Well its that time of the year folks, everyone is throwing out their best and worst of lists, recapping the year, rehashing old stuff and you know what? I'm going to get on that bandwagon!
This year I achieved some huge milestones and continued to push myself with the photography and in the last half of the year decided that it was time to start putting down some of the random things that come into my head and I want to tell people about by signing up to DriveTribe, not sure if I should apologise for that but, its better than chewing the ear off some poor unsuspecting driver at the track that's for sure!
January? February? Nah. Let's just start in March!
The year for me started off pretty quietly with a trip to Melbourne for the Formula 1 Grand Prix the first time I got the camera out. This was an event that would see the debut of Daniel Ricciardo in the yellow and black that didn't go too well thanks to a decision to go wide and a well hidden drainage cover. Ouch.
Daniel Ricciardo during Qualifying at the Melbourne Formula 1 2019 / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
True to form, I bemoaned that I really should have brought a bigger camera lense with me and with that my first goals of the year were set. Get the bloody 70-200mm F2.8 lense and some accreditation finally. (Spoiler alert: I got both).
April .. Time to get dirty
April saw the West Australian Time Attack event hit Barbagallo Raceway and quite the variety of cars out on track. It was my first foray into the Time Attack world and was surprised by the amount of money put into some of the cars and that a lot of them only come out for these events.
Infinite Time Attack - April / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
WA Sporting Car Club held its April race meet featuring street car racing, saloon cars, Holden HQs, Formula Vee, Formula Ford, F1000, historic racing cars, sports sedans and sports cars all hitting the track.
Towards the end of April I headed out to the Bindoon Dirt Drags. If you've never been to a dirt drag event, do yourself a favour, GO! Riders from 4 to way over 40 hit the track on quad bikes, mini quads, dirt bikes, road bikes, some weird looking dirt cars, insanely modified trikes and the beasts that are the V8 nitro Harley Davidsons. On the other side of the track there's a burnout pad setup for anyone that wants to burn off some frustrations. All manner of cars as usually seen at a burnout competition were hitting that pad from about 8.30am until long after I left at night.
May .. A month to forget!
May was fairly quiet for me as I was moving house among other non motorsport related things going on in that month. May was probably the month that I decided it was time to stop faffing about and get serious about this.
I did manage to catch some drifting towards the middle of the month but any photographer will tell you that your mind needs to be 100% into it otherwise you're just going through the motions. I believe I may not have actually published any of the photos from that day.
During May I also signed up to some non motorsport photography becoming the official photographer for an American Football team here in Western Australia, Perth Broncos. There was much to learn and many practices to be attended over the coming months before season kick off in October. I won't go too much into this because hey its not motor related, but here's a couple of photos!
June .. The problem with being in the right place at the right time..
June was a pretty busy month with the events from the State Speed Event Series, Point2Point series and the WA Sporting Car Club's June meet.
The WASCC June meet was quite the event with Excel Cup, F1000, Formula Classic, Formula Ford, HQ Racing, Improved Production Cars and Saloon cars all hitting the track. The F1000s had two drivers flying in from the eastern states in the form of Stewart Sisters Racing, Madeline and Ash.
F1000 leading a Radical down the back straight of Barbagallo Raceway / PHOTOS: BeardySnaps
Towards the end of a meet there was an incident involving fire. At the owners request I did not publish these photos despite receiving intense pressure to publish them I stuck to my word and didn't publish them. The fire did lead to some interesting racing through Turn 7 at Barbagallo Raceway afterwards with the clean up of the track not 100% so it was quite slippery as all the categories found out.
July .. The best part of being in the right place at the right time..
After doing the "right thing" in June, I'll be honest I felt a bit flat. I really wanted to publish the photos of the car on fire, but I had agreed that I wouldn't. Turns out doing the "right thing" can pay off.
In early July I was invited out to participate in a testing session with Supercars driver Nick Percat and get some photos of him on track. This led to publication of my photos on Motorsport.com, Supercars.com and Speedcafe.
Nick Percat in an Arise Racing F1000 / PHOTO: BeardySnap
The following day from the test was the July race meet. CAMS kindly provided me with temporary accreditation for the day until my proper one came through so I could continue on with the Nick Percat focussed weekend.
After a long day attending the test the previous day plus a night event at the track. I was pretty tired towards the end of the day and talk about being in the right place at the right time again. While having a stretch laying on my back in Turn 1, I managed to capture three Holden HQs going through turn 1 at Barbagallo Raceway side by side without any of them ending up in the sand.
Second most talked about and shared image of 2019. Three Holden HQ giants into one corner at speed. / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
Also crammed into July was the first round of the D1WA championship series for 2019. The first round saw well over 200 people attend as spectators and over 30 entrants for a night of sideways rubber burning action on the infield at Barbagallo Raceway.
The start line for the D1WA Championship Series / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
The end of July would also see an off road buggy hit the track at Barbagallo Raceway for the Speed Event Series round. Truly a sight to behold with it spending most of the time on three wheels or less as it blasted its way around.
Slowlite Buggy / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
August .. It gets a bit upside down..
August was your standard month to start with and was pretty quiet on track. There was an insanely wet DriftWest Saturday night practice event which would see multiple cars ending up in the rough stuff or facing the wrong way and some drivers opting not to go out in the wet at all.
Keeping it together at the end of the main straight / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
Towards the end of August it was time to hit Sepang International Circuit for the Malaysia Championship Series. What an eye opener. The track was huge, the marshals welcoming and all the teams very friendly. I had some great conversations with drivers from all over the world in the various categories that were racing. I also met the wonderful father/son duo of Luigi and Bruno Carneiro. Bruno was racing in the Formula Renault series while father Luigi was on media duties for his son.
