31 Jan 2011


Seen in the window of a fish and chip shop in of all places Auckland . Maybe Tokyo or Shanghai -but surely not Auckland . And what a waste of champagne .

30 Jan 2011


Seeing the movie The Social Network with its scenes of the Henley Regatta in the UK reminded of a surreal personal experience way back in 1998 . I was in the UK driving back to Heathrow Airport from Birmingham in the Midlands late morning. My flight back to Australia departed early evening and I had time to kill so I drove cross country and I came to Henley on Thames in Oxfordshire.It was Regatta week and the town was buzzing .I found a car park , picked up my Leica and a couple of lenses and headed down to the river bank . It was as if I had stepped back in time . There were all these adult people dressed as if they were in a scene in a Merchant Ivory film - grown men in schoolboy caps and car boot picnics with Pimms and Moet . Extraordinary. 

28 Jan 2011


 Auckland ,New Zealand shopping streets are not normally where one would expect to see unusual cars but very recently within the space of a few minutes I saw both this very rare BMW Z1 and the equally rare Z8 both casually parked on the street .
I am not sure about the wheels/tyres on the Z8 -the taste police probably need to have word with the owner .
For a population of only just over 4 million spread over two geographically challenging islands NZ does have a very active car, motorcycling and motorsport culture .They have a surprising number of racing circuits including a number of street circuits and they are still building tracks with the very impressive Hampton Downs having been recently completed outside Hamilton on the North Island.

26 Jan 2011


Well it's Australia Day ,January 26th , Australia's national day, and it's the hottest Australia Day for 30 years in Sydney.Here on the coast of NSW at Terrigal it is a very steamy 33°C (91.4°F)and with very high humidity and all we can do is go in the pool or hide indoors  although as we don't have aircon it is only marginally cooler.Inland it is much hotter --upto 42/43° --which is evil .
I spoke to friend Keith yesterday evening. He is a farmer in central western NSW and he had spent the day in the paddocks separating 130 lambs from their mothers to take them to market . He said it was tough , hot work . I am sure that is a gross understatement .
The planned lunchtime barbecue has been deferred until this evening when hopefully it will cool down marginally as the cook would get sunstroke out there at the moment .
The beach is absolutely packed although the sand is too hot to walk on . Early this morning friend Brett and I did a bit of hopefully succesful rectification work on his early 911 but it was just too hot to go for a drive .

23 Jan 2011


Three images from deep in  the archives . A long forgotten racing team - Unipart Racing  with March 783' s- competing in the British and European Formula 3 Championships in 1976 through to 78 . In the first year Tony Dron was the driver and in the second and third years the team was managed by DPR Racing and the drivers were Tiff Needel and Ian Taylor.The team was always beautifully presented and the chassis was competitive and the driver line up was strong but the achilles heel was the Triumph Dolomite Sprint based engine in a field where the Novamotor prepared Toyota motor was de rigeur.
Unipart was a division of British Leyland (BL) at the time so the choice of the BL manufactured Triumph motor was a given but its lack of power and above all else reliability meant that success eluded the team .These images are from Thruxton , Silverstone and if my memory serves me right, Dijon .

The 60's ,70's and into the 80's was a golden era for single seater formulae in Britain and across Europe with many championships, big fields, lots of talented ,emerging drivers and a variety of power units and chassis and some very spirited and close racing on wonderful circuits , including many street circuits - most of which we have now lost .There were even non world championship formula 1 races at Oulton Park , Silverstone and Brands Hatch . Unthinkable in today's formula one environment.
I love these paddock and grid images --they convey a little  of those golden days .


                                    Devenport ,N Island, New Zealand

18 Jan 2011


I know many regard Belgium as being dull and unremarkable but I beg to differ .I like Belgium.I like Bruges ,Ghent and Brussels and the Ardennes  I like the food in Brussels , Belgium chocolate and I love the frites with mayonnaise and I love Spa-one of the world's great motor racing circuits .
This photo was taken at La Source hairpin,Spa,just after the start of the Belgian round of the World Sportscar Championship (WSC) in September 1989. It shows the TWR Jaguar XJ11 of Lammers/Tambay just leading the eventual winner the Sauber C9 of Acheson/Baldi followed by the eventual second placed Joest Porsche 962 of Jelinski/Wollek.
I took the photo with a 28mm lens on my Leica . It's not often that I used a wide angle lens to take action shots but rarely was I this close to the cars .
I remember this day for some great racing and rain and some fantastic frites which were sold from little stalls around the circuit. Wonderful and I am sure so unhealthy but what the hell -you don't go to Spa every week .
The WSC gradually fell apart after 1989 and the wonderful Group C sportscars were soon no more .The world financial slowdown dried up the sponsorship money and motorsport politics did not want the sportscars to in anyway detract from the main game -formula 1. Which is a real pity as in its heyday the WSC and the Group C cars were a wonderful spectacle with a big spectator following on some great historic circuits .
Spa still hosts some great racing including historic racing and surprisingly it still hosts the Belgian F1 Grand Prix although I am sure that it will soon be replaced by a GP on some extraordinarily boring track in some faraway fiefdom.


