Category Archives: Motorsport

BTCC Championship 2016

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With Rob Collard in the hunt for the championship I couldn’t not go to the final round of the BTCC this year. It meant an early start getting there before 7am but even by that time the que for South Bank was already out onto the main road and people were queuing at the gates.

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The weather was a bit cold and with wind blowing clouds along pretty fast every time I got the camera set the light changed.

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But at the same time at the right point with the right setting it gives an impressive backdrop like the header shot of Andrew Jordan in his last outing with Motorbase and Jack Goff who seemed to be running on his own most of the weekend.

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Plato seemed to have quite a frustrating weekend not having the pace to make up places having caught the car ahead. Here he is trying to pass Rob Austin in race 2.

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The track limits crack down of a few seasons ago seems to have been relaxed. For Jackson technically his wheels aren’t touching the ground so perhaps it doesn’t count as cutting the course?

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The usual support races were there. Ginetta’s and Ginetta Juniors.

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The Porsche Cup cars were also  there and raced into the early evening sun just before the BTCC final race.

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Then there was the BTCC final for which the skies cleared;
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While there was not so much forceful driving as some years the cars were all tightly packed for the first few laps.

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Not that earlier in the day was less busy.

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Maybe next year Rob…

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Firle 2016

Well the first post in a while is the Firle hill climb revival run by the Bo Peep Drivers Club (http://www.bopeepdriversclub.com/) in aid of the Chailey Heritage Foundation. Being the weekend after Goodwood (update to come when I can find time to review the 1-2k photos) it is a really nice ‘after party’ while trying to get used to a world where most people don’t wear hats.

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There is no timing (part of the consent to close the road) which makes for a really relaxed atmosphere as there is no competition and people can go at their own pace. Even though some can’t quite resist sneaking a peek at the time;

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For some of the older cars I got the impression getting up the hill was only second in challenge to getting back down.

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Being such a narrow and tight road there is no hope of anyone breaking the speed limit, and that is not the point, but it does mean that the drivers can have some fun with the knowledge that the speed is low enough that they will come to no harm.

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Even a 900hp Merlin engine from a Hurricane won’t give a car enough go (note the tyre smoke) but it will prove a challenge to stop.

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There is a lot of family involvement as, provided they are insured, they can drive the car which is unusual for motorsport events.

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O look an Escort, how did that get in there…?

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Some people dressed up…
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…and some cars are so big you can’t even see the occupants!

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I finish with the best pic I have deliberately (most are happenstance and good luck) taken in a while.

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Last Night of Hot Rods at Plough Lane?

Well a couple of weekends ago I went to Wimbledon, possibly for the last time. I have been going there since before I was 10. I took mates there as a fist night out after I passed my driving test. I did the 3hr trip back for Best in Britain when i was at University and occasional other meetings as ‘research’. And it looks like this June the stadium will be pulled down to make way for flats and yet another football stadium. The last competitive motor sport venue inside the M25 – gone.

https://www.change.org/p/boris-johnson-mp-save-wimbledon-stadium-for-the-nation

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It still pulls in a decent crowd considering it is a Sunday night in February so not what anyone would call warm.

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To my regret I have never been able to photograph Wimbledon such that it is recorded the way I see it, this was my best, and most probably last, attempt.

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Look down and it is racing but look up and you can see flats and aircraft approaching Heathrow. It is the strangest experience to know that you are in the heart of South London.

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Racing wasn’t televised in ‘my’ era so here is a video of Polley & Lee racing at Wimbledon, both of whom were there for this last night along with Mick Collard and his assistant Rob (Driving the car above).

Brands Hatch Winter Stages 2016 – Part 2

Yes there is a part 2.
…And bad news out of the 18 pictures I have to choose from for this update 12 of them are Escorts.

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To break up the Escortness here is an Escort of the 90’s. The Nova! Although this one seems to be missing the factory 4″ exhaust.

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And here is what is apparently an Escort… under-steering?

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And a BMW very definitely not. On the drying track these looked quite terrifying as they simply could get not traction. Having seen a Mk3 Fiesta bin it there last year it is not a place you want to go off!

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Whereas the Escorts were sideways but also hooked up enough to get away from the corner.

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I always forget the Talbot’s are rear wheel drive and never understand why these didn’t make it into short oval and the Starlet didn’t make it into rallying.

