Once again it was time for us to descend on to the Birmingham NEC for the Autosport Show.
I missed last years event due to other obligations & I personally think the break made this one even better for me. It felt fresh & it was great to see how the venue & the scene as a whole had progressed.
There has been some great improvements in the halls themselves at the NEC. Whereas before they were bathed in a horrendous orange light, there was now LEDs brightening up the place which alongside the varied colour floor carpets helped make a huge difference to the feel of the event.
For me Autosport is about catching up with everyone & finding out whats planned for the year ahead. On a trade stand point, most big deals are already done by this point but its still the perfect place to gather interest & hopefully support for whatever you have planned motorsport wise for the year ahead.
I did go on one of trade days but I couldn’t help feel that it was relatively quiet. There was a good amount of footfall but it really didn’t feel a nuisance to get around & you weren’t fighting for space when checking out all the stands.
The event itself was split across the usual three halls, two for the main show & one dedicated during the trade days as the engineering hall. There was more than enough to look at as everything was back to back throughout.
After the deals are made, the people met with & the handshakes done, its really just all about the cars…
It was all about the cars to begin with anyway right?
Personal highlight for me would have to be the brand new Porsche 911 GT2 RS which was positively dripping in Carbon fibre.
As for race cars there was a healthy amount of WRC cars added to the mix, which looked as impressive as ever among the ranks of GT & Time Attack builds.
Liberty Walk who were placed in a corner of one of the halls had an impressive stand showcasing a good selection of their kits on some wild builds.
Several independent tuning part specialists were showcasing builds of their own through out the halls including this rather spectacular ‘in progress’ Audi R8
As always Autosport showcased a broad spectrum of UK motorsport & tuning, it was a pleasure as always to be among it. This event signals the start of the 2018 calendar & it’s looking like another exciting year ahead.
I like to think that I am someone who likes to welcome a new challenge. In my job as a photographer I enjoy taking on new things & capturing different events. However I’d be lying if I told you that my nerves don’t get the better of me sometimes when I’m asked to do something outside of my comfort zone. That familiar anxiety I’m sure we have all felt at some point starts to build & just needs kept in check, remain calm I tell myself, it’ll all work out.
At the start of this year I was asked to shoot several rounds of BSB, I ran off to the Googles & quickly realised that BSB is the British Super Bike Championship… ok I wasn’t that naive to it but I did need to start researching & fast!
If you know of my work for Fueltopia & for Monster Energy then you’ll know I’m someone who mostly covers four wheel motorsport events. That has changed in recent times & I’ve come to adapt to the various challenges & enjoy it. Variety is the spice of life right? Seriously though I believe the subject matter I’m most associated with doesn’t define me, I simply love all things I get to do.
Now that aside I still was nervous about BSB, I am not someone who owns or has ever ridden a proper motorbike on or off road. I have roughly 20 minutes to my name on a moped, which I promptly fell off so as for experience… you could say I am lacking it.
This was all new to me. I spent the lead up to round one asking friends about what it meant to them to ride a bike. Yeah, with questions like I did get some strange looks but I was trying to understand the passion behind it all. The reason people go and watch these races. I did an intensive course several evenings on the BSB website, learning about the teams, the riders names, their numbers & bike liveries. Anything that could help me once I arrived at the circuit with a job to do.
From a photographers point of view though I try not to look at other peoples photos when I shoot something new, not in anyway due to arrogance but more due to the fact that it may scare me in to thinking that I can’t do it, that I can’t capture what they have done. Its once again that familiar anxiety that builds inside me which is not what I need when I’m taking on a new challenge so I just avoid the situation completely. I go, I shoot, I edit & I deliver my own results from what I’ve witnessed.
Due to clashes with other events I was scheduled for this year, I only attended four rounds of the BSB 2017 championship. I was at the first in Donington Park, followed up by Oulton Park & then two rounds at Brands Hatch including the final.
I knew that I had four main riders to capture throughout the year, across three teams. Michael Laverty & James Ellison in the MCAMS Yamaha team, Leon Haslam in the Speedfit Kawasaki team & John Hopkins in the Moto Rapido Ducati team.
During these events I was far too engrossed in making sure I nailed the work to even be able to put together an event by event recap for you here on Fueltopia, I’m sorry about that. I robbed you of four blogs. I also tried to vlog the events (videos at the bottom) those didn’t quite go to plan either as I was simply far too pre occupied with making sure I knew what was going on & getting the job done.
