Second motor sports event, in a few weeks, mainly because I am going to cover the British Super bikes Championship at Thruxton next weekend, I felt that I should get some practice in. I also took the opportunity to take a look at the “Complex” part of the course.
Arriving early on the Sunday enabled me to park fairly close to the main entrance, which is useful as I was carrying quite a bit of equipment.
The last time that I was at Thruxton on a Sunday they had racing scheduled to start at 9.30am, but nothing happened until after the “Church Break”, so I thought I would do some reconnaissance of the track, and see what positions were available to me.
After a 15 minute walk down to the complex, only to find that there was very little to see, and also it was very exposed (not normally to much of a problem, however with 15 ton trucks hairing around at 100mph I didn’t particularly fancy being out in the open, without at least some Armco to slow the trucks down).
The image left was shot at the approach to the Complex, and the background is distracting, so I decided that I would move back down to the Chicane for the remaining races.
However the best positions in the Chicane are closed to photographers when the trucks are racing as they are very exposed, and a wayward truck could easily wipe out the press pen, and everyone in it. So the only option was the outside of the last bend before the Start/Finish straight.
The International Truck Challenge had a huge starting grid, and the amount of dirty exhaust fumes they kick out, means that after the start, you cannot see a thing, the smoke had only just cleared by the time the trucks came round to start their second lap.
Several trucks had moments including number 69, who had a massive spin as he came out of the chicane and ended up facing the wrong way as another truck came hairing around the corner narrowly missing him. (see the image right)
With the trucks I didn’t need the 400mm F2.8, I was mainly shooting on a 70-200 F2.8 L with a 1.4 extender and a 100-400mm F4.5/5.6L.
The 100-400mm surprised me with its AF performance keeping pace with the trucks was no problem, however the lighting was fairly good, and I am sure that it would struggle if it was any darker.
As well as the truck racing there was some Renault 5 racing ( I had almost forgotten how bad the Renault Clio’s predecessor was. They ran several classes of Renault 5 together in the same race, including the Renault 5 TL and the Renault 5 turbo.
Now bearing in mind how old these cars are they provided a reasonable amount of entertainment, and as is typical of french cars, many of them went through the Complex scraping their door handles on the kerbing whilst keeping all four wheels on the ground.
I warned you that the trucks were dirty, by the time I finished both sensors on my EOS1D needed cleaning, and my clothes stunk of Diesel exhaust fumes. The start finish straight was almost permanently shrouded by a thick black smog, as can be seen in the picture, Left.
On the Saturday the Renault Clio racing was suspended after a driver died. Kevin Lloyd died from his injuries despite the efforts of the 4 race circuits doctors. From the description of Kevin “Lightweight” Lloyds accident it would appear that he died from a heart attack whilst racing.
The Clio drivers were debating whether to race on the Sunday, eventually a decision was reached and the Renault Clio drivers came out to race, and in their usual manner, drove like complete lunatics.