It is probably fair to say that there are two types of people in the world, those that enjoy watching the world go serenely by and those that want to be strapped into a rally car screaming along a dirt or tarmac road. I’m firmly in the latter camp, but with helmet off and car-less, I took the tools of my day job with me to photograph last month’s Brakes Direct Border Ranges Rally. With a media pass dangling around my neck, I was able to wander through the service park and stages, ready for a blue sky day of rallying.
The start was – as is often the case – delayed, so I was forced to choose a vantage point best suited for that killer shot. Opposite the spectator park on Applegum Rd seemed to be a good place to start, and the inside corner worked out well in terms of positioning. The corner was tight enough that cars did have to slow down (a bit), the RWD cars got very sideways on exit spraying the crowd opposite with some dirt and dust. A few of the 4WD cars preferred the terminal understeer approach to the corner, while some did manage to throw it in sideways and scramble out all wheels blazing. All competitors got through cleanly, which should have helped calm down their first stage jitters.
After SS1, I headed to Hillyards to watch the last few cars make it through SS2, and although a very good spot based on the photos taken by others over the rally, I thought I would head into the stage after the Sweeper had gone through as there would be no cars on the stage. It only took about 500m from the end of the stage to find a suitable crest and cambered corner. SS6 was the next time the cars would come through, first with the Zero cars and then the loud and angry Quattro. Of all of the cars flying by, for some reason the Escorts throw up the most dirt and rocks. And although camera’s rarely like sunlight bursting straight in through the lens, its moments like those that add drama and help tell a little bit more of the story of this eventful day.
As SS6 wrapped up, the sun had well and truly set so I went back to the show grounds to see the marquees being pulled down, drivers were assessing the damage, winners were grinning and losers were contemplating just what minor improvements could get them those few vital seconds next time. It’s a time to assess and for organisers, teams and photographers alike, it’s a collective pat on the back for a job well done. To all of the organisers, competitors, and especially the volunteers, thanks for putting on a great day.