Ma5da Racing 2010 Championship Launch

The clocks had only just gone forward for British Summer Time and it was time to get back to Brands Hatch, after what seemed like only a few weeks since the Ma5da Racing Winter trophy 2009. The format for the day was simple, an open pitlane trackday with the championship launch briefing during the lunch break, a good chance to catch up with everyone before the season starts.

The track started out damp, but dried out through the morning session. There were lots of new cars on he track, but without race numbers (I’d not been to the pits at this stage) it was hard to see who was in a new car and who was new to the championship.

After the championship launch briefing, and a quick look round the pits at who was driving what, it was time to head round to Clearways for the afternoon session, but when I got there, the rain was bucketing down, with only a few cars out on track it was an easy decision to stay in the car until it had died down a bit. The spray made for some interesting pictures as did Rob Boston’s oversteering, luckily Rob has a tinted visor, so I was able to spot him in his new car.

My favourite shot of the day however, was when Jonathan Blake was out in the new mk3 race car, set to make it’s debut at Snetterton later this month, I saw the picture on the back of the camera and knew it was the shot of the day.

3rd place in a photography competition

A few weeks back I entered the novice competition at Dunchurch Photographic Society (Novices as in never won one of their trophies, so pretty much open to anyone), I was both surprised and pleased when my “MX-5 Follow the Leader” image was placed 3rd in the print category, as motorsport images aren’t usually the judge’s cup of tea.

This image is my favourite of 2009, by a long way and am glad that it has got some recognition:

Ma5da Racing archive

Over the next few weeks I will be uploading my archive of images shot over the past 2 seasons for at for Ma5da Racing.

I’m starting with 2008 which seems ages ago now, hopefully by the time it comes to post the images from the Winter event at Brands Hatch on the 7th November I will be up to date!

This photo was taken from the gantry at Woodcote and shows all the drivers at the start of Ma5da Racing.

Mallory Park – The rest!

The Ma5das had pretty much gatecrashed this BRSCC meeting, having only been invited 4 days before the event (but still managing to have the largest grid), the headline race of the day was the Don Truman trophy for the 500s. I’d never seen 500s before, but I liked them, they are old style cigar shaped single seaters from the ’60s, powered by 500cc period motorbike engines, on skinny tyres and they look like a complete hoot to drive, with drivers leaning right out of the cars to aid weight distribution. Both races were won by Nigel Ashman in car #1.

Nigel Ashman - Don Truman Trophy Winner

Nigel Ashman - Don Truman Trophy Winner

Other races were more conventional BRSCC series, the Porsche 924 Championship and the BRS Recovery Ford XR Challenge. The Porches provided some good racing in both of their 2 races, with Matthew Upchurch leading the first race until a few laps from the end before suffering mechanical failures and Kamal Kalsi winning. On their second race Kamal Kalsi continued where he left off and led for most of the race, but had a reliable car so finished at the front too.

Kamal Kalsi - Double race winner in Porsche 924 Championship

Kamal Kalsi - Double race winner in Porsche 924 Championship

The Ferrari brothers (Ferraris driving Porches? Confusing!) had matching cars with a similar paint job to Rob Boston’s MX-5 race car, who inspired who?

Seb Ferrari - Copied Rob Boston?

Seb Ferrari - Copied Rob Boston?

The remaining series is the XR challenge, which was mainly XR2s, but a few XR3s too, the XR2s did seem a fair bit faster, which surprised me, but cars #68 and #2 (Simon Robinson and Michael Blackburn) had a close battle but the #2 car wasn’t able to overtake Simon Robinson.

Simon Robinson - BRS Recovery XR Challenge winner

Simon Robinson - BRS Recovery XR Challenge winner

Ma5da Racing – Mallory Park

This was all organized a bit last minute, I heard about it on the Wednesday, but it wasn’t until Saturday evening that I was sure I’d be able to make it to Mallory Park. As the practice didn’t start until 12:30 and Mallory Park isn’t too far away I was able to get up at a civilized time, hit the gym and still make it to the track in time. Perfect. Mallory Park is great for photography, you are always fairly near to the track and there are only a few high crash fences. It is also possible to drive most of the way around the track, unless you are parked in the paddock, in which case you are stuck! For the practice session I was at the first corner, a long righthander called Gerard’s. There had been some work at this corner since my last visit to Mallory Park, this gave better access to the end of the start/finish straight, with the side effect of a nice clean watery background.
Serge Smith

Serge Smith

Jonathan Blake and Alyn Robson stayed very close to each other through the practice, probably to get slipstreams, which worked well, as both placed high up the grid and it was also entertaining to watch!

Jonathan Blake & Alyn Robson - Qualifying

Jonathan Blake & Alyn Robson - Qualifying

For the first Ma5da Race I drove round to the John Cooper Esses which give a few head on angles as well as some opportunities for side on panning shots with the cars riding the kerbs. The strangest shot though, was seeing Martin Tolley coming round on his out lap with the bonnet flipped up over the windscreen. Doh!

Martin Tolley - Doh

Martin Tolley - Doh

By the time the drivers got round to the Esses, Jonathan Greensmith had overtaken pole sitter Scott Kirlew, which was the order they finished the race.

