main

EventVideo

From Four To Two

24th November 2017 — by Dan Fegent

34952946320_b047ad3c70_k-960x683.jpg

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.

Words & pictures by Dan Fegent

Vlogs

Cutting Room Floor

Event

SEMA 2017 – Does America Do It Better?

23rd November 2017 — by Mike Newland

2Q6A5026-1-960x640.jpg

SEMA 2017 – Las Vegas, Nevada

For anyone who hasn’t heard of SEMA, it’s an automotive mecca to which thousands travel every year. Featuring some of the most highly tuned and modified cars, unreleased prototypes and a lot of lifted trucks.

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

For the UK car show fans, think Autosport International at the Birmingham NEC. However you could fit that entire show in one hall at SEMA and still have room for more. It also contains a huge trade section, selling almost anything you could want for a car.

SEMA Show 2017

Just in case you were after a truck to carry your dirt buggy you can find that here also. Along with a selection of other amazingly prepared off road vehicles. Ranging from competition trucks to crazy builds just for the sake of it.

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

The car of the show for me was the new 301 MPH Hennessey Venom F5. Featuring a super light weight carbon fibre body, weighing in at just 2,965 lbs. With its twin turbo V8 engine it develops 1600 horsepower.

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

If the Venom doesnt do it for you, then you can take a look at a massive range of super cars. From Bugatti, Ferrari, the stunning Mclaren P1 and everything else in between.

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

Lets suppose drifting and gymkhana are more your sort of thing. On display this year was Ken Blocks stunning Hoonicorn V2, along with Baggsy’s new Nissan GTR, which those of you at this years Goodwood Festival of Speed would have already seen tearing up the fabled hill climb. Ken Blocks new Escort Cosworth was also proudly on display.

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

Literally having something for every car fan amongst us, after walking around the static displays you can check out some live action. From drifting in the centre area to off road buggy’s.

SEMA Show 2017

SEMA Show 2017

There is something for everyone at SEMA and I cant wait to go back again!

Words & Pictures – Mike Newland

EventVideo

Behind the scenes: Formula G Pilot TV Show

18th November 2017 — by Fueltopia Events

formula_g_062-960x640.jpg

Back in July the Fueltopia event team headed to Rockingham Motor Speedway to host their first event at the iconic racing venue.

Taking over the entire outer paddock the Formula G, Gymkhana track was set out and the sun shone on for what was set to be an epic day of head to head racing.

Not only was this venue a first for Formula G, we also held a competition to give drivers and supporters the chance to design the track. Some great designs were entered but our winning track was drawn by Philip Staniford of Monkey Drift.

Photographers and Videographers are common place in the paddock and track side at events, capturing all the action, but on this occasion we sent Fueltographer Dave Cox to Rockingham to capture a behind the scenes look at what, new to full scale motorsport broadcast media team CTRL was getting up to at round 4.

CTRL the team behind RC Racing TV contacted us earlier this year with a vision of using their expertise gained in producing programs about radio controlled cars to create a new pilot for a TV show all about Gymkhana. They see it as the new breakthrough in racing and something different to what is currently shown on many motoring channels.

When first looking at this project, Mat the director said “As soon as we saw the events that Fueltopia did we loved how exciting, accessible and ‘real’ the racing was, we cant wait to show this to everyone else too”. Kitted up with 5 cameramen, 3 high rise platforms and our very own Nigel Pope on the mic, we were extremely excited to see what this could become.

The team was there to capture everything they could and turn it into a pilot TV show soon to be released on national channels.

On completion of the project Mat is looking ahead to an exciting year and working together with the Fueltopia event team. “Making the pilot was a blast” he said” the whole Formula G team and the racers have been awesome to work with and we are ready to share the excitement and serve more of this up to viewers in 2018″

So make yourself a cup of tea, click the link below, enjoy the next 24 minutes of Formula G Round 4 action and if this makes you want to join us as a driver or spectator next year drop Becci our event manager an email with any queries and follow our facebook page for 2018 updates

 

 

 

Event

Veterans of the Car World

10th October 2017 — by Phil McCusker

P12C6716-960x640.jpg

“You’re in the desert… why would the car need wind-shield wipers?

Imagine spending the week, looking at impressive builds in the worlds biggest car show, SEMA. Sounds like a dream…. Right?

No. Las Vegas has been the hub of one of the largest Automotive events for several years, the show itself has been going for a lot longer than I have been around, but there are some guys that have been tinkering with cars, for as long as the SEMA show has been around, and probably before.

We were looking for something else, less crazy than the builds we spotted at SEMA…

Cue a 3 Hour drive via the Mojave Desert, to Lake Havasu City, AZ

Next to a Man Made lake in Arizona, stands 43 Square Miles of desert town, steeped in Military history after being founded as an Army Air Corps camp back in the 1950’s so it makes sense that we stumbled upon a Veterans Car meet.

