The smell of exhaust fumes. The sound of turbocharged inline sixes. Tyre smoke filling my lungs and eyeballs. Heavy pack, uncomfortable fluro vest, shoulders sagging under the weight of multiple straps. In other words, it was great to be back!
It had been too long since I last properly photographed a Motorsport event (and no, the Grand Prix doesn't count), so I was very excited to finally be back for a long day of shooting.
As is often the case when I'm shooting, it takes me a while to get into the groove of things and get accustomed to my surroundings. However, I am feeling that the more I shoot, the less that time of 'lethargy' you could say is decreased.
Practice, Practice, Practice. It's the same for drifting too (and pretty much everything else).
I would also be showing a good friend of mine the rounds of drifting and capturing it through a lens. He did a great job for his first time out too!
Practice allowed the drivers to get used to the interesting layout. This layout, started on the banking of the Thunderdome, then turned onto the infield for the final hairpin. It was surprisingly used for the Australian round of the 2015 Formula Drift Asia Championship. How cool is that?
After watching qualifying, I made a mental note of a few people to watch. The first being Jackson Snell in his VE Commodore, the second being Michael Lake in his wide E36 sedan and third being the Datsun 200B of Chris Walker.
And of course Justin Gruener in his R33 Skyline, who took the number one spot in qualifying.
Notably, both Jackson Snell and Michael Lake were both beaten in the Top 32 by Marcus McCathie and Jason Heydon respectively. Because I hadn't watched Marcus or Jason too closely in practice or qualifying, both their wins seemed like upsets. But both would eventually get to the Top 4 and battle for podium spots.
Both Marcus McCathie and Cameron Martin would go all the way to the Final Battle, knocking off each opponent they came across. Marcus in particular defeated top qualifier Justin Gruener in the Top 8.
It would however be Cameron Martin in his R33 sedan that would take the win after a 'One More Time' battle against Marcus McCathie's multicoloured S13 SIlvia.
Scott Massari would also take the win of the People's Choice battle against Jay Slaney in his black R33 GT, who after making a mistake in the final hairpin, decided to do a massive burnout, just for fun!
At the end of the day, the first round of VicDrift's 2020 championship was full of close battles and smokey eyeballs for all. I really do hope we can come back for Round 2 on the 2nd of May. Check out the bonus gallery below for some more action at the Thunderdome.
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