Ramblings

Prescott Bike Festival 2017
10th April 2017
The sun enticed people out in droves as we hosted the 7th annual Prescott Bike Festival. This is our main fundraiser for the local Blood Bike Group, the Severn Freewheelers.

We had a chain-gang of local Mayors, Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards, some extremely scary storm-troopers, live music, a hearse and a shopping trolley that were both jet powered and bikes as far as the eye could see.

The galleries from the day will be hosted here as soon as they've uploaded and all the money goes to swell the club's funds so please order those photos as a keepsake from a very special day at Prescott.
Shelsley Bike Festival 2016
04th September 2016
The second Shelsley Bike Festival has taken place with all monies raised going to the Severn Freewheelers Bloodbikes. It was a long day at Shelsley but well worth every minute as this is SUCH a worthy cause.

Photos of your day are available here on the gallery.
Prescott Bike Festival & Mac Classic
16th April 2016
The Prescott Bike Festival is now firmly established as one of the year's top motor cycle gatherings. Definitely one for the diary. Photos of the day, available here.

The MAC Classic takes place on Sunday April 24th. Photos will be available later http://6655440.tifmember.com/v/photos/mac-classic.
Loton Gallery
14th December 2015
It's now time to do a few sales galleries starting with one from the April 19th meeting at Loton Park.

This was the opening meeting of the season: a chance to blow away the proverbial cobwebs and to make some noise in the Shropshire countryside. We even had one of our twice yearly visits from the bikes with their NHCA Championship round.

Click here for a look at the shots of the day.
UNICEF Charity Shoot
02nd October 2015
The Hyatt Hotel in Broad Street Birmingham hosted the big red carpet Hollywood fund raising evening and Chris Daw and I were there to capture the event.

It was a cracking night with lots of happy, fun people who gave in the most generous way to help raise money for this very worth cause with a spectacular raffle and an auction crammed full of terrific items.Photos are available here
2015 Loton Park Drivers' School
12th May 2015
Yesterday saw the Loton Park Drivers' School up and running again with its first outing of 2015.

The sun shone generously on us, the day went smoothly with 10 runs for each pupil and a great time was had by all. We have two more schools on July 22nd and August 26th so get you're name down as they're filling up rapidly. Details are available on the Hagley & District website.

The gallery of shots are available here for pupils to order in the form of high or low resolution downloads or a variety of prints etc.
Prescott Bike Festive 5
13th April 2015
The fifth Prescott Bike Festival was a real corker. Good weather (even if the wind attempted to blow us away on a few occasions), we had Taylor back as our grid girl (which always helps with photo sales) and huge numbers coming through the gate. All in all, a wonderful fundraising event for the Severn Freewheelers Blood Bikes.

It's a twelve hour day and hard on the feet but I really love this event and I'm looking forward to the September 13th event at Shelsley Walsh because, let's face it, the only thing better than a Bike Fest is two Bike Fests.

The photo sales gallery is now up and running so order your photos here and boost the coffers of this fantastic charity even more at the same time as securing some terrific memories of a top day.
Up In The Clouds
02nd February 2015
Last weekend was the annual Cotswold Cloud Trial. With the help of a couple of Ordinance Survey Landranger maps and some of Calvin and Jan's handy directions Crooked Mustard and Twisted Juniper were eventually hunted down.

Have you ever been to a classic trial? You really ought to make the effort. You'll be blown away by the sight of a VW Beetle slithering its way up a wooded track or (bizarrely) a Mk 1 Escort Estate hauling itself through the mud. (Not seen one of those since my late dad's was dragged off to the scrappers)

The temperature was pretty savage with a wind chill that virtually tore your face off but the light - vital for a man with a camera - was as good as it gets for this time of the year. Brilliant to get out for some great winter motor sport. Many thanks to everyone at the Stroud & District Motor Club for running such a friendly event.
Scratching Around
29th October 2014
Another season rolls to an end so I'm now hunting around for things to photograph. The VSCC Welsh Weekend event was as bonkers and brilliant as ever and then I shot the Ken Wharton Autotest at Arrow Mill followed by a trip to Long Compton for the Mercian Sporting Trial. All good stuff and then last weekend, just as I thought I'd run out of motor sport, Andy Wooldridge invited me to photograph the Sixty And Worcestershire Motor Club's AutoSolo at Throckmorton Airfield. This was a top event featuring some skilful chucking around of cars on a windswept, disused runway. Loved it. (Apart from when I went to leave and I found all the exits barred like an episode of The Prisoner) The photos are here

I'm now gearing up for next season in terms of plans for the Prescott Bike Festival (April 12th) and the new Shelsley Bike Festival (September 13th), Drivers' School days and other events but before all that, I'll be tackling both the Mac Awards Lunch and the Hagley & District Awards lunch. That's a lot of eating and a lot of shifting people into poses.
Mid Season
24th July 2014
I'm so overdue a site update: taking over the editor's role of the Hagley & District club magazine has been a big task but I'm starting to get a handle on it now so perhaps I'll be able to realign my focus back towards the website again.