Harley Davidson rally ,Atlanta,Georgia,USA


                                            Aircooled at the rear .Classic 911 fans ? No-definitely a big V twin aircooled couple.

12 Jan 2011

McLAREN-1967 AND 1981

The first image below was taken at the 1967 Guards Trophy sports car race at Brands Hatch and shows Bruce McLaren in earnest discussion with Dan Gurney standing over the latest McLaren. Although the photo is poor quality - it was taken on an Olympus Pen half frame camera and the film was processed by me in less than ideal conditions- it is one of my favourites  .The McLaren is standing in literally- the paddock . No sponsorship on the car because sponsorship was not allowed ,no fancy corporate gear, and no minders and spin doctors  No fancy transporter .Just simple kit and racers getting on with racing .
The second image was taken at the1981 Italian Grand Prix at Monza and shows the McLaren team working on their cars during practice .
A lot had changed in the 14 years . Bruce McLaren had been killed in a testing accident at Goodwood in 1970 but the team he had founded had gone from strength to strength and Emerson Fittapaldi had won the Formula I Driver's Championship in 1974 in a McLaren .
By1981 big business had seriously moved into motor sport and sponsorship had arrived so McLaren had cigarette company and other sponsorship,corporate gear and very professional presentation .Nonetheless it was still a relatively innocent time. No PR hacks ,no minders and although they had impressive transporters they did not have the fleet of massive trucks and motohomes and mobile communications facilities etc,etc which are an integral part of the gear for any Formula 1 team today. I could still get a pit pass and I could talk to the drivers on pitlane and take close ups of the cars .
Rapidly this era passed as Bernie and his money men moved in and formula one became a very decadent entertainment -- a sort of motorised circus .
Fortunately my photography had also become more sophisticated over the 14 years between these two images being taken.The second image was taken on a fullframe Olympus OM2 on Kodachrome .

10 Jan 2011


A photo of David Beckham's Porsche Turbo Convertible in matte black turned my stomach .Why anyone would want a convertible Turbo anyway is a mystery to me but the fashion of painting supercars in what looks like primer leaves me totally cold . The fact that some manufacturers are charging over $50000 for this "special " paint is ridiculous .
However this matte black classic 300SL seen at last year's Le Mans Classic takes the prize .However as Patrick in his comment says --
" paint jobs are just a body-shop stop away so no permanent harm done" .And it will be an easy paint job as the primer is already there .

9 Jan 2011


                Historic race meeting ,Eastern Creek Raceway , NSW , Australia

6 Jan 2011


It took an early morning drive down to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in my brother-in-law's Morgan( both pictured below) on a beautiful summer's day for me to start to to understand the appeal of Morgans .Upto then I thought that they were automotive throwbacks- slow -- heavy,vague steering -- harsh suspension -- but the wind blowing through my hair--I don't have a cloth cap- and the sight of the long, louvred bonnet in front of me as we swept down the back roads of Sussex brought me closer to Morgan enlightenment .Pulling up to an English country pub on a warm ,summer evening seems to be the natural habitat of a Morgan .
Don't get me wrong ---given the choice an early Porsche 911 or a Morgan for the drive to Goodwood or even the local pub I'd choose the Porsche every time but at least I am closer to understanding why some people like Morgans .

5 Jan 2011


Pedro Rodriguez, BRM V12, British Grand Prix , Brands Hatch, July 1968 .He retired on the 51st lap. Taken with a standard 50mm lens from the inside of what is now called Surtees Bend .We were a small group of hardcore formula one enthusiasts who used to arrive very early at Brands and stake out our claim beside the picket fence on the inside of this bend .There was no catch fence and wide exclusion zone to separate us from the action and we could actually see the drivers' faces and tell the cars apart . Oh ,happy days .
As Jesse Alexander says in his latest photobook -Inside the Archives ( another great book from David Bull Publishing  see )" .....As the years have swept past I've come to appreciate how lucky I was to have been there to capture many of these moments on film. "
My sentiments exactly although now of course I wish that I had been able to afford more film back then .

2 Jan 2011


 Looking down is always a great viewpoint for photographing motor racing . These three images were taken from one of my favourite viewing points -- above the pits at Le Mans . In about 2000 the pit complex was totally rebuilt  .When these images were taken there were hospitality boxes above the pits and a balcony immediately above them which I could talk/sneak my way onto as security took a break and then I pushed my way to the front and held my camera over the balcony wall .
The first shows --I think-a TWR Jaguar leading a works Porsche down the pit straight as dusk falls during the 1988 race .Dusk is the most spectacular time at Le Mans as the headlights come on and the fairground and campsite barbecues light up .
The second image taken during the 1985 race shows a driver change,fuel and tyre stop for the winning Porsche 962C and the third shows a TWR Jaguar arriving at its pit during the 1989 race .