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Event

FBS goes Live at Japshow finale

2nd October 2017 — by Craig Toull

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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

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Event

Barrel Sprint Rocks

2nd August 2017 — by Craig Toull

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Saturday the 29th of July saw the Fueltopia Barrel Sprint return for round 3 of the 2017 championship.

This time instead of the usual venue of Santa Pod Raceway, the barrel sprint track was setup at Rockingham Motor Speedway. With a slightly cambered track surface in the outer paddock and a different surface material this would make for interesting results.

With perfect track conditions the drivers were setting blisteringly quick times during practice. Some already surpassing the times set at previous events held at Santa Pod with times down as low as 18.1 seconds .

This event also saw the return of Hadley Fulbrook in his S14 (nicknamed the smurf) and after not competing all season it soon became apparent he was here for only one thing and that was a podium finish. With everyone already working out where they would be on the leader board through points it could really stir things up if someone else came into the mix and took a podium position.

After a short break for lunch we went into qualifying and it was soon apparent just how close the times were between all the drivers, Nobody could call it from spectating and everyone gathered around the podium to hear the results. With only 0.18 seconds splitting the top 3 drivers it’s no wonder no one could guess.

It was then straight into the battles, which saw some even closer racing than the rest of the day and the times fall even lower. Going into the finals would be Adam Elder against Hadley Fulbrook in the RWD class, Dmitrij Sribnyj against Yordan Andreev in AWD class and Andrew Biddle against Mark Elder in U1 class.

The results of the finals aren’t released until after the race so everyone gathered around the podium to wait for the results….

RWD- 1st place-Adam Elder, 2nd place Hadley Fulbrook and 3rd place going to Mike Newland.

AWD-1st place-Dmitrij Sribnyj, 2nd place Yordan Andreev and 3rd place going to Andrew Stevens.

U1- 1st place- Andrew Biddle, 2nd place Mark Elder, and 3rd place Nick Biddle

Each event has a hardcharger award, this was awarded to Oak Richardson in his 350z on his first ever event.

Words and photos by Craig Toull

Event

Sunshine and Tyre Smoke

21st June 2017 — by Ben Gaut

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The day before Drift Cup Round 3 was an invite-only practice day at Rockingham Race Way. For me, this was my first time ascending on Rockingham but I had heard amazing things from fellow Fueltographer Shooting Dave. I was so hyped to get down and see what it was all about. Being the second practice day I had shot this year, I was ready to see some action!

Now it’s safe to say the weather was the polar opposite of when I had my first outing of the year, it looked like I had traded in the snow and freezing temperatures for some amazing sunshine and a full on heat wave! Perfect for some smoky door to door action!

The main man behind Drift Cup ‘Sweeps’ had laid out a seriously awesome track which was perfect for the drivers. He also threw in a few hard hitting walls for good measure. It’s safe to say I didn’t see a single car without a dent in their rear quarters by lunch time, everyone was gunning for them. Just gradually edging closer and closer, before well you know the story!

The driving was on a whole different level, some of the best drift trains I have seen in the UK for a while outside of a show demo or major event!

As the weather stayed on our side and just got hotter and hotter, so I thought I would take the time to get off track side and out of the oven and into some cars and see how the track felt from the drivers perspective. It certainly didn’t disappoint, everyone was hunting for doors and pushing their cars to the absolute limit!

I managed to jump out with Monkey London, now this was an experience in itself, if you haven’t already, then do head over & check out his youtube channel. However I am telling you now, jumping in the car was like I had just stepped into a drifting documentary with David Attenborough! I then looked to my left to see Phil Morrison from Driftworks, hunting down my door and the adrenaline kicked in. I had only one option, to do what I do best, grab the camera and start firing.

The Practice day also meant that some of the Drift Cup drivers could get a day on track before the big event the following day and you could see for some of them just having that extra seat time really pulled through on the Sunday!

Now for me, I am pretty much out of words for this one – but thank you Sweeps and the team for an awesome day. Below are some more snaps from the day.

Event

Gymkhana Giants take back the podium

16th May 2017 — by Fueltopia Events

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This Sunday a new track was laid out at Santa Pod Raceway and 29 drivers came to master it.

A mornings practice soon dried out the wet track from the downpour overnight, with times dropping rapidly as drivers learnt the track line.

Once more we had some first timers join the field and it didn’t take long for them to show that they had true skill and would be contenders when it came to the battles

Our smallest class had regular auto test driver Carl Harper join us in his Vauxhall Nova, which in all the tracks twists and turns spent more time on three wheels than four! He showed great skill and speed setting the fastest qualifying time but unfortunately loosing out in the finals by over shooting the stop box and gaining a DNF to see series veteran Sean Franklin take the top spot.

The Biddle brothers were joined again in our Unlimited class by Mark Elder for round 3 and it was great to see him really pushing the brothers and knocking down his track PB all day. In qualifying Andy Biddle took the top spot with a 33.1 second run.  In a battle for the spot against him in the final Mark took on Nick in their closest battle to date, with Mark knocking another second of his track PB. It was nick however to face off once more against Andy, with Andy eventually taking the top spot.

Marks efforts however had not gone unnoticed by our Hard Charger Jury, who awarded him with recognition to how much his driving improved throughout the day.