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With 2 stages to go the light is Starting to go but it’s still hot enough to need the door open before going out even in February.

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Brands Hatch Winter Stages 2016 – Part 1

Today was the MGJ Engineering Brands Hatch Winter Stages rally (website here http://brandshatchstages.co.uk/) which is in the same championship as the South Downs Stages I photographed last year. I am happy to say the pictures from today were much better than then. So this is the first update, I’ve even written part one in the title so there has to be a part 2!

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Starting off with something isn’t an Escort – this is me, and it is rallying, so, there will be lots – this 205 goes around Druids the wrong way.

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And here they come, the Escorts.

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Great to see a Mk1 throwing mud (this is a tarmac rally…) and making lots of noise in the process.

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If you like these make sure to go to the South Downs Rally at Goodwood on the 13th Feb 2016. Details here http://www.southdownsstages.co.uk/

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Interval…

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Fiesta coming out of Druids bend. The great thing about running the wrong way is that gives different views as a photographer.

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And you don’t get much more different than a rallying Ferrari, of which there were three.

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Of course it doesn’t always go to plan and a number of competitors got it a little wrong although fortunately none came to any real harm near me.

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Errr, track limits?

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Tim Mewett span on the rally schoold stage and had a new co-driver from last year. Where he also span right in front of me  photo dsc01143_zps3gmsljeo.jpg Sorry!

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The sure footed Talberts were there as ever as well as some more modern machines.

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Like this Subaru

Escorts!

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BTCC Final 2015 – Brands Hatch

A very late update from last years touring car finale at Brands Hatch. I know Plato said afterwards it was all fair but I still think it was his championship and can’t believe Shedden would feel it to be justifiably his. I thought that watching on the back straight and more so watching the race later at home. Anyway, it was a while ago now so I can’t remember all the details for each of the photos but I hope you enjoy;

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I got in early for the pit walk and Collard kindly signed a picture for me along with some of the other drivers. It’s good to hear that he should be on the grid again his year and hope he can get his form consistent throughout.

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He had a good battle with Matt N**l in the second race and stayed ahead.

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The Clio Cup was supporting again with the usual bash and crash antics.

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Along with the Porsche Cup which actually had a big grid for this meeting but the racing was still a bit strung out. When they did manage to slip stream coming along Pilgrim’s Drop they were hitting the rev limiter by Hawthorns and unable to pass. Considering they had run on Saturday as well I was surprised so many of them had this basic set up issue still. It isn’t like that section of the circuit has really changed much in the last 20 years either.

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But the BTCC, as ever, was anything but strung out on the way into Druids.

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Keeping it in the family Ricky Collard was racing in Formula Ford but unfortunately didn’t manage to win the championship.

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Andy Priauix was again experimenting in ways to jack up a touring car. Another example here of him making contact but not managing to make a pass. From what I have read he isn’t returning in 2016 but will be racing for the Ford Endurance team instead.

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Ginetta were also supporting with juniors and seniors, both good racing as always.

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The paddock was interesting to walk around during the lunch break.

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I will finish with a shot of the 2015 Champion

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…well I think so anyway.

Goodwood Revival 2015

Another year, another revival and another update in only a week! Editing pictures must be more fun than having to buy a kettle…

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This year with a big event remembering of Battle of Britain a few days after the revival there were more war birds than I could count. Appropriately, given their far greater numbers during 1940, there was a Hurricane on display. I actually learnt today that at the time of the Battle of Britain the Hurricane had a higher rate of climb than the Spitfire.

But the Spitfire could do this;

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…and somehow the shape just inspires confidence.

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What is interesting walking around is that the design influences clearly make it through to the racing cars of the 40’s and 50’s.

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I don’t have a good picture from this year showing the riveted construction that mimics the aircraft from 15 years earlier.

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Of course while the prestige cars have better lineage everyone comes to see the saloon cars because of the close and dramatic racing. Here Mike Jordan corners the Lotus Cortina he was sharing with his BTCC champion son, Andrew. It was a shame they hadn’t had the development of the Team Dynamics car as they were loosing out on the straights.

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Here Shedden shows his Scottish heritage getting the car onto 3 wheels though Madgewick in car he was sharing with Crasher Neal.

