Things have been pretty bad in my personal life lately, I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say I have not had a win in quite some time. So when the I was asked by the good people over at Mission Motorsport to attend the 2017 Spring Action meeting at Castle Combe Circuit in Wiltshire, I was filled with equal measures of excitement and fear.
I was excited about the opportunity and seeing, hearing and smelling a race track again; but, I was really fearful about the crowds. For those that don't know, military veterans with PTSD often have issues with crowded places. Luckily, I was able to keep the fear in check and after an early start got to the circuit at about 0900. It was a really clear run, right up to the circuit, where the traffic instantaneously ground to a halt. Time for some music and deep breathing.
Once in and parked up, I headed over to the MM stand and said hi, I met up with James Wadham, another photographer who knew the circuit well. After a chat and cup of coffee, we headed out to the paddock and pit lane. The smell of petrol and the roar of engines assailed my senses, cars were lining up to head out to the track. I was home. With the camera all set up and my rented 50-500mm telephoto lens cleaned and ready to go.
Within 10 to 15 minutes of taking up a position on the home straight looking back to the Camp Turn, I was fortunate enough to be shooting when a Scooby span off the track and started to belch smoke from its engine bay, lots of drama! Looking back now, the fear and anxiety I had been experiencing had completely disappeared.
The day was bright sunshine and hardly any wind, a beautiful spring day, not great for photography due to the harsh shadows, but a great day to be at the track. The meeting was not a formal race, but more an opportunity for professional, semi-professional and enthusiast drivers to get out and blow the cobwebs out of their hair and vehicles after the winter. This format lead to there being a wide variety of cars and driving styles. One of the most unusual cars was a late 1980s VW estate with a strange spoiler stuck on the back, despite the unique vehicle, and a seemingly soft set of suspension, the driver knew what he was about.
For the crowds and us photographers, the most dramatic part of the day was the 'drifting' demonstration. This was not something I had been interested in previously, but it was certainly dramatic and made for some great pictures. That said, it made me think I should change profession and start selling and fitting tyres!
By the end of the day, I had snapped off a large number of shots and knew that many were going to be pretty decent. With my camera packed away, I said my goodbyes and fought my way through the crowds to my car and managed to beat the rush!
It was a really good day and a fantastic break from the travails of my daily life. The photos have all been processed and are now available to view and buy on the website at https://goo.gl/sv8zrV . Why not pop over and check them out?