Bruno Carneiro waiting on the starting grid / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
Unfortunately Saturday on the way back from the track I was involved in two separate incidents with the second one leaving me upside down in the back of a Taxi after he lost control of it slamming into a concrete barrier. You can read about it in my article I wrote up after the event.
September opened with the drifters taking to the track for another of DriftWest's Saturday night practice sessions. This time the dry track was welcomed by the drivers who took advantage of the conditions by linking all the approved for drifting corners in spectacular fashion.
When the rubber gets low, the sparks will fly / PHOTOS: BeardySnaps
The September race meet at Barbagallo Raceway saw the retirement of long time member and regular Formula Vee racer Bruce "Bones" Welsh. Bruce's daughter April Welsh was hand for the special presentation by track commentator Vaughn Brewer on the track at the end of the Formula Vee feature race which both Father and Daughter raced in. Not a dry eye on the tarmac as even the man himself shed a tear.
Bruce "Bones" Welsh and daughter April Welsh after the feature race / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
The end of September saw the Speed Event Series return to Barbagallo with the usual assortment of cars taking part in timed laps, DriftSchool WA took over the infield to teach people how to drift and take some lucky people on hot drift laps.
D1WA rounded out the month with Round 3 of its 4 round championship for the year. Ken Leong from DriftSchool WA setup a truly masterful course to test the mettle of the entrants.
Battle ready / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
A quiet month for me at the track with only two events covered but the first event was Powercruise 78. 3 days of cruising, drifting, burnouts, racing and more. The first day was almost a complete washout with heavy rain and wind making the conditions quite interesting.
One of the standouts from the event was a Toyota Hiace van "FREECANDY" which had an LS1 motor crammed under the front seat which the owner entered into pretty much all the competitions and rounds. It was even seen drifting around Turn 1 at Barbagallo Raceway.
The evening burnout session on Saturday night provided some fantastic photo opportunities with the transmissions glowing red hot under the strain and sparks flying everywhere.
Let those sparks fly! / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
Kleenex would've been making a killing off the WA Sporting Car Club this month and last with another emotional tribute to its retiring members, with long term serving member Rob Janney hanging up his committee duties. Vaughn Brewer again led the emotional tribute with a lap of honour performed with Rob in the lead car, followed by a procession of regularity entrants. Upon returning to the pits the fire marshals showered the car with water and the tears started to flow.
The end of Rob Janney's lap of honour / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
November .. Bucket list track ticked off
Mount Panorama, Bathurst. As a kid I grew up watching the greats battle it out on this famed tarmac. For most of the year a suburban road, for one weekend a year hallowed ground. The cutting, the esses, Brock Skyline, The Dipper, Forrests' Elbow all names well known throughout the Australian Motorsport fans. On television the corners and inclines are not captured for what they really are. Two V8 Supercars side by side through the esses on TV looks pretty close, two standard road cars side by side is an adventure! How they manage to keep those beasts side by side at those speeds I'll never fully grasp. The curves, the dips, the inclines, the declines are all intense at this track.
Now that I've gushed on enough about Mount Panorama, I travelled over to attend the Australian Hill Climb Championships. You can read about it in my DriveTribe article here. While champions were made on track, off track Gary West from Western Australia certainly had the hearts of the everyone attending.
The beauty of Hill Climb, all sorts of vehicles enter / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
I returned home just in time to catch the final round of the Arise Racing Driver Search 2019 with Supercars driver Nick Percat lending a hand on the judging panel. Max McRae, son of former World Rally Championship competitor Alister McRae, younger brother of Colin McRae, took out the top prize, the 14-year-old winning a fully-funded seat for the 2020 WA Formula 1000 season.
Just a week later it was off to Tailem Bend for the finale of the 2019 Shannons Nationals. West Australian duo Nathan Callaghan and Chris Lillis suffered a deflating result to their Australian Production Car championship hopes, while the S5000 category finally had a fantastic showing after a false start at Sandown.
Through the rear of an S5000 at The Bend Motorsport Park / PHOTO: BeardySnaps
At the end of November, the Infinite Time Attack hit Barbagallo Raceway, and the top time of the day was taken out by Andy Stevens of Hyperdrive Motorsport in a 180SX. He put on a spectacular drive with him even drifting through Turn 7 in a car not setup for drifting.
Rounding out November a quick visit to the Whoop Ass Wednesday off street drag event at Kwinana Motorplex was in interesting one. I've never been questioned so much about carrying a camera into a motorsport even as much I was here. Not even the Formula 1 security carried on as much as them here.
Beat The Heat formed by serving Police offers was formed to promote off street legal drag racing / PHOTOS: BeardySnaps
December .. And the track goes quiet...
With all the track activity wrapping up for the year, the last events are generally sponsors nights, testing days and enthusiasts days.
The main event of December however was Drift-Ability. I've written so much about this event across social media and on here as its a truly worthwhile event to get behind. Check out the following video by DJ Laubscher which is the only video released to truly capture this event for what it was.
My last outing to the track this year was for the Street Car Association of WA Sponsors night. This was a great night out and the first time I've jumped into a car at the track at speed. You can read all about my graceful exit of the car in this DriveTribe article.
During December I also managed to get involved with some interviews of Supercars legend Garth Tander and Super2 driver Adam Marjoram. These will be released early next year.
With well over 52 motorsport events (70+ events including other sports) covered in 2019, unfortunately I couldn't cover all of them in this as it would be a much longer article than it already is!
Bring on 2020!
So the wrap of 2019 is done and 2020 is already on the horizon. Where to next? Lots more video, writing on DriveTribe and photos. In 2020 I have on the "to do" list a visit to an iconic American track. Just need to pick the right event and the right timing to do it as there's a very busy motorsport calendar in Australia next year.
Keep up to date with what I'm up to by hitting the follow button on my DriveTribe profile!