ItÕs that time of year again and as this is my first full year of running this site I thought I would create a brief write up. The notable absence below is the many trips I have made to Romans International to admire their stock. As they are only a few miles from me and have so many exotics itÕs easy to lose count of their cars. Excluding show room cars I estimate I have been in over £1.5 million worth of cars this year, although not all of them were on the move at the time.
The windiest day on record for a number of years and instead of being at work, or sorting out the fence at home that has blow down, I was being exposed to the elements at Brands Hatch. This was for a promo shoot for the Candy Run and although the actual event never materialised the girls acted like pros throughout. Advertising hoardings and debris was flying all over the place narrowly missing the Lamborghini Murcielago which meant most of the action had to move inside the garages, much to the disappoint of the track staff who wanted to keep an eye on the girls.
A few months later and I was now the proud owner of a digital SLR. It proved its worth on the 1st (and penultimate) Candy Tunnel Run where I had a memorable ride in a Corvette Z06; 7 litres, over 500 BHP and a top speed just short of 200 mph. Not bad for my first super-car ride and I also got to ride in a 50th Anniversary edition Corvette which only (!) had 5.7 litres and 350 BHP. April was also the start of the two big rallies - Carbon Black and Gumball 3000. As Carbon Black was not starting in the UK I didnÕt think I would be able to see any of the cars but a tip-off from one of the crew saw me heading over to Hudsons of London on a Sunday morning to be greeted by 3 huge lorries awaiting their precious cargo. Sure enough, the cars started to arrive and get loaded up for their European adventure. Whilst waiting I had a nose around the dealership and there was a couple of Pagini Zondas and a Koensigg CCR not to mention the usual FerrariÕs and Porsches. I visited the dealership again in the summer to photograph the F50 that took part in the rally. After a few phone calls I was now on the list for the Gumball 3000 press pass. It is not easy to describe the atmosphere in the ŌGumball GarageÕ as the cars and drivers arrive. There is an overwhelming feeling of anticipation and all the drivers and crew I met were friendly and only too willing to show off their toys. It was also nice to be the other side of the barrier for a change.
With the cancellation of the Gumball I went over to Brooklands for their spring Auto-Italia day. There was a fine selection of cars around, my wife got to sit in a 550 and my daughter avoided getting run over and enjoyed watching the cars sprint up the hill. Also saw my first Bugatti EB110 and black Enzo. Afterwards we went over to Mercedes Benz world where I got some great shots of cars going round their skid pan.
My wife spent most of June in hospital having a 15cm cyst removed from her kidney, this meant I was unable to attend a number of events I had hoped to go to. Still, thereÕs always next year.
Thankfully my wife was (just) out of hospital in time for me to go to the start of the CannonballRun Europe. The cars carried no stickers in the hope of evading the Germans and weather that day can best be described as mixed. A few weeks later I visited Castle Coombe for the first time thanks to the guys (and girls) at Carbon Black. Not wanting to show myself up in front of such an illustrious crowd, and never having driven on a track before, I declined to take one of the cars out as it was very wet on the track. I did go up in the helicopter and also did a lap in the back of the support Cayenne with Pete at the wheel. The Paul Swift display team put on a good show and really bought out the competitive streak in some of the drivers.
August saw me heading to another circuit for the first time. The circuit was Silverstone and the tickets were courtesy of the guys over at Pistonheads. Again I had my family with me and my daughter is now a Lamborghini fan having seen some them all parked up together. I didnÕt stay for the whole race as my lovely ladies were getting bored and I also had to drive to Bristol for a week long course after dropping them back home, a round trip of almost 400 miles.
On the subject of Pistonheads, I thought it was about time I attended one of their meets and the one planned for Virginia Water sounded ideal, if the weather held out. Luckily the sun was shining bright all the precious metal that turned out, from tbopsÕ Enzo all the way down to the more humble of cars. September also meant it was time for the Cannonball 8000 to kick off from Earls Court. Although it is very tricky to get some good shots when they are all packed together in the car park I tried my best and also bagged a prime spot on the main road as they were leaving. If you heard that there was going to be over 30 Lamborghinis in a single location, wouldnÕt you want to be there? Naturally I headed off up the M40 to catch sight of the LCUK Autumn Extravaganza. After getting over the initial wow factor of all these cars in the same place, and more arriving throughout the morning, I started snapping away and talking to some of the owners. At this point I had never had a ride in a Lambo and as the majority of them are 2-seaters I wasnÕt holding out much hope of riding in one that day as everyone had brought along their significant other for the drive over to the Auto Italia show a few miles down the road. However after asking the right questions to the right people I had arranged for my mate to go in the back of PhilÕs Esplada whilst I got a ride in the very same Murcielago LP640 featured in EVO. What a car to have my first Lambo ride in, thanks Andy, it still makes me smile.
Having missed the Supercar Sunday and all other breakfast clubs at Goodwood I was determined to get there for the final one of the year. With the theme taken from the film Gone in 60 seconds I was hoping to get some good shots. Alas there were not as many star cars as I had hoped for but I still enjoyed it and there was a beautiful orange Diablo that kept drawing my attention back to it. Wandering back to the car and there was a yellow Diablo all by itself. It would have been criminal not to take some shots of that too wouldnÕt it? A well placed post on the forums got me in touch with the owner of a silver Gallardo that I often see on the way back from work. I duly arranged to pop by his house on the way home from work one day and not only did I get to photograph the stunning G but he also had another toy in his garage, namely a Porsche 911 GT3 RS. :D
My final automotive fix of the year came courtesy of the MPH show at Earls Court. Thanks to the lovely people at Gumball 3000 I had a press pass for the opening gala night. Being the opening night it was not a crowded as normal and so I could get some decent shots of the cars without the crowd, at least for the most part. I also had a prime spot for the live theatre show which was very enjoyable.
Thank you for taking to time to read this and I hope to do more of the same in 2008 and possibly photograph a Mclaren F1 and the Lamborghini Reventon.