Jonathan Greensmith & Scott Kirlew battling for the lead on lap 1

Jonathan Greensmith & Scott Kirlew battling for the lead on lap 1

I’d been looking forward to the second race all day, as it was being run with a reverse grid, so lots of overtaking expected! I’d also saved my favorite angle for this race. The hairpin is the only slow corner on the lap, the spectator area is very close to the track and there is no catch fence.

The first few laps the Ma5das were streaming round 4 or 5 abreast as the faster cars made their way to the front.

Hairpin, lap 1 - race 2

Hairpin, lap 1 - race 2

Then the race calmed down (but only slightly) Jonathan Greensmith managed to pull away from the rest of the pack (17s on a sub 1m lap), however that was probably due to the 5 way battle for 2nd place which was eventually taken by Matt Robinson, with Carl Powell 0.097s behind him, despite being in front for most of the race.

Race 2 - battle for 2nd

Race 2 - battle for 2nd

A special mention has to go to Wayne le Montais for the best paint job I’ve ever seen on an MX-5!

Wayne le Montais - Love the paint job!

Wayne le Montais - Love the paint job!

Cadwell Park shots in Autosport

My #1 aim for 2009 has been achieved! I managed to get two of my images published in Autosport magazine.

The images the chose out of the selection I sent them were a side on pan of Tom Roche, winner of both Ma5da Races taken at Barn (a very similar shot to the one of Scott Kirlew in my post reviewing the race) and a shot of Steve Twist’s Uno leading a gaggle of Fiats through Hall Bends.

Sorry for the rubbish iPhone shot, I will edit the post with a proper shot or a scan later.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Cadwell Park – The rest!

 

Unlike at Silverstone, Ma5da Racing were part of the BRSCC programme, as the lead series!  The other series there are the Alfa Romeo Championship, Motor Lawyers Fiat Challenge, Mighty Minis, Super Mighty Minis and the Dunlop TVR Challenge.

In the Alfa Championship, Tim Lewis was back with his bright Alfasud, although it was having gearbox trouble during the race.

 

Tim Lewis - Alfasud

Tim Lewis - Alfasud

Adie Hawkins won both races in his 33 and even though it isn’t technically perfect I really like this shot taken from the banking of him breaking for the Hairpin.

 

Adie Hawkins - Alfa 33

Adie Hawkins - Alfa 33

This was the first time that I’d seen Minis racing and I was treated to 2 great races. The Mighty Minis were up first, I shot this race from the inside of Hall Bends and managed was able to get some frames with the top 4 cars all in the same frame, Minis are great! The pink car of Chris Morgan won the race.

 

 

Mighty Minis

Mighty Minis

The racing was just as tight in the Super Mighty Minis race, which I shot from the same position as the second Ma5da Race, Nev Fitzpatrick won this race.

 

 

Super Mighty Minis

Super Mighty Minis

Having the driver’s name on the front grille of the Minis is great, much more fun than just numbers, the Ma5da Speed team have a similar thing going on with numberplates, I think other series/teams should follow, after all it is about having fun at this level of motorsport!

Like Ma5da Racing there were two Fiat races, both were close, with the usual suspects from last season not at the head of the the pack. The first race was won by Steve Twist who managed to pull out a 6s lead on the last few laps.

 

 

Steve Twist - Fiat Uno

Steve Twist - Fiat Uno

The second race wasn’t to be for the number 11 Fiat, it was involved in a fairly hefty shunt which caused the race to be red flagged. The restarted race was won by Mark Smith, in another Uno, proving that the newer Puntos, including the HGTs aren’t as good as their older cousins.

 

Mark Smith - Fiat Uno

Mark Smith - Fiat Uno

Lastly the TVRs, they were meant to have 2 races, but after the first got red flagged twice, they ended up with one, which was won by the bright green Tuscan of Danny Winstanley, it was good to see some of the older “wedge” TVRs racing and as ever the TVRs all sounded great!

 

Danny Winstanley - TVR Tuscan

Danny Winstanley - TVR Tuscan

Ma5da Racing Rounds 3 & 4 – Cadwell Park

As I have blogged before, Cadwell Park is probably my favourite circuit in the UK from a photography point of view, even if the marshalls seems to think that photographers are trouble makers. Although, this time, I did manage to convince the marshalls at the Hairpin that I don’t attract crashes and they asked me to stay at their post for a bit to ward off crashes!

The Ma5das were out on track first, so I started the day down at Barn and through the session worked my way back towards the Hall Bends. This section of the track is in the woods, providing some different backgrounds to Silverstone last month. Barn is the best in this respect, as it is in an area with no spectators. Dragging the shutter slightly and panning produced this shot of Scott Kirlew, probably my favourite of the season so far:

 

Scott Kirlew

Scott Kirlew

 

Also from Barn:

 

Andrew Clarkson at Barn corner

Andrew Clarkson at Barn corner

 

Kevin Middlton at Barn corner

Kevin Middlton at Barn corner

Moving up to the Hairpin, opens up an angle where you are almost at the same level as the cars, which is hard to replicate anywhere else, even with spectators in the background I like these shots.