With excuses aside let me take you back to my first BSB round of the year. This was Round 1 at Donington Park, a circuit I’ve worked at a few times over the years so I was familiar with the layout. I arrived confident & ready.
Standing near the track for the first time as the bikes blasted past me was an experience. They were louder than I expected & considerably faster! Also from a photography point of view they were a lot smaller in my view finder… go figure, turns out bikes are smaller than cars…
After that epiphany hit me it was time to take in & learn how they move, the speeds in the straights, the lines in the corners. All of a sudden, the anxiety & worry about the whole thing was gone, I was filled with the want to capture what was happening as much as I could, a sudden urge to show my perspective on the events I was witnessing.
Post practice/qualifying & races the paddocks are alive with activity, teams are checking & preparing the bikes for the next outings & riders are discussing tactics & times with their teams. There is simply so much going on at all times. It was simply exciting to be a part of.
The paddock however is cramped, not as much as the incredible tight space Speedway riders work out of but its close. Everyone among the multitude of people present has a specific job which is carried out to perfection, because put it simply someones life always does depend on it.
A break in all this two wheel action came at the first Brands Hatch hosted round of the series. Monster Energy Gymkhana driver Luke Woodham lit up the track in his 200sx s14a and put on a smoke show for the fans. Ok yeah he blew up the engine during the final demo of the day but YOLO right?
That event also saw a Monster energy rig riot take place. What is a rig riot I hear you cry? Well, its controlled chaos as the Monster Energy Girls figuratively whip the crowd into a frenzy before the Monster Energy riders themselves show up and sign & distribute merchandise. Its always awesome to watch & you can see the fans love it.
Throughout my stint of BSB this year I have watched them race in all conditions, I saw people come off & I even heard of fatal accidents taking place over the race weekends I attended. The commitment to this sport is incredible, why do they choose to do it & why when they come off during a practice in the morning are they back on the bike that very afternoon, ready on the line to take on all challengers?
I don’t have the answer to that question but as this year has gone on I’ve learnt something which I’ve come to love about BSB. The passion, the drive, the sense of family among teams is second to none. Its much more personal than any other race series I’ve worked in. The emotions are there for all to see, these riders can’t hide their, they are exposed, on the line with only their helmet to shield their anticipation & uncertainty about the race ahead.
During the races themselves the concentration can be seen on their faces, several times I would frame a shot & almost feel like I was making eye contact with the riders. The emotion once the race is finished & the results are in is beautiful to watch too.
These guys are rock stars, the fans love them! The open pit line signing sessions are a blast. The interaction is golden & seeing the smiles on fans faces from kids to full grown adults is incredibly rewarding.
This is the beauty of bikes, people get fully attached to the riders themselves, more so I feel than in any other motorsport. I mean these guys are about to risk their lives for your entertainment? I think they deserve being made a fuss of by the fans, which they most certainly do! The energy is electric.
Of course I’m not saying that any other motorsport is less dangerous or anything like that but I will say they these guys get it wrong or something fails, its their bodies that strike the tarmac with very little to protect them.
My work days at these events were mostly taken up by my shot list requirements & making sure I was always in the right place at the right time, however I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get moments to enjoy where I was, to take it in & have what is really the best seat in the house for the proceedings. It was a pleasure to learn all about everything at first & then follow the 2017 BSB championship.
With my anxiety and worry leading up to round one, the unknown of it all, did I enjoy working my first ever 4 rounds of BSB? Hells yeah I did! I loved it, I enjoyed the energy, the speed, the noise, the teams, the fans, honestly I can keep going… but the riders to me, their attitude, the way they held themselves in a win & in a defeat, I truly admire that above all else. Yeh for sure I think they are crazy but I admire that crazy & I am honoured to have captured some moments from their 2017 season.
We all have friends that are the perfect example of spontaneity, jumping at an opportunity & not thinking twice, simply just going for it. I’m envious of those people & I for sure wish I could live like that at times.
Gianni, the man behind the extremely popular clothing brand Status Error is one of those people & luckily a very close friend of mine which usually means I get brought a long for the ride on his adventures.
