It’s been a busy few weeks for me so as I sit down to write this blog it seems like the topic was a long time ago now. However, I couldn’t let it pass without me writing about how great the Silverstone Classic was this year.
It is always a highlight of my year and this year was no exception. I have a fondness for classic cars and it is great to see so many of these awesome machines from my childhood and well before, doing what they were designed to do. Race. This year’s event saw the addition of a new race category for Touring cars from 1970-2000. This was to be a hugely popular race with the spectators and the addition of current BTCC favourite, Frank Wrathall to the field in a 1995 Vauxhall Cavalier enticed support even more.
For me, the headline race was the Saturday evening Group C race into dusk. I love the awesome 1980’s Le Mans cars and there was an awesome array of Group C and C2 cars taking part. A favourite had to be the Jagermeister Porsche 962. An Iconic car of the time in an iconic livery. A Peugeot 905 with Nicolas Minassian at the wheel on the entry list was also of huge significance. Sadly, despite qualifying second on the Friday, the car was not to take to the track for either of the two races during the weekend. A bitter blow to many, but Minassian was to take to the Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit for Sunday’s race in one of the three Lancia LC2’s.
Another popular race was the Grand Prix Masters race for formula one cars of the 70’s & 80’s featuring cars such as McLaren M26’s, Arrows A4’s and Williams FW07’s. Remarkably this race was to be the first ever to feature two six wheeled formula one cars. A Tyrell P34 and a March 2-4-0 were to take part much to many people’s delight.
With 13 races on the Saturday and a further 11 on the Sunday there was plenty of on track action to keep the crowed entertained and the high quality and close racing in some of the world’s most beautiful, recognisable and valuable cars, whether it classic GT’s or pre 1956 sports cars or even pre 1961 front engined Grand Prix cars along with many well known drivers past and present, there was something for every motorsport fan young and old.
As if all the on track action wasn’t enough, the many thousands of cars on display from various car clubs was magnificent to see. Cars from Lamborghini, Lotus, Aston Martin, AC Cobras even a bselection of Lancia Delta’s. This year’s Silverstone Classic celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Ferrari F40. One of the world’s most recognizable super cars and the stuff of fantasy for every boy, like myself, who grew up in the 80’s. To mark this occasion, a parade of F40’s took to the track on Sunday setting a record for the most Ferrari F40’s on track together at the same time. There were over 60 in total from all over the world and what a brilliant sight they were under the hot sun. An experience I will not forget in a hurry.
There were trade stands a plenty for you to spend your money and activities for all ages to keep the whole family occupied. The Sun came out to make up for the wet Friday and the weekend was another fantastic event. The Silverstone Classic goes from strength to strength and I am already looking forward to next year’s event. If you haven’t been, then I would highly recommend it. You won’t leave disappointed.
I havent got round to sorting all my photos from the weekend yet, but you can see some Group C ones here. Also, If you like the Chris Gurton Photography page on Facebook, you will be updated when new galleries will be added.
With two weekends away from the track, I have been at somewhat of a loose end. Thankfully the British Grand Prix and the GT1 & GT3 championships have kept me motorsport withdrawal symptoms at bay, but it has been a good time to get a few things sorted out before what will be a manic six weeks or so.
I had decided it best get my Telephoto lens serviced during my ‘break’ as I was beginning to experience a few niggly issues with it. I have had it a few years and it has taken a lot of abuse in that time and served me well, but it was beginning to struggle to focus on the shorter focal lengths and I had some intermittent problems with over exposure. So despite the cost, I bit the bullet and sent it off for a service to get the issues dealt with. There isn’t ever really a good time to fork out a lot of money but it needed to be done. Probably one of the many expenses incurred that a client or customer doesn’t really think about when enquiring about and sometimes questioning a photographers prices but I won’t go it to that now.
Having been told the initial service turnaround time was 2-3 weeks, I was surprised to have a phone call just 4 working days after dropping off the lens at Sigma telling me it was ready to be sent back. I was pretty pleased as I was worried there was a chance I would be without the lens this coming weekend at Brand Hatch. The issues seem to be resolved now so I look forward to having it working fully ahead of my impending busy schedule.