 

Graham Grove at the Hairpin

Graham Grove at the Hairpin

Jonathan Blake at the Hairpin

Jonathan Blake at the Hairpin

At the Hall Bends low viewpoints are also achievable, especially with the cars coming over a slight rise and clipping the apex.

Paul Sheard at Hall Bends

Paul Sheard at Hall Bends

 

Jonathan Greensmith at Hall Bends

Jonathan Greensmith at Hall Bends

The Ma5das were the first race before the lunch break, I headed down to the marshalls post between the start/finish straight and the bottom of the Mountain. The start was close, with the cars side by side up to the first corner.

 

Race 1 start

Race 1 start

After the start I moved round to focus on the left/right at the Mountain which saw some action, including spins and resulting near misses. I also had chance to experiment with rear shots, I’ve always found front/side shots more dynamic and wanted to get some dynamic rear shots, rather than shots of cars going out of the frame, as you tend to see a lot.

 

Rear shot

Rear shot

 

Near miss

Near miss

For the second Ma5da race of the day I was almost opposite my position from race 1, at the end of the paddock lane, with Mountain going up to my left and the left/right corner infront of me. The second race was much closer, it seemed like the lead 3, Tom Roche, Rob Boston and Jonathan Greensmith, shuffled positions each lap, with all 3 taking the lead at one point. Eventually it was Tom Roche who crossed the line first, it was another great Ma5da race.

 

Rob Boston leading

Rob Boston leading

Jonathan Greensmith leading

Jonathan Greensmith leading

 

Tom Roche leading

Tom Roche leading

Outside of the top 3 there was plenty of action at Mountain, with more spins and some interesting lines.

 

Another near miss

Another near miss

Simon McAlpine - interesting line

Simon McAlpine - interesting line

 

Tom Roche - Interesting line, note the flying bollard

Tom Roche - Interesting line, note the flying bollard

Ma5da Racing Rounds 1 & 2 – Silverstone

It was still quite chilly and the track was damp for the first qualifying/practice session of the 2009 Ma5da Racing season, much like the test day earlier in the month. I started the session at Brooklands, infront of the BRDC stand and witnessed a few spins early on in the session. It was also good to see some new competitiors (and of course competitors from the 2008 season, but with new cars/paintjobs).

Charles Plumley spinning - Priory

Charles Plumley spinning - Priory

Alyn Robson & Kevin Middleton - Woodcote

Alyn Robson & Kevin Middleton - Woodcote

Ben Robinson - Wootcote

Ben Robinson - Wootcote

Justing Newman & Carl Powell - Brooklands

Justing Newman & Carl Powell - Brooklands

It had warmed up a bit by the time the Ma5das came out for their first race, for this session I headed round to the Abbey chicane, but unlike the test day, I was able to get trackside for some lower angle shots. After a long winter break it was good to see the field of 30+ MX-5s coming straight at me nose to tail at racing speeds.

Lots of Ma5das - Abbey chicane

Lots of Ma5das - Abbey chicane

Another thing that hadn’t changed from 2008, was T0m Roche being the fastest man out there, leading from the front to win the race. For most of the race he was being chased down by Scott Kirlew and new guy Rob Boston, in his distinctive yellow and black car.

Tom Roche leading Scott Kirlew & Rob Boston through Abbey chicane

Tom Roche leading Scott Kirlew & Rob Boston through Abbey chicane

The early intervention of the safety car made sure that that the pack was closed up for most of the race, although I’m sure it still would have been close racing without any outside help!

Steve Greensmith heading a close battle - Abbey chicane

Steve Greensmith heading a close battle - Abbey chicane

For the second race, weather played more of a part, rain had been threatening all the way into the lead up to the race, but only a few spots actually fell during the race. For this race I positioned myself at Luffield and moved round towards Woodcote, which is really the bread and butter of shooting at Silverstone. The location did not disappoint, with lots of action throughout the race. Although the action really started before the cars even reached the complex with both cars on the front row having problems, 2nd place Carl Powell had car trouble and after a slow lap pulled in to the pits and pole sitter Tom Roche fell off the black stuff and rejoined in 18th place. Amid the chaos experience proved to be the winner with Steve Greensmith and Paul Sheard coming through first and second. Meanwhile, the usual suspects from 2008, Jonathan Greensmith and Tom Roche, were both on a charge coming up through the field.

Carl Powell about to be lapped by the leaders - Luffield

Carl Powell about to be lapped by the leaders - Luffield

Jonathan Greensmith battling through the field - Luffield

Jonathan Greensmith battling through the field - Luffield

Tom Roche overtaking everyone - Luffield

Tom Roche overtaking everyone - Luffield

Having passed everyone else the last few laps returned to a classic Greensmith – Roche battle, with Jonathan managing to hold on to the lead for the chequered flag.

Jonathan Greensmith just managing to keep the lead from Tom Roche

Jonathan Greensmith just managing to keep the lead from Tom Roche

There was even a guest appearance at the end of the race!

I'm sure that body kit is against the regs...

I'm sure that body kit is against the regs...