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Hell of the East: Geoff Waugh turns to video to shoot the Dengie Marshes Tour (+ video)

Top photographer captures some of the drama of Britain's answer to the Spring Classics...

While the eyes of the cycling world were focused on the Tour of Flanders last Sunday, some of Britain’s top riders were competing in the closest that this country has to Flanders-style racing, the Dengie Marshes Tour, and renowned cycling snapper Geoff Waugh turned to video to capture some of the action of the 113km race nicknamed ‘The Hell of the East.’

That nod to the alternative name of Paris-Roubaix, ‘The Hell of the North’ isn’t coincidental – the course, close to Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex, may be lacking in cobbles, but more than makes up for the absence of pavé with much of the action taking place on rough farm tracks. The wind blowing across the flat landscape provides a further hazard for riders to deal with.

Geoff’s film, while short, captures some of the drama of the race that was won by Rapha-Condor-Sharp’s Zak Dempster from team mate Graham Briggs, and the Paris-Roubaix connection was reinforced by the podium being completed by a past winner of that race, Magnus Backstedt, riding for Team UK Youth.

You have to feel though for Motorpoint’s Ian Bibby as he crashes off his bike and tumbles into a bed of nettles; one of his team mates, Andrew Magnier, would suffer a broken collarbone during the race, on a day that left many riders battered and bruised.

On his website, Geoff says: “Went out to a remote part of Essex yesterday; the flatlands between the Blackwater and Crouch estuaries where the so-called 'Hell of the East' bike race was being held. Private roads, often full of potholes, and rough farm tracks to form part of the course, a homage to the famous Paris Roubaix race in France and other classic early season races held in Belgium.

“The race was in doubt this year but sponsors stepped into save it and two or three bigger teams entered to make good fist of the racing itself. So, inevitably there was more press interest and more photographers! I have shot the race three times now and decided to forgo stills and practice my video DSLR technique instead. It ain't easy! Under two minutes footage from a three odd hour race. Hey ho.”

In conclusion, with words of advice that any aspiring sports photographer should note, Geoff says, “Still learning. Always learning.”

Dengie Marshes Tour 2011 Result

1  Zak Dempster       Rapha Condor Sharp

2  Graham Briggs      Rapha Condor Sharp       @ 43 Secs

3  Magnus Backstedt   Team Uk Youth

4  Luke Rowe          100% Me

5  Wouter Sybrandy    Sigma Sport/Specialized

6  Johnny McEvoy      Motorpoint @ 1-27

7  Kristian House     Rapha Condor Sharp       @ 3-30

8  Tobyn Horton       Motorpoint

9  Marcin Bialoblocki Motorpoint 

10 Simon Gaywood      Team Corley Cycles/Cervelo

11 Dan Craven         Rapha Condor Sharp

12 Dean Windsor       Rapha Condor Sharp

13 Kristian Downs     Twenty3c-Orbea

14 Andrew Griffiths   Twenty3c-Orbea

15 Simon Richardson   Sigma Sport/Specialized

16 Martin Smith       Primal Europe            @ 5-20

17 James Sampson      Motorpoint

18 Ashley Cox Team    Corley Cycles/Cervelo

19 Erick Rowsell      100% Me

20 Frederik Johnasson Team Uk Youth


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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