Aside from the odd blip, the weather's behaved pretty well throughout the year. Last weekend at Shelsley we had a vile day on the Saturday with spectacular lightening forks, lengthy rolls of thunder and relentless rain but Sunday was the total opposite with scorching temperatures, huge crowds and a top notch meeting. Sir Sterling was in fine form and there was lots to photograph. Well done to Becks for putting together such an excellent programme of events.

This weekend I'm off to the Silverstone Classic, an event that is breathtaking in its content. Unfortunately, the ambulance chasers have started to hunt down motor sport photographers and, for the first time, I've had to take out public liability insurance to go trackside. I don't quite understand how I'm in any way a danger to the public if I'm standing taking photos in an area that they're unable to access (inside the fences by the side of the track) but more circuits are beginning to enforce this kind of restriction. Let's hope it doesn't extend to hill climbs next.
Up And Running
26th April 2014
So it begins all over again. Easter at Loton Park signalled the opening of the 2014 hill climb season with a bunch of new cars and new look cars. Great to see everyone and, in spite of lousy weather on Sunday, it was a great meeting. Monday's weather behaved itself impeccably which was a relief given the fact that I'd just about managed to dry my clothes and my kit out from the previous day. Many thanks to John Harrison for bringing the glorious Dodge Coronet along. It put a smile on everyone's face and we're all looking forward to seeing it again.

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This year's MAC Classic Run took place yesterday in tricky conditions with some heavily storms lashing the hill during people's runs. The online gallery is available for you to order more photos of your day here.

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The photo gallery from this year's Prescott Bike Fest is still available here.
And, breathe...
07th April 2014
After months of preparation, the fourth Prescott Bike Festival rocked up yesterday and, yet again, we all had a blast.

When I woke with the rain pounding against the window, things didn't look promising but, aside from a short period of damp stuff after lunch, the weather was relatively kind to us. It was less considerate to Steve Parrish who was unable to fly over and join us due to an extremely foggy, Isle of Man. Steve's a big supporter of the PBF so it was a huge blow losing his presence on the day but these things happen.

On the plus side we had over and above our fair share of celebrities: Nick Sanders, Richard Hammond, a quartet of local Mayors and more superstar riders than you can shake a tyre lever at all swung by to give us their backing.

A great day was had by all and on April 12th 2015, we'll be doing it all over again.

This year we sold photos on the day but for all you Run The Hill stars who didn't get round to visiting the viewing station, your photos are available on the gallery here.
PBF4
02nd April 2014
My first really big event of the year takes place this weekend in the shape of the fourth Prescott Bike Festival.

As always, this is a seriously packed day of track and non-track action as we set about raising funds for the Severn Freewheelers in order to keep their Blood Bikes out there doing the excellent work that they do.

I'm heading down there on Saturday to set up the circus style gazebo that will be our viewing station as we go for the print-on-the-day option for the first time.

I'm avoiding weather forecasts what with predictions of Sahara dust invasions today. I'm thinking plagues of locusts might descend upon us by the weekend at this rate. And frogs falling from the skies. That could happen, right?

Worse still, there'll be marshals. And bikers. And Rock bands. And Happy Hour (Which, is actually two separate half hours but they're still very happy)

Swing by on Sunday and say hello. I'll be paddock based most of the day as I shoot the press pack while the rest of the team prowl about up on the hill. Silverstone the following weekend will seem tranquil by comparison.

The photo gallery will be available right here
"I made my Generals out of mud" Napoleon
04th February 2014
Trials events are great to photograph and the Cotswold Cloud is set in belting fine countryside but logistically, like all trials, it involves a lot of cross-country millage to find the next location.

Gloucestershire's lovely with scenery that takes your breathe away but when grass is growing up the middle of the lanes you're driving along you know you're in the wilds. I passed places on Sunday where, if it had been a degree or two warmer, there'd have been straw sucking, banjo playing types sat out on their front porches scowling at me as I drove by.

Despite having to spend ten minutes washing the mud off my boots with a hose pipe when I got home, I thoroughly enjoyed the Cloud. There's plenty going on at trials worth photographing with crud flying through the air. All my clothes are now clean after going through the wash and the gents from Kazakhstan did an excellent job washing the car down yesterday. Hopefully, the Shelsley Breakfast Club meeting this weekend will be slightly less messy.
He Who Slings Mud Generally loses Ground: Adlai E. Stevenson
31st January 2014
Despite the winter signalling the closed season for most motor sport, there are a few meagre pickings around if you search for them.

Two weeks ago I went to the Clee Hills trial in Shropshire, an event run by the MAC. It's a great bit of action but a logistical nightmare in terms of tracking down the numerous locations where it runs. Armed with just an OS map and a SAT NAV that was next to useless out there, you could easily spend the entire day not seeing a single competitor. Fortunately, I was able to follow Dave Cook and Calvin Talbot. Calvin was as bemused as me but Dave must have supernatural powers as he seemed to have a fair idea where he was going.

It was unbelievably muddy but this made for some terrific trailing. The sun shone and it was just wonderful to hear the sound of throaty engines in the forest.

This weekend is the Cotswold Cloud trial down near Stroud so I'm heading down there on Sunday for more of the same. Just collected OS Landranger number 162 so what could possibly go wrong?

