For me Gatebil Rudskogen is still the greatest event that I attend. Ask anyone else and they will tell you that it is getting tamer, ask any journalist that has been more than once and they will echo those thoughts.
I am here to argue against their inaccurate thoughts.
Gatebil will always be my highlight of the year. Other events have a long way to go before they can compete.
The reason why people might say it is declining is the very reason why the event itself is so hard to beat. Confused? Good, let me explain.
Nothing prepares you for your first experience of the Gatebil festival. It is sensory overload. It is exhausting. It is massive and it never stops!
From the minute you get there to the time you leave you will assaulted with tyre smoke, ear splitting engines, thumping EDM, blazing heat, a sun that never sets and track action that starts before you even wake up! This goes on for four days!!!
I haven’t even mentioned the cars yet. Sponsored teams and drivers turn up with their flashy paddock setups and their brutally powerful and well style cars. The public turn up with their bat shit crazy Frankenstein cars.
A walk through the paddock will leave your head spinning, you may even require a trip to the hospital with all that neck snapping!
People, teams, fans, media, staff, EVERYONE is friendly and down for a good time.
And that, all of the above is the reason why people say it is declining. Experience all of that and our perverted need for that next high will expect more from next time?
What? What more do you need? Tell me, how can it get any better? No seriously, I wanna know! What specifically didn’t you enjoy? You wanted more? What then?
Gatebil doesn’t need to get any better, it already is better than pretty much everything else. Go back to enjoying for what it is, trust me, you’ll enjoy it more.
Now for those of you how don’t know what Gatebil is, rather than trying to explain it. I’ve made a video showing you instead. You see I’ve covered this event for 4 years and I have failed to convey what it is every time. So watch this and hopefully you’ll have a better idea.
Players Classic has come back around to the wonderful grounds of Goodwood Race Circuit and with it, a raft of improvements. Full disclosure, this is the only car show that I get excited about so I will try and avoid as much hyperbole as I can. I can’t promise too much though.
Saturday kicked off in a very familiar fashion as last year with cars pouring into the venue early doors to settle in their pre-defined spots. The grass verges before the track were covered in club stands and groups of people relaxing and chatting, punctuated by immaculate builds. The sun was out, shades were on and the soundtrack was a cacophony of cars ripping around the track. I mentioned on our very own Fueltopia podcast that I still get nervous/excited/anxious before events and this was no different.
Rather than dive straight in, I left the camera in the bag and walked around to just take it in. I stopped a few friends and fellow photographers and caught up, after all, isn’t that what these events are all about? Just having a social? I’ll get onto that a bit later on.
Hellos taken care of, it was time to whip out the camera. (Warning, lots of images below) There is more after this gallery…
…a place that I have always wanted to go to. Think of it as an automotive sweet shop and I am the young kid that has been let in on good behavior.
Mark Palmer, very kindly let myself and fellow #Fueltographer Phil (Paps) into his garage to have a look and light paint one of the supercars. The Supercar Rooms is a literal cave of excitement, cars from the highest of marques and makes keep each other company, waiting to be sold on to their new owners. There is also a full service garage here where Mark and his team take good care of your pride and joy.
Have a look at the video to see around the amazing workshop and have a little insight into how I light painted this stunning McLaren 650s Le Mans Edition by MSO.
I have already asked Mark to let me know as soon as they have some ’80s supercars in there so that we can revisit and shoot some of my childhood pinups.
Round two of Fueltopia Barrel Sprint, left us with the question, is Ryan Milton, unstoppable? Maybe.
Last weekend, FBS, was hosted at Rockingham Motor Speedway and once again it was one driver that has started to place his stamp on the sport. Having joined the series in 2016 it’s now in 2018 that the skills and car have seemed to clicked.
Barrel Sprint was born from a want to create a driver development series. Car control and consistency is key. While from the outside in, it could be looked at as a simple thing to do, but to be fast and consistent under race conditions takes something more.
There is no denying that the Mazda MX-5 could be the new weapon of choice, furthermore backed up by Spencer Peacock, snatching the Hard Charger award for this performance over the weekend and is showing skills that could have him in top step contention in the coming rounds. His journey on the day was not easy, after a mechanical failure in practice, Spencer found himself out for the day whilst he relied on team mates to bring spare parts for an overnight fix. It was then that Philip Staniford offered him a double drive in his Nankang Tyres MX5. This generous gesture see Spencer qualify 3rd and finish 4th overall in the battles.
However, the new wave of drivers still have to contend with the vetrans of the sport. Adam Elder returned to compete in the Barrel Sprint this weekend and took silver. While Mark Young, bagged the bronze trophy and a much deserved points on the board from South Coast based team, Team Japs.
Jonathan ‘Bucky’ Buck defended well all weekend and not only qualified first, took his winning streak over to the podium too in his Neon Scooby Clinic Subaru Impreza.
Round three is scheduled to return to Santa Pod on the 9th June and with four rounds remaining, it’s going to be a tight season at the top of the table and the gloves will be off.