He’s not reckless by any means but where he just makes a move & thinks later is with his car purchases. I have no doubt that Gianni puts a tonne of thought into a car purchase but to everyone else the cars come & go, as if they are itches that need scratching, something that he needs to own to get it out of his system. Luckily though the man has good taste.
It is with this mindset that he ended up with this stunning Red Purple” 1993 Nissan Silvia (PS13). The car was imported in 2015 by EPRacing & has to be one of the cleanest S-Bodies in the UK.
Beating at its heart is a lightly tuned SR20DET pushing out around 320BHP (Full spec list below).
We actually filmed a vlog about the day we headed down to Newcastle to grab this car. You can check it out below or on the Status Error YouTube channel.
In the video we start off in his old DC5 Honda Integra Type R. His car history is phenomenal & before that Gianni had owned a plethora of JDM metal, MR2s, MX5s, Civic Type Rs, Porsche 944s, RX8s & even RX7s… the list is huge & I can’t fault him for any of them.
How does the Silvia compare to everything he’s had before? Well its a monster, but in a good way. Its power delivery is extremely aggressive, thrusting forward once on boost & constantly wanting to step out, an amazing car but an absolute animal.
In the time he’s owned it he has been able to quickly make it his own. The interior has definitely had some fantastic additions, adding bucket seats & a spread of vibrant colours throughout the interior, its very cool place to be.
For everything else he’s wanted done the car has been taken of by performance car specialist Automek. They have handled the harder tasks the PS13 needed done including the rust proofing & repairs.
However here comes the bad news, the PS13 is unfortunately up for sale & I was fortunate enough to be able to get the shots you see here, a parting shoot to remember this one by.
It is making way for something else & I don’t know about you but I’m looking forward to seeing what is next…
Engine – SR20DET (320BHP)
Produced 320BHP at the Fly on (15/05/17) Graph Included
Nismo 555cc Injectors
GReddy Front Mount
GReddy Boost Gauge
GReddy Light Weight Pulley’s
Garrett GT2561 Roller Bearing Turbo (Fresh Rebuild)
Apexi Air Filter
All Engine Gaskets Replaced
D1 Spec Oil Catch Can
Innovate AFR / Wide Band Gauge
Blitz Boost Controller
Unbranded Turbo Timer (Wired To Handbrake)
Front Mounted Oil Cooler
HKS Oil Filter
Titan 10/50 Race Oil
NGK Cooper Plugs
Japspeed Alloy Radiator
Owens Development Wastegate
Kakimoto Racing Exhaust (Track Friendly)
Digital GPS Speedometer (MPH & KPH)
Battery Relocated To Boot
ALWAYS ran on Shell V-Power (You can’t run it on anything less)
Chassis / Brakes / Wheels
Top Fuel Coilovers
Ikeya Formula Adjustable Rose Joints Front & Rear
Front & Rear Strut Braces
Japspeed Castor Arms
Kaaz 1.5 Way Diff
Cusco Half Cage
Zero Rust Underneath With A Fresh Underseal
Full 4 Wheel Alignment Carried Out Recently
D1 Spec 355mm 2 Piece Discs With 6 Pot Calipers (Front)
Stock Rears With Red Stuff Pads
Drift Button Handbrake
Cusco Master Cylinder Stopper
2 x Motamec Racing GP1 Bucket Seats (FIA – 2022)
2 x Driftworks Super Low Sidemount Seat Rails
2 x Genuine 4 Point Hardnesses With Seatbelt Buckle
350mm Neo Chrome / Dished Suede Steering Wheel
NRG Short Hub Boss Kit
Fire Extinguisher Installed In Glove Box
Custom Door Cards, Glovebox & Gear Knob Gaiter. (I still have all of the original parts untouched which will be included if the floral interior isn’t your thing).
Purple Bubble Long Gear Stick
JVC KW-V20BT Double Din Unit With Bluetooth / Phone
Stripped Back (I Still Have The Seats & Plastics)
Body / Exterior
Nissan L42 Red Purple Paint With Flake (Glitters In Sun)
Origin Lab Rear 55mm Fenders
Origin Lab Side Skirts / Front & Rear Bumper
EPRacing 30mm Front Fenders
DMax Carbon Bonnet
DMax Roof Spoiler
Rocket Bunny Rear Spoiler
Carbon Boot Lid
Aero Catches with keys
Rhino Lip Front & Side Splitters
Electric Folding Mirrors
Single Wiper Conversion
Rear Neon Lights With Controller
Rear Half Tinted Lights
Whichever side of the coin you have chosen, whether you are a supported of bikes or cars has been a hotly debated path ever since man jumped off of his horse and was thrust into the world of motorised transport, and realised “Hey these things are fun!”.
