2019 through the lens…

Another year, another review post. Every year I write one of these seems so insanely different to the previous. Each year sees a good dose of variety and certainly keeps me enjoying what I do. I get to share a little bit of what the year puts in front of me via the Facebook page, as predominantly all my work heads for print media.

Now that we are basically done with another year, it is that time when I enjoy delving into my hard drive, and remembering the cool cars that have been put in front of my lens throughout the year. I can’t include everything or we would be here until next year, but grabbing a few memorable moments is what I enjoy doing, and ranking things is impossible so here we go in no particular order.

Prodrive

I got to tick off a childhood dream of mine this year. Ever since I was a kid I have always dreamed of getting a look behind the curtain at Prodrive. Their posters have been plastered across my bedroom walls, I built models, and have been lucky to see a raft of their cars on the stages too.

Although the SWRT days are over in terms of WRC campaigns, Prodrive is still flat out and now concentrates on LeMans cars. Luckily when I emailed to see if I could drop by for a look they were keen as beans and very welcoming.

As much as the LM GTE Pro is insanely pretty, what I really came for was a bit of this kind of thing…

N1WRC – the 1996 Rally Catalunya winning car of Colin McRae & Derek Ringer. Gold Speedline wheels, the classic ‘555’ markings, and that unforgettable blue before it went mica. The mouth open, pinch me moment of the tour without a doubt, rallying history right there.

The Hiroshima twins

This shoot was a wee bit special as these two were both sold from Armagh Mazda, Christchurch on Wednesday, 5th of September 1973. The day of this shoot would mark 46 years since the two cars were last together, and for Clint and Tony the current owners – it was the first time to meet in person despite knowing of each other for a while.

Unmolested, and very much like they left the showroom. Seeing a single RX3 in this kind of condition is special enough, but two and with matching plates. Well that is just too damn cool!

This is one time I can promise there is no photoshop trickery, everything you see is indeed real! Also to make it just a wee bit cooler, we met in Mangaweka’s old main street for the shoot, Clint drove his one from Hamilton and Tony drove his from Wellington. No trailers here people!

New Zealand Grand Prix

Each year my local circuit hosts the NZ Grand Prix featuring the Toyota Racing Series. A cluster of young talent flies down to New Zealand on their private jets and contests a series, culminating in the final race – the NZ Grand Prix. Outside F1, only 2 races are legitimately allowed to hold ‘Grand Prix’ status, Macau, and New Zealand. I was called up by Manfeild Circuit Chris Amon to capture the atmosphere of the event and enjoyed candidly shooting for the weekend.

I wasn’t required to cover the Grand Prix and on-track side of things, a weird way of shooting for a car guy but refreshing at the same time too!

The young drivers of today are the stars of tomorrow, perhaps in a number of years I will look back at these photos and recognise some of them as F1 stars…who knows.

Print media

The magazines are the reason I am so active with the camera. It is a blast shooting cars I normally wouldn’t cross paths with, and also meeting new people along the way. Everything from full restomods, show cars, to purpose-built skid cars have been sent my way and I have loved every minute of it.

The resident Spitfire

Many of you will know how much of a WW2 fanatic I am, and coincidentally I am super lucky to be close to a resident (and very active) Spitfire only fifteen minutes from where I live. Every time the aircraft goes up it gets announced on social media and a few enthusiasts head out to get a close up look at this warbird.

Sean Perrett who flies PV-270 is very gracious and makes sure to buzz right over top at full throttle for us gathered at the fence on the side of the runway. Photos are all just for fun, but the real drawcard is getting to hear a Merlin at full chat. There is simply no better engine noise anywhere on earth. Period.

Formula 5000

I have long admired classic motorsport, and this class ticks all the boxes. From an era when race cars were sexy, ran big wings and slicks and sounded as angry as they look. No carbon fart boxes with a computer, just raw noise, power and analog driving – the good old days.