As well as getting the lens serviced I used this down time to re-design and update my website. It had been neglected somewhat so was due a spring clean and a sort out. My design and website building skills are somewhat limited but I seem to have managed ok and I’m relatively pleased with how it is looking. I am never fully satisfied but considering my ability with this kind of thing, the end result isn’t too shabby and initial reactions seem positive. I have added a few new pages and features and now images from the motorsport events I cover over the year can be purchased as prints and a calendar will keep you updated on which races I have been at and will be attending this year. So feel free to check out the site www.chrisgurtonphotography.com
Towards the end of the month I have a couple of Equestrian events I will be covering. So it has been a good time to get things sorted out for this too. As I print images onsite at these events it was time to order in paper, mounts and the dreaded ink! This is a huge outlay for me and although I should more than recoup the costs after the event it is never a good feeling making a bulk order when initial funds aren’t overly healthy. I always print on high quality paper and use the original best quality Canon Inks that go with my printer. I never use the cheap refill type inks as my Dad ruined a printer of his using cheap alternative inks despite my warnings. I believe in the best quality for my customers despite the extra costs to myself. I will never know for sure but apparently the chromalife ink I use is guaranteed for 100 years. I guess that can’t be bad and I know my prices are very competitive. I’m looking forward to the equestrian events and I really hope the weather is favourable.
So on to this weekend and I will be at Brands Hatch on the GP loop again where the Britcar Endurance series is supporting the International GT Open and F2 championships. There is a full programme for the weekend and I am really looking forward to it. The following weekend is one of the great highlights of my year. The Silverstone Classic. The biggest race weekend of the year with over one thousand classic race car entries and a few thousand more classic cars on display. It’s well worth a visit, especially for the Group C Dusk race on Saturday evening.
The two three day equestrian events then follow before we head into August and three back to weekends at Snetterton. I don’t think I will have time for my Birthday in the middle of that but it should all be good fun.
Finally, I’m giving away a few A4 prints to my Twitter followers this week and to those who like my Facebook page. Follow the links on the right of this blog to my Twitter and Facebook pages to find out more and you could get a free print for yourself.
It is with great sadness that I learn of the death of David Allan this week whist testing a car at Millbrook.
The Honda racing driver competed in the 2001 & 2002 British Touring Car Championship with Synchro Motorsport and more recently with the same team in the MSA Britcar Championship in their Honda Civic and the much loved Honda Jazz.
He will be missed by many and I send my best wishes and deepest sympathies to his family and friends.
Rest In Peace Dave.
I was hoping my latest blog would be along very different lines than this, however, unfortunately I find myself writing down my thoughts about recent events.
You will all have heard about the accident at Duxford Airfield this week involving the Marussia Formula One team and their test driver Maria de Villota, who was taking part in her first test session for them. Unfortunately a collision between the car and a team lorry occurred and Maria was rushed to hospital to receive treatment for her injuries.
Details of the accident were and still are somewhat sketchy, as were the circumstances involved. Added to the fact a number of different views were passed around as to what may of happened or what may have caused the incident and the full details still aren’t fully clear. Despite this, sadly, a number of sexist comments were to appear soon after the event across social media sites about women drivers and their place within motorsport. All in poor taste especially as Maria’s condition was clearly still ‘Critical’.
Maria is a very capable and experienced racing driver and has proved her ability at a number of levels. The breakthrough into her role as test driver for a current Formula One team was and is a big step forward in seeing the return of a female racing driver at the highest level of the sport. This is something that all motorsport fans should be excited about, male or female. Although a number of female racing drivers compete successfully throughout motorsport at all variety of levels, it will probably only be until a female makes a return to the world stage of Formula One, that the majority will start to take notice. Desire Wilson was and is an Icon and a role model for women breaking into the sport for what she has achieved at the top levels and hopefully soon someone else will pick up that baton and perhaps go even further. Along with it, putting the un-called for sexist remarks of the mindless minority to rest.
Having been fortunate enough to have seen Maria in action and to have met her, I can say that her endearing friendliness and personality along with her ability behind the wheel is a great asset to the sport. So it is with sadness that news has emerged that she has lost her right eye. This will more than likely put an end to her Formula One aspirations. Despite this I wish her a speedy recovery and hope this will not put an end to her racing career. I’m sure her determination will spur her on despite this setback. Lord Drayson is proof that you can still race at a high level despite the loss of sight from one eye and no doubt, Maria will continue to inspire many for years to come.
Female racing drivers such as Alice Powell, Pippa Mann & Sabine Schmitz have all proven themselves against their Male counterparts and are all valuable additions to the sport despite having to overcome unnecessary pressure because of their sex. There is no place sexism in a world of equal opportunities and the addition of more females to motorsport will only improve the sport attracting more fans, support and backing to a male dominated arena.
So to the mindless few I refer, rather than criticise and abuse unnecessarily, step out of the dark ages and welcome new additions to the motorsport family and offer the encouragement and support they deserve. After all, it’s for the good of the sport we all love so dear.