So whilst I've been busy uploading thousands of images I did however get out of the house occasionally. Back in January it was the customary visit to the HRCR Open Day at Gaydon with plenty of handshaking. The day really encapsulates what is great in the world of Historic/Classic car competition. It's so good to be able to meet and chat with organisers and competitors alike, in a relaxed, non event, environment.
The next week it was up to London, for a Photographic Trade Show, and time to hold onto ones wallet. Far too much tempting photographic hardware on offer! But a good chance to meet suppliers, and see what's new.
At the beginning of February I visited Goodwood Motor Racing circuit for the South Downs Stages, not so good day weather wise, wet and windy, but a chance to try my GoPro camera out. This 'moving image' lark is a completely new ball game, not sure if I'm ever going to get the hang of film editing, perhaps I'll just use it on the stills setting! It was nice to catch up with old friends, officials and competitors, not least a brief chat with event Official Photographer Andy Manston of M&H Photography.
Then at the end of the month the first 'adventure' of 2014 - The CRA Winter Challenge.
59-RR14_4079The sight and sound of a MG Metro 6R4 - "the best wet dream ever!"
The Group B cars didn't disappoint, with star drivers like Russell Brookes, Jimmy McRae,
Dia Llewellyn and Mark Higgins throwing the cars around the Live Stage it certainly brought back memories. Or as a new friend said, 'the best wet dream ever' (as a Metro 6R4, celebrating it's 30th birthday, went passed sideways!).
And it was nice to see Tony Mason back out commentating. My favourite 'show' was Dai Llewellyn pointing the ex Swedish Rally Colin McRae Subaru Legacy every way except straight ahead, it was a wonder to behold, taking to the grass a lot and making two 90s into a wide arcing 180 was just pure magic. 52-RR14_4264Dai Llewlyn throwing the Legacy around the Live Stage
I've not photographed a whole Winter Challenge before, only the start a couple of times, funnily enough once at an early Race Retro, but never across to France and into the mountains. Seasoned navigators kept spouting the names of famous Cols, and Monte Carlo stage names, but I'm afraid I've lead a sheltered life when it comes to having been there in the Winter. Only a few Classic Marathons have taken me into the Alps but of course in the warmer times of the year. In fact the only time I can remember photographing in a truly snowy environment was back in the 1980s when I had the chance to visit it the Swedish Rally, and 'that hat' has been with me ever since!
So it was great to be offered a ride on the event in the Media car, with Seren Whyte driving and new Media man Kev Haworth on the maps. We managed to satisfy each other's job requirements quite well, for me getting photos of every car, and for Kev and Seren, reporting, Tweeting and Facebooking. For the last two days of the events I 'jumped ship' and travelled with the film crew, where we went to some great locations, helped considerably by the hard work of Roberta Rocatti, (of Blue Passion), who had put Google to good effect.
The highlight was managing to get some shots in the snow, but perhaps the blizzard at the top of the Col de Rousset was a bit 'over the top'! But a first time for everything, and I did manage to get the shots.
28-WC14_7166Col de Rousset - in a blizzard!
The finish on the Col de Turini I had been looking forward to, and, as usually happens, it was initially a bit disappointing. I have only seen the 'Turini' in photos, and on film, and with only recently cleared snow banks everywhere it distorted the view of the place. But after walking up and down the road in the middle you could sense the atmosphere of a Monte Carlo Rally stage coming through. You could just imagine the 90 right into 90 left in the dark, with thousands of spectators, the sights and noise must be incredible.
But back to the finish of the event, a real sting in the tail, as the finish was also the finish of the last regularity, which had four timing points on the climb up. It was great to see everyone finish, and congratulations to the two Jans, 'no second this time'. 28-WC14_7812The two Jans -no second this time'
The Awards were presented in the Cafe De Paris, which is in Casino Square. It was a bit surreal crossing the red and white painted kerbstones to get to it, stopping to imagine a formula one car racing past. And a lovely evening it was, a very memorable night, more so for some, I understand that the Vodka Martinis in the Hotel Hermitage are particularly good in the early hours! All I can say is the Crystal Bar there was very pleasant and all the more enjoyable with some convivial company.
And of course the following morning, before we left you have to do it. Yes try and set 'pole' on the Grand Prix circuit, we nearly managed it, if it wasn't for the other cars we would have been close! I suppose the memory I will take away from Monaco is, lots of high rise buildings, and a ridiculously small race track. Memories of the Winter Challenge, well the Challenge part! :-
And for an 'inside' story, checkout Elise Whytes blog on the event, where she navigated HERO MD Patrick Burke to 10th overall.
After my adventure, it was off to another Photographic Show, this time at the NEC, and a cracker it was. The old 'Focus on Imaging' show has been replaced by the appropriately named Photography Show! Lots of stuff to see, all the major camera manufacturers were there, and lots of tempting expensive camera gear, just what you'd expect really! It was a very worthwhile trip, as my new website supplier was there and was running several very interesting seminars. Time will tell if I learned anything!
That almost brings me up to date, more soon.
Keywords: Blue Passion, GoPro, HRCR, Metro 6R4, Monaco, NEC, Photography Show, Race Retro, Winter Challenge
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