The new barrel running order is proving to be the change up that the sport needed and Race Director Becci Glbert said “ This season has been incredible so far. We’ve seen new faces on the podium and it’s looked like many of the drivers have taken the long winter break to make sure their cars are totally dialled. I’m really looking forward to the remaining races and the battles that come with it. “
Thanks to championship partners for helping to deliver these events; SamcoSport, Ruislip Tyres, Icaris Timing Solutions, CTRL, HPI racing, Hel Performance, Jelf Motorsport, Aireshelta Inflatables and Syclone signs and graphics.
Ryan Milton (32.894 Q)
Jonathan Buck (30.521 Q)
Qualifying & Battles
Andy Biddle (31.375 Q)
Hard Charger- Spencer Peacock
Team Challenge 2018
Phil Staniford & Kraigy Haughton- MonkeydriftUK 14
It’s the Mecca of car shows, the UK’s spiritual home of drag racing and the birth of European Gymkhana, Santa Pod can be the kindest and the most brutal of venues. This weekend luck was onside, and the opening season of the Fueltopia Barrel Sprint was granted sunshine and a whole bunch of amazing racing action.
While winter off-season has felt like it was never ending, it just made the return even sweeter. Fresh new liveries, partnerships and racers packed out the paddock on the top of Santa Pod’s exhibition space. While the series is now eight years old, the format was brand new. Rather than the 1-2-3 Barrel Sprint, racers had to combo a sequence to get through, 2-3-1-3 and complete both sides of the track for a now combined time.
While the skill set is neat, tidy and fast, the mix up of barrel sequence brought out new attributes and strengths to the cars. In Qualification the Mazda Army still kept strong with Team Monkey Drift’s, Phil Staniford, taking P1. Hotly followed up by Ryan Milton in P2, Mike Newland, Team JAPS, in P3 and his team mate, Mark Young in P4.
The AWD class had grown too in the wintery months. A few RWD racers have decided to jump up a class and challenge those at the top of the tables. It was 16-year-old, Ben Dryburgh, who turned up in his father’s Subaru Impreza. While it’s still remarkable that this young-gun racer is still at school, it was also his first race outing in the AWD machine and he snatched P6 position a mere 3.7 seconds off the most decorated Gymkhana driver in European history, Dmitri Sribnyj who unsurprisingly took P1. Bucky and his eye assaulting Impreza tailed hard on the heavy-weight champ in P2 just 0.01 seconds off pace, while Andy Stevens hassled the top two with P3 and Michael Irwin caused concern in P4.
In the U1 class, our Unlimited open wheel division, the battle was brotherly, and love was not lost when the visor snapped shut on the Biddle brothers – Andy found some marginal fraction of seconds in their GBS Zero over brother Nick – but this will be a battle that will rage all season and hopefully a class that will find some formidable challengers in this impressive power-to-weight division.
While the Barrel Sprint is short and fast, a perfect training ground for car control and driver training, the action that unfolded this weekend was nothing short of gargantuan.
Each battle was split by just 100ths of a second and the new running format gave the fans a lot more to keep them entertained. While each driver drove hard and fast, the clocks don’t lie and while you couldn’t call it by eye, the Portatree Timing System brought out some big results.
In the RWD Class, Ryan Milton, fought off everyone and landed himself the top spot position and his first win in the Barrel Sprint and a new SamcoSport trophy for the cabinet – a great season opener for him and a driver to watch. Mark Young, a name that is infamous in the paddock for getting cars and other drivers on the steps, also joined Ryan on the podium with his first finish on the steps of glory. Mike Newland followed suit and snatched up third position.
AWD class brought some stand-up battles and the big hitters, Sribnyj and Bucky, brought such an exciting showdown. Bucky took advantage of the quicker right hand lane and went into the lane switch ahead of the seasoned Champ. But, then the Nuclear driving force of Sribnyj turned up and then set a decimating time in response and sealed the deal for the top spot. Andy Stevens and Michael Irwin fought hard and it looked like Irwin fought the car as well as Stevens on the asphalt, allowing the ESL Subaru to claim third.
The teams and drivers won’t get long now till round two at Rockingham Motor Speedway on May 05 ahead of the Formula G opener on May 06 – will you be amongst the drivers?
Thanks to all our sponsors for continued support in the 2018 season: CTRL, SamcoSport, HPI- racing, Icaris, Ruislip Tyres, Jelf Motorsport Insurance, Hel Performance, Syclone Signs and Graphics and Aireshelta
1- Phil Staniford (33.279 Q)
2- Ryan Milton
3- Mike Newland
4- Mark Young
1- Ryan Milton
2- Mark Young
3- Mike Newland
4- Philip Staniford
Qualifying & Battles
1- Dmitrij Sribnyj (31.905 Q)
2- Jonathan Buck
3- Andy Stevens
4- Michael Irwin
Qualifying & Battles
1- Andy Biddle (33.321 Q)
2- Nick Biddle
Hard Charger- Richard Tickner
Team Challenge 2018
Philip Staniford & Kraigy Haughton MonkeydriftUK (6+4) 10
Dmitrij Sribnyj & Jonathan Buck Team SCR (10+8) 18