See you sliding down a hill somewhere in Gloucestershire.
It's Showtime!
10th January 2014
Another season rocks up and, as always, it starts off with a visit to Birmingham's NEC to the annual Autosport International Show. As ever, the show highlights some of the best in our sport with the launch of a few new cars sitting happily alongside some old, familiar faces. The Contributors meeting was a good way to meet up with people and to chat with Scott Mitchell, Autosport's new editor.

The unveiling of the JRM Group's new Subaru WRX STI was a high-spot. Niall McShea was there to say a few words and it's fair to say that he's looking forward to throwing this new beast around a little.

The next show will be race Retro at Stoneleigh show ground on February 23rd. The rally stage there features a cluster of Group B cars so it's worth the trip just to see those glorious monsters in action. The Metro 6R4: now that was a proper car. Insane, but proper.

Next weekend sees the first event of the 2014 season with the Clee Hills trial. This was the first of many events that fell foul of the weather throughout the early part of last year so let's hope that we're luckier this time around.
Here, There & Everywhere
08th August 2013
Since my last blog, I've done quite a variety of motor sport 'stuff'.

I've been to not one but two VSCC soirées. The first one was a circuit event at Mallory Park in deepest Leicestershire. I love watching the vintage cars on the hills but seeing them open up on a circuit is quite a sight. Last weekend down at Prescott was the first time I'd been forced to don waterproofs this season but the VSCC are a hardy bunch and the hill was well populated with spectators who loved their vintage motor sport and no amount of rain was going to alter that. The wet conditoons certainly highlighted the oil spillages in the paddock. At one stage I thought the Torrey Canyon had cruised through.

I also attended the Silverstone Classic which had some astounding moments. The Porsche 911 50th anniversary celebration was a something to behold with over 1200 911s doing a four abreast lap during the lunch break. The logistics of organising that make me shudder but they pulled it off. In the absence of an air balloon to get a bird's eye view of it, I settled for being at the top of Hangar Straight and I even climbed into the top of one of the stands to get some extra elevation.

I shot the final Drivers' School day of this season up at Loton yesterday. For the third time this season, we were fortunate with the weather and I came home with a massive number of images to sort through. The McEvoy Special was quite staggering: a real life Batmobile. Loved it.

Its a nice B meeting up at Loton this weekend so I'm looking forward to that with insect repellent at the ready. See you on the hill, folks.
Loton Cauldron
20th July 2013
Last weekend's meeting at Loton was about as hot as it gets with temperatures that made us all (red) flag.

I spent the day taking the visiting members of the Rugeley and Armitage Camera Club on and off the trackside areas of the hill. Most of them had never done any motor sport photography before and they loved it. It was lovely seeing you all, folks. Hope to see you all again.

Despite a late finish resulting in the cancelling of their Top-10 run-off, the bikes were, as ever, total entertainment. Always a thrill seeing you at Loton, guy and girls. On the subject of bikers, it was also great having the Bloodbikes there with a stand in the paddock. This was their first visit to Loton and we're hoping that they'll come again at some stage. The photos are here.

Tomorrow, I'm off to Mallory Park for a VSCC meeting. I'm expecting another scorching day for this as Mallory is typical of most circuits with little or no shade to be found and I'm sure the lake will look quite inviting.

Stay cool, people.
The Heat Of The Ashes
03rd July 2013
The weekend at Prescott was red hot in many ways. The sun shone good and proper and the Anglo v Aussie scrap on track had heat in it too.

It was amazing to see Sue Young lower her own hill record below the 40 second barrier. She's now the Roger Bannister of the lady's hill climb scene.

The Aussies arrived in force and clearly enjoyed their time belting Morgans up Prescott. The Brits took the honours this time round so start saving up now if you want to see the rematch in Melbourne in two years time. This is like the Ryder Cup without dumb Americans shouting inanities like' It's in the hole!' or 'You're the man!'

This weekend sees the VSCC roll into the Teme Valley with their annual outing to Shelsley Walsh. The forecast for the weekend's good so all those lovely old cars marking their territory should be warm and glinting.

See you on the hill.
Back to Track
28th June 2013
During my break from motor sport action I've not been idle. The third Worcestershire Literary Festival has just finishes. This represented an intense schedule with fifteen events photographed in ten days. Still, some great performances and some smashing photo opportunities such as catching up with Pam Ayres down at the Swan Theatre.

This weekend sees a return to Midlands hill climb action with Prescott's Midsummer Speed Fest.

Amongst other attractions, we've got a sort of Ashes prequel with an Brits v Aussies battle for the Brake Shoes Trophy. The Rob Roy club is based on the outskirts of Melbourne having been formed in the late '50s. Six drivers representing each country will share two cars, three drivers per car. Both teams will be competing in two new race/road prepared cars: a Morgan + 4 SuperSport, 2.0 with 200bhp and a standard Morgan +4 with 145bhp

Aside from all these shenanigans, the sixth round of the Midlands Hill Climb Championship will take place. All sounds good, yes?

See you on the hill on Sunday morning, people.