At time of writing it's gone one in the morning and my eyes are drooping after a long and enjoyable weekend of testing at Santa Pod Raceway prior to Round 1 of the FIA and FIM European Championships. We are well into the season here in the UK having commenced in mid-April with Big Bang, a family-oriented VW event which as well as Volkswagen Drag Racing Club Championships hosted a round of the UK National Drag Racing Championships for certain classes. The Festival of Power, a full UK Championship round for cars and bikes including MSA Pro Modified, followed a week later and then we headed for Shakespeare County Raceway for the Springspeed Nationals. As ever the Eurodragster.com staff have been reporting from the track live in association with Alamo Rent-A-Car, with Webster Race Engineering / Nimbus Motorsport webcast on servers provided by Doyousee.me.
The live coverage machine
is well-oiled by now but we had to change roles at the Springspeed
Nationals. We were down two photographers as Julian could not attend
and Kirstie, although present at Shakespeare County Raceway, was
crewing with her partner Tom who races in Super Pro ET. This left one
photographer, i.e. me. "But Tog, you write the live race reports don't
you?", attentive Eurodragster.com readers are asking. Correct! Luckily
Simon is also able to turn his hand to live reports so he volunteered
to write the updates which meant that I could photograph. This was
particularly generous of Simon since, as regular readers will also
know, he spent a number of days trackside at the March Meet in
Bakersfield where he not only did a bang-up job but he also got a taste
for blood in regard to trackside photography. But Simon offered to
write the reports at SCR and I said "Yes" very quickly before he could
change his mind.
One photographer is not enough for a three-day
event so we recruited previous Contributing Photographer Grace Roaf. As
usual Grace did a great job even when, thanks to the good offices of
the APIRA race officials, she accompanied me on her first ever trip to
the top end for parachute photography.
photo: Grace Roaf caught this parachute shot of Eurodragster.com sponsor Pete Walters
Shakespeare County Raceway you can't see the cars and bikes coming
until they clear the finish line so the only real clue to what's coming
is the sound, and then when the vehicles emerge from behind the
guardrails you have moments to spot and then catch the vehicle with the
chute since they are, obviously, moving pretty damn quick and are past
you in seconds. This is all done squinting through a camera viewfinder.
After each pair came past I would hear off to my left the quiet
clicking of camera buttons and then, quite often, a sigh from Grace.
What she was sighing about I don't know since she got more parachute
pictures than I did.