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One of the oddities of the day I took this rather smoky picture in the morning session and then this picture in the afternoon.

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It was only after I got that I noticed the driver staring straight down the lens. I missed getting a programme this year so I have no idea who you are, but hello!

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A Goodwood Revival update wouldn’t be the same without a Swiftune shot. 2 wheels off on a corner that falls away on the exit – totally committed.

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This year the Galaxies were there again, this one driven by Jochen Mass, but they couldn’t keep up with the Cortina’s.

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The circuit has lots going on in the middle but there as always the feeling that I might be missing something when you can hear the cars on track!

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As in previous years the first race is on the Friday night. Many people leave before it starts which is a great shame. It is great to watch the cars pound into the dark.

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Firle Hill Climb Revival 2015

First post in ages and it’s of a first time event. Well first time since 1964. I’ve called it a hill climb because they have, in reality it is a regularity trial up this hill. 3 passes and the one with the closest matched times wins. It wasn’t about winning as you will see from the number of smiles, it was mostly about fun, and raising money for the Chailey Heritage Foundation.

From the bottom in the trees just off the A27.
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The course climbs up the hill.
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Untill it comes out above the tree line.
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Where you can look at this view between cars.
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Because it is not a flat out event there was the chance for friends and family to ride up in the cars. Some with looks of terror and others clearly looking forward to it.

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Ever since reading this artical when I actually looked at the car for a bit I’ve developed a soft spot for the Dino.

But in case anyone thinks I’m crossing sides here is a ford;
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Other than the fact the black has a carbon look to it this is exactly how I’d have ‘my’ Escort. 13″ wheels, bubble arches and basic. The only difference is this one is powered by Swindon.

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Now I have no idea which cars were ‘real’ and which were copies but I would say that all the cars were really nice and there were no ‘kit cars’. The above looked perfect sat in the sun and I would have paid the genuine millions for it.

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Some people enjoyed showing their cars off while going up the hill as can be seen here where the passenger is waving. Incidentally, where there are passengers they often wave to me when I’m taking pictures. I want to wave back but somehow having the camera between me and them slows the brain to the point that they have gone before I can; so consider this a wave back!

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And some were really trying just because they could.

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I have to agree with this guy that a helmet is best. Even though for a photographer being able to see peoples’ faces is great I’d rather they were protected if they are going to make use of the fact there is no chance of someone coming the other way.

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Although I don’t think I’ve ever seen a passenger as relaxed as this one! I have several photos and she just seems totally at ease while the driver forces the car through the turn (look at the angle of the front wheel).

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It wasn’t all 50’s & 60’s either. This car is from 190-something and wasn’t exactly slow! Around 2.5L 4 Cylinder with over-square bore.

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<img src="http://i853.photobucket.com/albums/ab99/Garagesta_Photographic/Firle%20Hill%20Climb%20Revival%202015/dsc05665_zpslahfvwie.jpg"

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Motorsport at the Palace 2014

Ahead of the 2015 Motorsport at the Palace I went back to look at my pictures from last year and realised I never put them up. Here is a small selection that might encorage you into going this weekend.

http://www.motorsportatthepalace.co.uk/

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There is a god mix of modern and classic cars although my camera last year seemed only to find the classics.

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With some of the classes the cars spend longer on the start line than they do on the course. You can see a lot of the drivers getting more tense the closer they get to the start.

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Before charging up the hill.

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With such a short amount of time on track for each run there is plenty of time to catch up before going out another run.

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2014 celebrated this race which has been watched many times even 40 plus years after the track last held a race.

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Regis Sprint at Goodwood

Yes, back at Goodwood again! For a once mothballed circuit with heavy noise restrictions it gets used a fair bit.  photo dsc03167_zpsn8mhhcpg.jpg One of two Scimiters I saw during the day, both were reasonably quick. As yet I haven’t found an entry list so the pictures are what they are…  photo dsc03181_zpster6ct8h.jpg This was just a point and shoot as I was walking. The two eye hole balaclava instantly makes me think of Mansell.  photo dsc03180_zps3q4okiet.jpg Caterham ques up. You can clearly see the diver in these, such a change from more modern cars where you can’t see a driver let alone what they are doing! photo dsc03105_zpsv6u10quj.jpg And there is little else that looks so purposeful. And now the Defender is going out of production the longest serving basic design still in production?