30 Mar 2019

The worst car I have ever driven.

Over the years I have been fortunate to drive hundreds, maybe thousands of different cars, and SUVs. Most have been good. Some have been superb and a few have been truly awful. The two most awful were both GM products and both were rental cars in the US. One was a Chevrolet Impala in 2011 but the absolute worst was a Oldsmobile Cutlass which I rented on a business trip to the USA in 1984. I drove it from LA to San Francisco up the coast road in a day so I was trying to keep up a good pace . I chose the wrong car. Not that I had much choice back then. The coast road is wonderful. Very scenic but very winding particularly the section past Big Sur. The Cutlass handled like a barge. I seem to recollect it was the front wheel drive model with a big lump of a motor upfront. It gave a new meaning to the term understeer-it just went straight on at corners if you pushed hard and I was pushing hard most of the way. The problem was exacerbated by the very light power steering and the totally unsupportive seats. It was the drive from hell. I now realise that I should have driven the inland road LA to SF which really is straight. Or better still I should have taken a plane.
The photo above shows the appalling Cutlass on the road north. I was probably taking a break to calm my nerves.
I'd like to hope that I will not drive a car worse than the Cutlass but another surprise could be waiting for me in a rental car lot-probably in the US-in the future.

27 Mar 2019

Last of the Festival of Speed photos.

The last of my photos from the recent Barry Sheene Festival of Speed at Sydney MotorSport Park.
These motorcycle events are so much easier for photography than car events. Although this year the weather was far from ideal, and particularly the quality of the light, I came away with what I consider a good set of photos and the Team Africa Norton and rider and the rider in the very worn leathers-featured n the previous post- have been selected as Master shots by the Leica Fotographie International Gallery.

22 Mar 2019

More Festival of Speed-2

Another batch of photos from last weekend's Barry Sheene Festival of Speed headed by a photograph of a rather grumpy rider in what must be one of the most well worn and patinated set of racing leathers on the planet. He was in fact quite friendly but he certainly does not look it in this photo.

17 Mar 2019

More Festival of Speed

She is obviously having a better day than him.

Moto Guzzi at rest

Vintage racer

Classic Norton

A Matchless combination

More photos from last weekend's Barry Sheene Festival of Speed at Sydney Motorsport Park. I always find the historic motorcycle racing scene so much easier to photograph than historic cars and characters are so much more interesting.

16 Mar 2019

Barry Sheene Festival of Speed 2019

I drove down to Sydney MotorSport Park-formerly Eastern Creek Raceway- this morning to go to the Barry Sheene Festival of Speed Historic motorcycle racing meeting. The forecast was for showers but on the motorway going south the rain was torrential and I considered turning round and giving it a miss. I am glad I persisted as although the rain was on and off in the morning it did clear by lunchtime. It is somewhat ironic that after weeks and weeks without rain on the weekend of a motorcycle race meeting it rains.

This meeting is always good although this year's was less ambitious than previous years with no real big name veteran overseas star riders. The entry however was as big if not bigger than ever. The pits and paddock were packed with bikes but the spectators were missing-probably due to the rain. Maybe if the rain clears they will come out on Sunday which is always the bigger day anyway.

There are a few good things about these historic motorcycle race meetings and the first is that the riders and their teams are so friendly. There are no egos on display-well not that I saw-unlike many car race meetings including sadly historic car racing. There are no giant transporters sighwritten with the drivers or team names.
Secondly you can wander the pits and pit lane freely which is great for just looking and really good for photography. Thirdly there is always a wonderful selection of bikes.

Here's the first batch of photos I took today with the header shot of two guys who competed in the sidecar events. Now motorcycle sidecar racing is for the very brave as the rider as opposed to the driver has to move from side to side on the bike at very high speed to balance it through the corners. Insane is a good word to describe it. These two really affable guys come from Bathurst- I'm sorry I did not get their names -and they have an older and well worn outfit-not a carbonfibre, high cost, European outfit like most of their competitors. However on a very wet and slippery track they came home a very safe second in their first race of the day and they were delighted with their effort and so they should be.

One of many veteran racers. Why aren't these old folk doing gardening or playing golf?

Yes it's a girl racer, Stacey, and she was not the only one

A quick head job in between races

Norton from Team Africa. Africa stands for "Another f.....g race I can't afford."

5 Mar 2019

Sleepy head

You are old. Very old.You have a thick furry coat. It's hot and very humid. What else can a girl do but sleep all day close to the fan?
Phoebe yesterday.Leica X Vario.

2 Mar 2019

Local colour

Well, it's a public toilet but it's pretty colourful and surely worth a photo. Lisbon, Portugal May 2018.

Delicate hands

Photo taken in a pottery near Nizwa,Oman in December 2018. The hands belong to a young woman painter.The photo was taken with the Leica Q.