Last Thursday I was given the task of rigging a Norton Cafe Racer SP (Panther) signature model superbike to capture a lap of the newly remodelled Donington Park circuit in Derbyshire. Armed with my GOPRO HD Hero, and a V.I.O PoV camera I’d borrowed from the BBC, I headed down to the Norton factory at the Donington circuit to set up.
My plan was to mount one camera on the bike as close to the track as possible, another on the handlebars looking back at the rider, and then to do a quick pitstop to switch one of the cameras onto the riders helmet. When I saw the bike I realised that there were going to be problems! Being a road bike, there was no space on the bars for any standard mounts. However, we were stood in the factory that built it. So, a bit of head scratching/genius on the spot ideas/engineering from the team at Norton and we had knocked up a brand new GOPRO mount… I’ll christen it the ‘Norton Indicator replacement mount’ I think.
Mounting bracket cable tied to sticky GOPRO mount
Leaving enough clearance for GOPRO mounting shoe
Voila! Now bolt that to the indicator mount on the bars. All made in 10 minutes!
It sat in the spot where the front indicator should be (you don’t need them on a high speed lap around Donington when you have exclusive access!) and gave a great shot of the riders helmet clad face.
The second camera was the VIO Pov cam. Its tiny tubular camera is on the end of a wire and so you can get it into some pretty out of the way places. We managed to mount it on the rear portion of the bikes frame and get a shot pointing out of the back of the bike. It was literally 2 inches above the rear tyre but managed to get both the tyre and rear fairing in shot so that you could see the suspension working around the track. The VIO camera then connects to a quite bulky box which we managed to mount to the frame right above the riders left foot and basically on top of the engine block. The beauty of this was that the microphone on the VIO block would pick up the sound of the engine as if you had you ear pressed against it.
All that was left was the riders helmet. That rider was to be former World Superbikes star Chris ‘Stalker’ Walker. His signature helmet wasn’t going to take kindly to glueing a GOPRO mount to it so we had to think of something else. There is no open venting to tie into but Chris himself suggested we strap the vent mount around the chin guard on his helmet. Effectively we were mounting a camera on Chris’ chin!
GOPRO on Chris Walkers helmet. That’s me filming him on a Sony DSR-570 (photo from Norton Motorcyles website)
We were only given 10 minutes circuit time as the busy preparation for the World Superbikes meeting was on, but Chris managed two laps with the GOPRO on the bars and then, after a quick pit stop, two more with the helmet mount. The results are below, all shot and edited in a day… it’s been down converted from 1080HD to SD to match the broadcast cameras used, and for airing on BBC East Midlands Today on Friday 25th March. Thanks to the guys at Norton Motorcycles including Chris Walker, the guys at Donington Park, and Ross Fletcher at the BBC for making it happen!
A lap of Donington Park