Curvy bodywork, exposed mechanicals, and true history rests with many of these cars. A bit of on track coverage was the primary objective, although while I had the chance to pose a few up I snatched it. Whether sitting still or thundering down the back straight these cars just look so good.

RAUH Welt-Begriff

No post of mine would be complete without something RWB related right? Exactly! Notably the highlight will be the inclusion of the third RWB to the NZ fleet – Asher. Nan just couldn’t stop at one, so he went ahead and built a beautiful 964 backdate to keep Heki company.

Of course the man himself flew out from Japan to complete the transformation, a fleeting visit of merely 2 days but it was great to catch up with Nakai-san and everyone who attended the build.

It is impressive to see how busy and dedicated to his work Nakai-san is still, and what is more insane is how much quicker he completes a car compared to even 4 years ago!

Aside from the build, RWB has played an important part in my life this year more than ever before. I was lucky to get married to my lovely wife in March and Waikato & Hekigyoku were on wedding car duty. According to most I didn’t have much of a choice other than the two Porsches, but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Also if you need wedding photos done then make sure to hit up David Le! Car guy, all round good sort and an epic photographer!

Reuben (is &$*# all) Bemrose and James Blance

Back in January I headed to Wellyvegas as I heard that the Queen of Wellington was getting his Impreza out of the shed for the first time. This was a perfect chance for the public to check it out and enjoy some coffee, sun and cars. Also a nice added bonus was catching up with James Blance and his stunning AE sporting some seriously epic fab work and a stunning set of Work Equip 40s.

I’m seriously excited to see these two beauties finished up, and can’t wait to get the chance to capture them on camera.

That snail though!

WRC Wales

It has been a long break between drinks from the WRC cup for me and I have had some serious cravings going on. After 3 days on my honeymoon I veered off from London and headed to Wales to check out the latest spec WRC machines. (Epic shoutout to my amazing wife for letting me do WRC on my honeymoon).

The latest cars didn’t disappoint either, even the Toyota Yaris. The only time you ever encounter them is when you are stuck behind them on the road doing 30 under the speed limit, utterly punishing cars. However I have to be honest, the WRC Yaris blew my mind. Wings on wings, and seriously quick!

As a photographer this was about as much fun as it gets. The drivers are approachable, and the atmosphere surrounding a rally event is awesome. Photo opportunities are everywhere you look, and there is nothing better than WRC cars on the street!

Tim Johnson’s BADWAG

Take one 323 wagon, 15×11″ steelies, and a 477kW 13B turbo designed for one thing and one thing only – to destroy tyres.

I haven’t shot too many skid cars but the instant i spotted the 13B and the patina on the rear had me hooked. Anything that catches fire almost everytime it hits the skid pad is a bit of me. While she looks thrashed on the outside (and it certainly is), when you go indoors it is a different look.

Melted bumpers, and even the liquified rear badges are sliding down the bootlid…so much character, and anger.

Keep photography fun

The beauty about living four minutes from a race track is that I find myself down there way more than I really should be. When the right engine note catches my attention from home, I grab the camera and head on down and we all know how I am a sucker for a rolling shot opportunity.

It isn’t often that you come across a genuine Joey Logano Nascar so with Jeff, Malcolm, and Shaun being such good sorts I get the thumbs up to snap rolling shots when the opportunity arises. Thanks guys, I am sure there will be more things showing up in 2020 that need rolling shots too!

The people

As much as it wasn’t something that was captured most of the time, it was a blast meeting a whole load of builders, drivers, and fellow car enthusiasts. The cars are awesome and I love photographing them, but without the people and their yarns there would simply be none of this. Some of you I have known online for ages, and met for the first time this year, and others who are long time friends. This is a huge thanks to all of you as well as everyone who likes, comments, and shares my work around! Unfortunately I need to remember to snap more photos of the people side of things, but I did remember to capture a few in Wales this year. Meeting your heroes isn’t bad in the rally world as everyone is such a good sort!

Thanks 2019, I look forward to more yarns, cars, coffee and selfies in 2020!

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