One of those great days. Having spent my first day driving the R34 GTR in misrable (but incredibly enjoyable) conditions, I was delighted to be able to stomp around Mt. Fuji & Tokyo in the sunshine for a day. Starting the day on the shore of Lake Kawaguchiko, I then headed over to the famous Hakone Skyline – though thanks to Google maps, I managed to make my way to the top via an even better driving road. After a pocari sweat at the toll plaza, it was time to head back up over Hakone Skyline and hit on for Tokyo via Yokohama.
We took in a trabant tour while in Berlin. It was brilliant – really enjoyable. I have a little tradition whereby I try to drive in every country I visit. So far, apart from Austria and the US (I was not of driving age at the time), I have managed to do it! I’ve even managed to drive in the exclusion zone around Chernobyl… but more on that again!
I had the privilege of driving at the 2016 Saint Gouéno Hillclimb Masters. Owing to a few difficulties with the build at the time, I didn’t get an opportunity to test the car with the new setup before hopping on the ferry to France… so I was more than a little nervous in the run up to the event. Afterall, it was a very long trip to make only to find a problem with the car.
As you can see in the video above, all went well! Far better than I had expected to be honest. After a great battle with Peter McKinley in the ledgendary “White Escort” (search YouTube for “The White Escort”) and Steve Fursland in his S12 WRC Impreza – I was just pipped by Steve on the final run on Sunday and finished second saloon and tenth overall.
On a sunny March morning in the West of Ireland, I find myself dreaming of having another run up the hill at Saint Gouéno. Thank you (again) to all who helped me in the run up to and throughout the event. But above all else, huge thanks to Monsieur Henry, Monsieur Lloyd & Mademoiselle Lessard for running a world class event and being wonderful hosts. We have another challenge in 2017 (in the forms of a new arrival), so I can’t attend in 2017, but I hope to be back in 2018.
I totally forgot I had these photos! I couldn’t drive at this event last year, so I decided to take along the camera with one goal for the day – do something different (photographically speaking). I have hundreds of relatively static-looking images from hills and rallys before, so I wanted to see if I could do justice to the sport (Hillclimbing) and it’s beautiful surroundings (UNESCO World Heritage Area, The Burren, Co. Clare) by playing with the camera and composition. Let me know what you think!
Round 4 of the Connaught Competition Engines Irish Hillclimb and Sprint Championship took place on the fearsome Ballyalban hill in Co. Clare last month. Ballyalban is the finest bit of Tarmac in Ireland – I’ve driven all of the Gaps and Passes on this Island, so I do feel that I’m qualified to make that statement. (more…)
My dad and I recently pulled the Avenger out of storage to get it ready for a few HRCA races this year. I went to see my parents yesterday evening and noticed the door of the garage was up – of course the Avenger caught my eye and I couldn’t resist taking a few photos.
When processing, I got to thinking of all the time spent in and around this car. My dad first started racing in it in the early ninties. It was always a competitive car – he upgraded to the current engine in the mid-ninties – a Chrysler BRM 1600cc Twin Cam 16v. An incredible spec considering it is nearly thirty years old. And it’s a very rare engine. Since the early ninties, he has been bringing the family (whoever was available at the time) to Hillclimbs, Sprints and Races all over the country. And I’ve been dragging my friends along to the same events for about as long.
The Blue Avenger, as it is referred to, has a long history here in Ireland – including a very successful hillclimb career. It’s a car that lots of people want to drive, but very few are allowed to.
This is much more than a car – I’d go so far as to say it is more like a family member. It may sound strange thing to say, but this particular car has brought family and friends together for twenty years now. I suppose the fact that it gets to sit on Carpet in the garage says a lot!
Given that the Blue Avenger has had such a big impact on me over the years, I’m hoping to do a Photo Story Board of the car over the next few months. Watch this space.
Noel Conroy and Michael Ward in a MKII Escort (1800 RS). I liked this because of the calm, relaxed look on Michael’s face – despite the fact that he was in the middle of a stage.
1/100 sec, ƒ 9, ISO 125, 46.0 mm, AF – AI Servo
Normally (the only other time I’ve shot Motorsport in manual mode), I’d stick with 1/80 sec – but we were on a straight here and the cars were moving a little too fast to pan comfortably at 1/80 sec. I’d normally focus manually on a spot just in front of me too – but I found that because I was standing on a straight, I was getting upto four shots of each car at varying distances (from the camera), three of which would be out of focus. So I set the Auto Focus to AI Servo and it did a great job!