Thrill of motorbike racing on the continent inspires Sheffield artist’s new calendar

Artist Rachael Clegg's pose for April from her new motorsport-themed calendar
Artist Rachael Clegg's pose for April from her new motorsport-themed calendar
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A Sheffield artist whose calendars have proved a hit with motorsport enthusiasts has created another year of evocative images.

Rachael Clegg, from Carterknowle, has attracted a cult following in the motorcycle world with her Milestones series of calendars, themed around the annual TT competition on the Isle of Man.

Now she has shifted her focus to Germany’s Nürburgring, with a 2016 calendar called Der Grüne Himmel - which translates in English as ‘The Green Heaven’. Ex-Formula One champion Sir Jackie Stewart described the gruelling track which cuts through forests as ‘The Green Hell’.

Der Grüne Himmel was shot entirely on the Nordschleife, the section of the Nürburgring used for Grand Prix races.

The calendar progresses through the track so that 12 months is equivalent to one 22.8 km lap, taking in some of the world’s most recognisable motorsport scenery.

Rachael researched the history of the ‘Ring for more than two years, interviewing many drivers, including Stewart, Sir Stirling Moss, Tony Dron and World Sportscars master Derek Bell.

Her work has shaped the calendar’s pictures so that each month - through word and image - tells the reader a quirky story about the circuit.

June’s image, for example, shows Rachael being sprayed with a fire extinguisher to reflect the time when Moss’s own fire extinguisher exploded during a 1952 meeting.

December depicts Rachael balancing on two tyres with the numbers ‘6:11.13’ sprayed across the road.

The image is a celebration of Stefan Bellof’s record lap around the Nordschleife, which still stands.

The compositions are accompanied with explanatory text in both English and German.

Rachael, aged 33 and the Sheffield Telegraph’s former music writer, started designing and posing in surreal nude calendars three years ago.

Their popularity led to her being voted one of GQ Magazine’s ‘hottest women’ by its readers in 2014.

Rachael’s father Noel and grandfather Tom were both TT riders, so she spent the majority of her childhood watching the race.

She said knows the tough Isle of Man route ‘like the back of her hand’.

“There are so many parallels between the TT course and the Nordschleife - both are set in beautiful scenery, both test man and machine to their fullest and both are meccas for motorsport,” said Rachael.

“As daughter and granddaughter to TT racers I can fully appreciate the lure of racing at the ‘Ring.”

n Visit www.rachaelclegg.com or email rachclegg@hotmail.com for details of the calendars, which are out now, priced £25.