The Ace Cafe Stunt Festival featuring the Streetfighter Show & the Fueltopia Barrel Sprint looked set on settling this debate once and for all. Both sides would get to show their worth in their own disciplines before facing off against each other in a perfect display of raw rider & driver talent with a car vs bike barrel sprint.
From the moment the gates opened for the crowd, Wembley echoed with the roar of bikes & cars. From demo runs on the Barrel sprint track from the four wheeled competitors to the various stunt bike competitions taking place, there was simply never a dull moment.
The crowd for each camp was continually amped up throughout the day with high levels of skill being displayed. It wasn’t all just tarmac shredding two & four wheel mayhem however as there was plenty to see off track.
Static displays of bikes and cars were varied & ample & allowed each patriot of two or four wheel a chance to get up close and personal with each others offerings. Ace Cafe put on a hearty food stand so those could sit and discuss their discoveries & settle their differences. Throughout the day the atmosphere was buzzing, with plenty to see off & on the track, everyones attention was torn in all directions.
However As the afternoon sun started to heat up, all focus turned to the track as 7 of the best stunt riders would face 7 of the best barrel sprint drivers. The showdown was an awesome spectacle of petrolhead mayhem with drivers and riders being pushed to the limit. Ultimately it would be the cars that would take the victory but I think I can safely speak for everyone there when I say both sides were the winner.
Riders and drivers both earned each others respect, and the crowd echoed the same sentiments. Everyone watching was treated to an ultimate showdown. As the sun set, the content crowd left, completely satisfied by what they had witnessed. After this level of showcase I am certain that many of them felt like myself, and that is that we can only hope that we get to see more of this in the future.
As motorsport workshops go, a Rallycross garage is high up there in chasing world horsepower assisted destruction. With builds capable of enough power contained within its 4 storm trooper white walls to classify it as a Death Star replacement, perfectly capable of wiping out Alderaan sized planets at a moments notice. So when the invite came several years back to come check out LD Motorsport & take a peak behind the usually closed doors of this secretive team, we jumped at the chance!
Rallycross is a hugely competitive sport among all the teams involved so for all those spies out there, yeah thats right we’re on to you. This is 2013 garage shots from LD Motorsport, no trade secrets of the ongoing seasons are being revealed here. So if your just here to see how the cars are put together in absolute clinical detail then carry on scrolling.
The high level of organisation throughout the workshop means that the team know exactly where you can put your hand on that missing bolt, tool or any replacement parts, big or small. Each vehicle is regularly torn apart to a bare shell and rebuilt by assigned members of the full time staff there, each member knows exactly how they go together and how they work. With each car having at least two technicians assigned to it at time they don’t tread on each others toes, there is room to work & therefore productivity is high.
Looking around it was apparent that a few war wounds of the 2013 European Rallycross season are still on display, clearly this extra exhaust hole in the block of this DS3 was not part of the plan. Proudly displaying sponsorship banners around the building, & with Forge parts visible on every build its clear they are grateful for all the support they receive to make it all possible.
For such a small precise layout the variety of work happening at once is staggering. On one side the prep had begun for the 2014 season as two DS3’s went through a full rebuild, with a mass of parts coming off & others going back on even during the few hours we were there. The focus is on lightweight precision parts, the pedal boxes, the suspension, everything matters & the one thing I kept hearing was the achievements they have made in house in making parts lighter & stronger for use in their cars. Even a 10% reduction in weight is something to boast about in this game.
Alongside these new machines were several classics, including two normally ultra rare RS200’s in a varying state of preparation. One being the Pikes Peak machine that was crashed & rebuilt by the team at the last event it was in. The other ultra rare beast being the legendary ‘Rosie’ of Pat Doran that sadly went up in flames at Lydden Hill when he was behind the wheel,where luckily he escaped from it with only slight burns.
The garage has its trophies proudly on display as soon as you enter, a driving factor for the team. Clear evidence that with their professional attitudes and hard work they all put in on a daily basis all concludes in LD Motorsports achieving winning results across the world in European Rallycross, Global Rallycross and Xgames. championship battleground.