2021 Mark Gunter Photographer of the Year Awards: Showcase 1

by Michael Better

The 2021 edition of the Mark Gunter Photo Awards opened just over a week ago, and already, we’ve seen some amazing shots come through.

We’ll be showcasing these photos in galleries every week, highlighting a selection of the year’s entries. We hope you enjoy them.

In more ways than one, every entry is making a difference. Firstly, these images allow us to reflect on the past year and bring some light and joy into our world as we continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic. Secondly, just as in every year previously, the awards act as a fundraiser for cancer research. Entry fees go toward the Tour de Cure and help fund the Young Cyclists Assistance grant.

The competition closes on January 3, 2021, at which point our judges – Jojo Harper, Brazo de Hierro, and James Startt – will deliberate on who will take out the honors and prizes on offer from Wahoo. Winners will be announced on January 12, 2021.

Professional category

The professional category is open to all photographers that make a living from their work. They are competing for prestige and honor, along with the perpetual trophy and medallions.

“Taken near the end of the North Coast 500, Lawrence & Ollie cross the Kylesku bridge after a morning of rain, hail and headwinds.” Alex Duffill @alexduffill
“Shot recently for Rouleur Magazine. Anna had recently retired from racing so we wanted to portray her as a woman moving into her new life after cycling. It was important to make an image that felt classical and showed a sense of movement.” Michael Blann @michael.blann
“Alex Dowsett emailed me asking if I could work on some content for his up-and-coming Hour Record attempt. We both have sevre Haemophilia A, so working together on such a huge event was really special. He trained all day in the tunnel and then the wonderful Juliette showed her Dad how it is done.” Sean Hardy @hardyccphotos
“Red Rock is the best on those cold, storm-filled days when no one else will dare to come out.” Natalie Starr @natalierstarr
“Abu Sheik Sesay is mobbed by fans after finishing second at the Tour de Lunsar. It is Sierra Leone’s first multi-stage bike race. There is no blueprint for cycling in Sierra Leone. The race is creating a platform for young riders to showcase their talents and be seen as local heroes. Matt Grayson @mattgrayson_photo
“Reflecting & Moving On. A great shot from this year of a local rider giving it his all under a railway bridge. Passing by a puddle this captured his reflection perfectly and the direction of travel, both summed up in the caption for this shot. It has been a tough year; reflect on what has happened & move on positively.” James Clarke @justjamesmedia
“It’s the last cycling event I shot for this year. It was raining for several days but luckily on this day we’re blessed with sun, creating a magical atmosphere out in the woods.” Michiel Maas @maas.rides
“I was waiting around for the start of the TTT stage of the Tour of Britain and the teams were practicing their start from the main ramp. Movistar and Quickstep were on the ramp. everything was low-key and I saw Mark Cavendish give the Movistar rider a helping hand. I am not sure how many times an ex-world road race champion had done this but I was there to capture it.” Gary Main @garymainphotographer
“What’s better than riding? Riding on the beach! And to make it even more exciting go out in the dark with some strong headlights! As part of an influencer ride from Bicycling Magazine (NL), we rode on the beach and had some fun getting our feet wet. Fun fact: in the Netherlands, we have beach races, actual racing on the beach on mountain bikes with big slick tires. Maybe one of the toughest cycling disciplines out there! Shot for Bicycling NL.” Merlijn Spenkelink @merlingraphy

Amateur category

The Amateur category is open to non-professional photographers using high-end cameras, and anyone with a smartphone or drone, or action camera. The first prize in this category wins a Wahoo Elemnt Kickr, the second prize wins a Wahoo Elemnt Roam, and the third prize wins a Wahoo Elemnt Rival.

“The easy thing is to raise your arms at the finish line. Cycling is suffering and struggle. Elorrio cyclocross 2021.” Oscar Blanco Gutiérrez @oblanco78
“The road to Roubaix – a heavy fall did not stop Ellen Van Dijck on her way to Roubaix – the only recently conquered European champion’s jersey covered in mud – how beautiful can colors be?” Stijn Bastens @stijnbastens
“Cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, Denver Colorado’s Mike Nields Memorial Bannock Street Criterium returned to downtown Denver on July 17, 2021, with the series of amateur races moving into the shadow of the titanium-clad Hamilton wing of the Denver Art Museum, designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. It was Libeskind’s first completed building in the United States, and provided a dramatic backdrop for speeding cyclists.” Reid Neureiter @reidnewphoto
“The past two years haven’t been the easiest. A quiet ride through empty vines was enhanced by what appeared to be a hopeful view through the door of what’s next. Things are looking up. We’ll get there.” Owen Lewis @oblewis
“The Dirty Reiver. Gravel Ride England/Scotland border. September 2021. About 2.5 hrs after the fast group sped through, even a 1000 rider event is a lonely place in England’s largest man-made forest.” Stephen Smith @steph3nsmith
“This photo was taken during the Abadiño CX and I like it because you can see Anboto mountain, a very special mountain for Basque people, behind the rider.” Naike Ereñozaga Orue @naikefotosport
“A few of the almost 10,000 feet of vert during the Hoh-ly Roller 66 mile Gran Fondo.” Ben Groenhout @ben_groenhout
“Magic forest Gravel routes are sometimes unpredictable and unique. This day in April we rode through a beautiful segment of a small forest very close to the sea. Budziak, the southern part of Ukraine.” Iurii Makalis makalisiurii
“October 2021, the odd one out. After Tom Boonen retired from professional cycling, he found a second sports career in racing cars in the Belcar and Dutch Supercar Challenge. In a recent interview Tom stated that he felt more nervous racing cars, and that winning in races felt more enjoyable than all his cycling victories. You can see the determination and focus in his eyes, just before the lights turn from red to green.” Marco Loman @lomanmarco
“Relief. A hot and exhausted Crystal Anthony, riding for LIV Racing, gets sprayed down following her 4th place SBT GRVL, 144-mile Black Course finish in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, USA on August 15, 2021.” Craig Huffman @craigsclicks

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