I have always been a fan of the car culture in America, the builds are often insane and I have always had a soft spot for american muscle.

This green ’63 Thunderbird was no exception, the fine attention to every detail was obvious that this car had been built with a lot of love over the last few years, for a car that was over 50 Years Old, it was in better condition than most show cars that I have seen in the UK.

Small Details, when in the Desert, you don’t need everything. The minimal yearly rainfall, means that you can get away with not having wipers, not that I can imagine the torque heavy V8 that breathes life into the Green machine would be fun to drive in the Rain!

This Richard Petty inspired Plymouth Belvedere was a throwback to the ’66 & ’67 NASCAR Grand National Season, was it a genuine Petty Car? I Sadly don’t have the answer for that, perhaps it is, going by the Trophies that were found near the car.

“Fast Toys, aren’t just for the Boys”

I found an amazing atmosphere in Lake Havasu, everybody had the time for everyone else, there was no, I’m better than you Chevy Guys, you Ford Guys, nothing, the feeling of a passion bringing people together in one place was overwhelming, for some of them, this wasn’t the first time they had met, with many having served tours around the world, from Vietnam all the way to some of the most recent campaigns.

As I walked around, having video called some people back home in the UK, scanning the array of metal that surrounded me, I found myself looking for smaller details, oddities and just general cool things

I then spotted something that looked a bit out of place.

When I first cast my eye over towards this Chevy Nova, I noticed a POW MIA Ribbon on the back, nothing unusual to find in the United States, they are very proud as a Nation when it comes to their Military, but as I looked closer I found that there was not one, but two Hummingbirds, one hidden below the Ribbon, signifying the sacrifice that someone has made, for their Country, that they were so proud of, that they felt the need to defend it at the ultimate cost.

This was an unusual sight, but a prime example of the dedication to the cars here, this was a C6 Generation Corvette, but the rear end took a moment, it has a ’63 Stingray rear end, which you would almost take for granted the amount of work that would go into this, the paint, the general thought process to come up with the idea in the first place is just beyond what I could dream up.

I will return one day to Lake Havasu City, hopefully with some cold hard cash and head for the Docks in a piece of American Car history.

Words & Pictures – Phil McCusker

Event

FBS goes Live at Japshow finale

2nd October 2017 — by Craig Toull

IMG_3034ed-960x604.jpg

The 5th round of the 2017 Fueltopia Barrel Sprint took place on 1st October and saw the FBS championship integrating with the Japshow Finale at Santa Pod Raceway. The Barrel Sprint track moved to the Live action arena to provide entertainment to those coming straight through the gate, giving the spectators a grandstand view of the action from the top of the hill. The smaller width with less run off, brung the concrete blocks closer alongside the track, giving a new mental challenge to the drivers.

The morning practice began on a wet and very greasy track surface, this causing even the current championship leaders a few teething issues. Once the drivers had dialed in the conditions and the surface started to dry the times started to drop. Practice continued until lunchtime and the drivers started to prepare themselves for qualifying, with only a few weeks to go until the Gymkhana Grid Finals in South Africa some of the drivers had made rather drastic alterations to their vehicles (including totally new engines, addition of race fuel and whole new engine calibrations) and this gave them the perfect opportunity to test the cars before they are loaded onto a boat.

After a short lunch break a further 30 mins of practice was given to the drivers before qualifying. This also saw the return of Jake Archer in a borrowed car take to the track. Qualifying began after the practice session and it was soon very apparent that there were going to be some very close battles.

Qualifying results were in and it would see a top 16 format in RWD, top 4 in AWD, top 3 in U1 and top 2 in FWD. Battles commenced and results started to come in, the times were that close it came down to reaction times on the 3rd and 4th position battle for RWD, Ryan Milton vs Philip Staniford in their turbocharged MX5s, the win went to Philip in his military inspired MX5. The final battle seeing Mike Newland and Adam Elder go head to head for 1st place, Adam taking the top spot and putting Mike in 2nd.

Again in the 4WD class reaction time would be the deciding factor, after a quick check it was found that with only a 0.1 second reaction time difference we would see Jonathan Buck get the top spot, with Dmitrij Sribnyj taking 2nd and Andrew Stevens in 3rd.

U1 class would see Andy Biddle taking 1st place, Nick Biddle taking 2nd and Tim Eardley taking 3rd.

Front wheel drive class only involved 2 drivers this weekend, Sean Franklin in his Ford puma and Jake Archer borrowing Seans puma. The win would unexpectedly go to Jake in the borrowed car.

The final round of the year takes place in 2 weeks time at Santa Pod Raceway and if you would like to be involved then visit the FBS website for more information, make sure your car meets the minimum requirements and turn up with your driving licence for a chance to be on that podium.

Photos and words by Craig Toull

Additional photo content: