Past the finish line

It was a pleasing end to my motorsport photography season to have the cover shot of the British Hillclimb Champion 2022, Wallace Menzies, on the front of the November/December edition of Speedscene magazine. Inside, there were a further five of my photographs from the Prescott event in September and six from the Loton Park finale at the end of the same month – including the all-important ‘class of 2022’ group shot.

It also marks the end of my motorsport photography ‘journey’ (for the time being, at least) having recently sold my 35mm gear to concentrate on medium format photography, which doesn’t lend itself particularly well to sports. For almost a decade I’ve enjoyed this fast-paced genre but I feel that it is time to move on now and explore other avenues.

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The long and winding….hill

Today saw the last Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) speed event of 2022 – the second visit to Prescott but this time on the long course which takes in Ettore’s loop. It was a one-day event and so there were two practice runs in the morning and two competition runs after lunch. Prescott has a return road and so the on-track action is relentless which explains how they can get through the 150+ entries with relative ease, although it still takes about 2 hours for them all to take their turn. You could tell that Autumn has started with the low-lying early morning sun casting shadows across the track and the cold wind that caught you by surprise as a reminder you that you should have taken a coat!

Here is a very quick selection from the day and I hope to post more later in the week. Why? – because after the relatively relaxed pace of todays vintage meeting, tomorrow I’ll be attending the season finale of the British Hillclimb Championship at Loton Park. The overall winner has yet to be decided and it all rests on the two run-offs. Exciting stuff!

Getting ready for their run || © John Hallett Photography
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Penultimate climb

Yesterday was the penultimate hillclimb of the 2022 British Hillclimb Championship held at the Prescott in Gloucestershire. The overall title position is still up for grabs and it won’t be decided until the final round at Loton Park in a few weeks time – but any points gained yesterday could have a bearing on the eventual rankings.

It was a bit of a strange day with sporadic showers leading to a very slippery track at times and almost an hours stoppage to extract a spectator who had tumbled down a bank. However, in-between there was some very spirited driving.

Wallace Menzies has to wait until Loton Park to see if he has grabbed the title once again || © John Hallett Photography
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Head for the hills

There are only three more events in the British Hillclimb Championship 2022 calendar – and so this is a good time to attend to witness the exciting run-offs. With the current points ranking there are only three drivers capable of taking the overall title; Wallace Menzies, Alex Summers & Scott Moran, and it only takes a moment of driver error or a mechanical issue to tip the balance.

  • Shelsley Walsh; 13th & 14th August. Hill record 22.37s
  • Prescott; 3rd & 4th September. Hill record 34.65s
  • Loton Park; 24th & 25th September. Hill record 41.76s
Distinctive green wheels on Wallace Menzies’ red Gould GR59-M || © John Hallett Photography
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The long and short of it (part 3: car park capers)

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a spectators car park quite so full of vintage and classic cars as I did last Sunday at the VSCC’s visit to Prescott and I was like a kid in a candy shop. Full credit to all of the owners who had clearly spent time polishing their pride and joy especially for the day. To appreciate these efforts here are some photographs of a mere handful and I apologise for not knowing the full details (or in some cases ANY details) of those vehicles. Don’t forget to check out Part 1 and Part 2 of this blog series.

The long and short of it (part 2: paddock & track)

Here’s another set of photographs from an excellent day at Prescott with the VSCC. These are taken from the track itself and in the paddock area and so feature the cars entered for the timed runs (as opposed to the cars brought by spectators – which will feature in my next blog post). As mentioned in The long and short of it (part 1) I spent a good deal of time in the spectators car park but did manage to take some shots both at the Esses and on the infield at Ettores to capture the cars negotiating the sharp right-hand corner at Orchard taking the ‘short’ route up to Pardon hairpin.

1930 Austin7 Ulster rounds Orchard bend || © John Hallett Photography
1928 Austin 12/4 Special || © John Hallett Photography
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The long and short of it (part 1)

This weekend saw the Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) visit the Prescott hillclimb venue. It is one of two annual visits by the club; the first visit runs on the ‘short’ course and the second on the ‘long’ course – the difference is simply whether or not the Ettores loop is included.

From a photographers point of view this means that when they run the short course you can get fairly unique shots as the cars take the tight right-hand bend at Orchard heading up towards Pardon hairpin, the downside being that shots are Pardon can be much ‘tamer’ because the cars haven’t had the chance to build up much speed before they take the corner (although Ian Mellor has some fantastic two-wheeled shots on his Facebook page).

It was an excellent day and I don’t think that I’ve seen so many people turn out for a hillclimb event since before Covid. Not only that but many of them had brought their own vintage & classic cars and I spent as much time in the car park as I did on the hill and in the paddock.

Here is the first quick selection, a further couple of sets will be published later in the week.

Note: The VSCC’s second visit to Prescott for the ‘long’ course takes place on 24th September.

An MG PB takes the ‘short’ route past the sizeable crowd || © John Hallett Photography
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The hills are alive…. (part 2)

Just a quick post to say that the online gallery where you can purchase photographs of the motor cycles & riders who ‘rode the hill’ at last Sundays Prescott Bikefest is now open here. The gallery includes fantastic images from my fellow photographers on the hill Geoff Robinson, Steve Shelley and Adam Johnson. All proceeds for the sale of these photographs go to the blood bike charity and there is no cut taken by the photographers themselves.

Here are a few additional images that I took on the day:

Custom 3-wheeler based on a BMW R100R || © John Hallett Photography
Jet-powered shopping trolley. Now leaving the UK for the US || © John Hallett Photography
Happy chap on a Suzuki A100 || © John Hallett Photography
Not so happy chap on what I think is a Triumph Trophy || © John Hallett Photography
Scott Flying Squirrel 498cc from 1928 || © John Hallett Photography
© John Hallett Photography
Norton 600 from 1957 || © John Hallett Photography

The hills are alive….

Yesterday I was at the Prescott hill climb which was alive with the sound of motor cycles. Once again I had volunteered as a media representative for the Prescott Bike Festival – organised by the Severn Freewheelers on behalf of the charity “National Association of Blood Bikes’. This entails taking photographs of each of the ‘run the hill’ entries where entrants can ride their own bike as fast as they want on the marshalled, untimed hill, interspersed with ‘special entry’ appearances and passenger rides on a racing sidecar or three-wheeler.

© John Hallett Photography

It was an early start; the media team (6 of us) had arranged to meet at 8am so that we could synchronise the time on our cameras (the galleries are presented in hour slots and so it’s important that the photographs are embedded with the correct time) which meant I had to leave the house at 6am for the journey south. I was one of the photographers assigned to the hill (as opposed to the start-line or paddock) and chose to station myself at Pardon hairpin-bend in the morning and then Semicircle bend at the top of the hill in the afternoon. It’s a bit different doing these types of events as opposed to a usual motorsport session. The key here is to stay in the same spot and get a good photograph of every rider for the online gallery. There is no opportunity for wandering around or for fancy ‘zoom-burst’ shots – these photographs have to fit a brief, they are not for your personal portfolio.

All of the photographs are donated to the charity for sale to anyone who wishes to see themselves on their bike tackling the hill and so I don’t publish any here or on my website apart from some general shots from the day.

OK, just the one! || © John Hallett Photography
Multiple wheels || © John Hallett Photography
Gloves || © John Hallett Photography
Monowheel || © 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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