams said he naturally broke his lens away from the race when he saw the driver lose control at the start. The throttle seemed to be wide open and the rider didn’t seem to have the experience to get off to a good start, he said. The bike baled through the hay bale and blind-sided Kirby, an Auburn Journal freelancer who was shooting on his own that night. Kirby said he was focusing a long lens on a vocal contingent of Polish fans in the crowd and didn’t see the hit coming. “You can hear the smack on the video,” Williams said. Williams normally shoots video at the Costa Mesa track but comes up to Fast Fridays in Auburn twice a year. He said the clip will be marketed to all the reality based TV shows and could appear often for years to come in programs that feature high-speed crashes. Luckily, in this one, the victim was able to walk away relatively uninjured, he said. See also: The Journal’s Gus Thomson can be reached at