The AWD class qualifying couldn’t have been closer so it was all to play for in the knockouts. Reigning champion Dmitrij Sribnyj hadn’t had a great start to the season so far, with mechanical issues leaving him off that top spot that he has grown used too,  and a new standard engine replacement required after complete failure at a recent event, but he topped qualifying giving him a bye straight into the semi finals.

The rest of the class went head to head and Dmitrij was soon joined by Andrew Stevens, Jonathan Buck and Yordan Andreev, all of whom have been on the podium already this season.

With a tight course and pressure running high, lots of penalties accumulated and it wasn’t always the first in the box taking the win

A battle for 3rd and 4th between Andy Stevens and Jonathan Buck, see both drivers pick up a penalty on their runs in the left lane, with Bucky taking the last spot on the podium.

The final between current championship leader Yordan Andreev and ScoobyClinic driver Dmitrij should have been a close battle but once again, Sribnyj showed us all why he is the Gymkhana champ and dropped both his runs to 32 seconds storming over the finish clearly ahead of his competitor.

Rear wheel hosts our biggest class and we battle from the top 16 of the day. 6 seconds split the top from the bottom in qualifying with Luke Woodham taking the fastest time by 0.5 seconds over Adam Elder who was currently sitting at the top of the 2017 championship after taking the win at round 2 when Woodham overshot the stop box in the final.

As we worked through the battles we saw high powered S bodies take on the quick and nimble field of MX5s proving power is not everything when it comes to mastering Gymkhana.

A top 8 battle between Mike Newland and Ryan Milton proved just this with just 0.6 seconds splitting the two over the two runs, until the times are added no one can tell by eye who would have taken the win, but it was Ryan who went into the Semis this time

A closer battle ensued between Philip Staniford in his MX5 and Mantas Sliogeris in his Honda s2000 with just 0.08 seconds splitting the two drivers.

The semi finals were made up of 2 MX5s vs 2 s14s, and it was here we see Ryan Milton retire due to a broken drive shaft, giving Elder the spot in the final against Woodham and an automatic award of 3rd place to Philip Staniford. Never the way we want to see final battles go but we know Ryan will get it fixed and will be fighting once more for those podium spots at round 4.

So the final was one we have seen many times before, and after his mistake at round 2 Luke was ready to make this one count and take back that top spot and £100 Nankang cheque. His driving from run one in practice had been on point all day, showing the field why he is three time European and 2016 Formula G Gymkhana champion.

Pressure on Adam was high, these guys have faced off many times and this is all about all important championship points and bragging rights! This round was Luke’s for the taking with a 4 second lead overall after Adam picked up a penalty hitting a cone in the right lane. This has now pushed Woodham up from 4th to first in the championship, with Adam on his heels with 1 point to catch him, we have a feeling this is going to right to the final round this year.

As usual all drivers rallied around for the podium presentations and champagne fights! See you all at Rockingham for Round 4 of the championship on Sunday 30th July. Tickets are available on the store now

 

 

Topic

Getting Ready for Speedway

4th May 2017 — by Andi Gordon

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As I sit here on the afternoon of Sunday April 23rd, I’m feeling excited. Later this week I’ll be flying to London, to fly to Croatia, to drive to Slovenia for the first round of the 2017 Speedway Grand Prix series. As I’m waiting to head to the coast tonight for a sunset photo mission, I figured I’d have a look through my archives at what kind of thing I got at this event last year, and then inevitably ended up doing re-edits, then looked at more from other events and now I’m doing a blog post. I’ve not even checked if my batteries are charged or if my filters and lenses are clean. I’m kind of on a bit of a crest of a wave.

I’ll state just now, that I’m not going to give you a season in review, who did what kind of post. A) that just ain’t me and B) I’m always that concentrated on trying to get a shot that I can never remember what happened. Instead I’m going to kind of just babble on for a bit, trying to straddle the line between each paragraph seeming like an ill conceived caption and going off on one like a pompous arse.

This upcoming season will be my third shooting Speedway for Monster Energy. Whereas in the previous years I entered the season feeling nervous, woefully under prepared and ill-equipped for the year ahead, this time round I feel ready to crush it. Speedway isn’t a particularly difficult sport to shoot. The bikes are on an oval, and go past you every fifteen seconds on a relatively narrow stretch of track. You know where you are, where the riders are going to be. If you have a basic understanding of how a camera works, there’s a decent chance you will get something usable.

It is however exceedingly difficult to get creative, expressive shots of Speedway. For that kind of stuff you need to build relationships with riders, mechanics, managers and anyone else who you are going to get in the way of while cutting about in the pits.

A pit for a speedway bike is probably about the same size as your garden shed. There will be about 3 mechanics, 4 helmets, a seat for the rider to try and relax between races, A TV showing the broadcast for the event, at least one roll cab toolbox and top box. It’s not a huge area. Then you add in the TV crew that come over and try and get the interview after a heat. There ain’t a lot of space for creativity that’s for sure.

That however is my job. Get the shots that nobody else is getting in an incredibly frenetic space that adds to the story and overall atmosphere of an event. The best part is I love doing it. I am as excited to catch up with friends as I am to shoot. I have plans and ideas. I feel I have also matured since I last shot speedway as photographer and more importantly as an editor.

 

As the new season dawns I feel more ready than I ever have. That’s a pretty good feeling.

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