Inspiration required – enquire within.

How do you find inspiration to photograph a venue that you’ve been going to, on-and-off, for over forty years? In my case, read a book. Not whilst you are taking the photographs mind, that would be counter-intuitive, but beforehand. I’m part-way through a very interesting book; it’s not about photography per se, but a photographers story about his ‘journey’ through life complete with plenty of anecdotes and guidance. When I’ve finished reading it I’ll publish a review on this blog but at the moment all you need to know is that it gave me the motivation to find some new shots at the Loton Park speed hillclimb this weekend, a selection of which you can find below. The rest are on a gallery on my website.

Pretty much how I feel behind my camera sometimes || © John Hallett Photography

On a (slightly) related note, Alex Summers, 2015 British Hillclimb Champion and almost always in the top 5, had a guest drive in Terry Graves single-seater yesterday (his first time in the car) and still managed to be fastest driver up the hill on the day. It just goes to show that no matter how technically advanced the car, driver skill still plays a huge part. Not unlike photography really – no matter how new and expensive the camera and lens, it’s the person pressing the shutter that really makes the photograph.

Alex Summers, Gould DJ55XD || © John Hallett Photography
Mark Honey, Peugeot 205 GTI || © John Hallett Photography
A rare ‘off’ by Dave Warner, Renault Clio 197 || © John Hallett Photography
Roger Moran, Skoda Fabia R5 || © John Hallett Photography

Championship start

It was the first two rounds of the British Hillclimb Championship 2022 this weekend held at Prescott hillclimb in Gloucestershire. Once again this year I’ve been requested to supply photographs for the Hillclimb & Sprint Association (HSA) magazine ‘Speedscene‘ to accompany writer Jerry Sturman’s articles on the championship; which I’ve been doing for a few years now covering the Prescott, Shelsley Walsh and Loton Park events.

Steven Darley, Subaru Legacy || © John Hallett Photography
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Easter Sunday motorsport

Easter Sunday – what does it mean to you? religious festival? chocolate egg? Well for me it means it’s usually the first competition weekend of the speed hillclimb season at Loton Park in the village of Alberbury near Shrewsbury in Shropshire, and so with uncharacteristically good Bank Holiday weather I headed in a westerly direction to capture the action. This first event also has a contingency of motorbikes which is a fairly rare event at hillclimbs (although I will be attending a charity bike event later in the year) and it’s always a good opportunity to capture shots of their different approach lines to the corners and a welcome change from just four-wheeled vehicles.

So here are a few photographs from the day, concentrating primarily on those motorbikes (and sidecars):

© John Hallett Photography
© John Hallett Photography
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Hillclimb season begins

Sunday saw my first motorsport ‘speed hillclimb’ event of 2022 and, as per every year, it took place at my local venue, Loton Park at Alberbury, near Shrewsbury in Shropshire. When I say ‘local’ it is a pleasant 30 mile journey through the Shropshire countryside although I calculated that with todays ridiculous fuel prices it actually cost me £12 for the round trip. The cost of travelling to motorsport events this year is something that I will seriously have to pay attention to.

At the finish line || © John Hallett Photography

Speed hillclimbs are run on tarmacadam courses with the aim of getting to the top quicker than everyone else. Although some motorbikes enter it is generally limited to cars – everything from a family run-around to a highly-tuned single seater racing car. There are obviously different classes to give everyone a fair chance although there is usually a top-12 run-off for the overall fastest on the day.

© John Hallett Photography
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My motorsport season looms

Just into the new year and I’ve already had a reminder from the Vintage Sports-Car Club to register my media interests for the forthcoming season. Together with my other accreditation at Loton Park, Shelsley Walsh & Prescott it means that my motorsport calendar is already full (in fact it may need some thinning out).

Let’s hope that none of the days are as wet as the one below:

Another cover shot

I received the September / October issue of Speedscene magazine today which has one of my images as the cover shot and a further 10 images within: five from Prescott on 25th July and five from Shelsley Walsh on 15th August.

2021 hillclimb finale

Today was my last hillclimb event of 2021. It took place at Prescott and involved an assembly of rally cars from through the years (and a few others). To be honest I was a little disappointed with the entry – no Audi Quatros, Metro 6R4’s, RS200’s, Cosworth Sapphire’s – all rally cars that I went to see back in the days of the RAC Rally stages in the Welsh forests.

So that’s it for my motorsport for 2021. Now time for another project which will take place in the warmth & dry of my studio through the Winter months.

A 6L Holden Commodore enters a ray of sunshine

British Hillclimb Championship finale

Sunday saw the final of the 2021 British Hillclimb Championship at Loton Park. The top 6 places had already been decided because any points gained on the day wouldn’t change their position – but there were still the lower places to be decided and, of course, some were chasing the hill record. And chase they did – unbelievably the hill record was broken 17 times with Wallace Menzies taking top spot on the last drive of the day.

So that’s the end of competitive hillclimbing photography for me this year – just one more event at Prescott next Sunday with some rally cars and I’ll be hanging up my kit bag up for the Winter. However, I have a photography project planned to keep me occupied – watch this space!

Vintage finale

Today saw the final speed event of the VSCC calendar with a hillclimb at Prescott. It was a misty start but the sun soon broke through and the afternoon was positively warm – not bad considering it’s Autumn now. Here are a few random images from the day:

Nearing the end

As soon as events have the word ‘finale’ in their title you know that the end is nigh. And so it was at Shelsley Walsh yesterday with their last competition event of the 2021 hillclimbing season. Unfortunately it wasn’t the most exciting entry list although there were a number of classic cars from the 1960’s which always appeal to me (probably because I grew up with them!) Here’s a few shots of them: