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

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:

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!

VSCC at Loton Park

The weekend was the annual visit of the Vintage Sports-Car Club to Loton Park in Shropshire. I went along today and was a little surprised by the lack of cars in the paddock as I arrived and it wasn’t long before I learned that with the Goodwood Revival next weekend many had decided to give Loton a miss in order to keep their cars in top condition. It was a shame because a lot of the more interesting cars for me (Edwardians and ERA’s) were just not there. I did my best though and came away with over 300 acceptable images which are now in a gallery on my website. Here is my favourite shot of the day:

1918 Piccard-Pictet Sturtevant Aero SPL

British Hillclimb Championship at Loton Park

In past years Loton Park has always hosted the opening round of the British Hillclimb Championship and so it was a change of the norm’ at the start of the year to see that Prescott had been given the honours for 2021. Fate intervened, however, and the continued Covid-19 lockdown in Scotland & Wales meant that it wouldn’t be fair to hold a round of the championship at that time (April) and so Loton Park once again hosted the first round over the weekend just gone.

With no spectators allowed it sadly lacked atmosphere even though it was a full entry list I certainly couldn’t find much enthusiasm and spent a good part of the morning talking to another photographer over a nice cup of tea and missing photographs of a large number of cars. When a magazine asked me for a list of images of different cars/drivers it was somewhat embarrassing to only be able to supply a very small offering. Must try harder next time!