And so the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour motor-race is done and dusted, what a HUGE event for us. This is the second year we’ve been able to attend the race, the first was in 2013. Last year we were unable to participate due to our commitments at the V8Supercars Test Day at Sydney Motorsport Park.
What an amazing event, the class of the main B12hr field was nothing short of the best assembly of GT cars to race in Australia, hands down! Bathurst is without a doubt the best circuit to shoot at, 23 turns of “amazingness” for sure, if you couldn’t find something to shoot there you are probably dead, or not holding a camera 🙂
I shot every single car that raced over the weekend, even a few that only managed one lap from the supports! My Friday started out with the iconic “Bathurst” shot that is coming over the Skyline with a clear sky behind the car. The weather was pretty good and played along, mostly, you can see some shots further down this post. One thing I forgot about and kick myself is the fact its Bathurst and it can be bloody cold, even in the middle of summer, so there I as on top of the Mountain in my shorts and T-shirt, its was damn cold!!!
Down from Skyline past the Esses is of course the second most shot spot at Bathurst for the pro’s and that the Dipper, most if not all the cars (especially in the main series) lift a wheel through there, you cannot help but get some wheel up action, I also love this spot for slow panning shots of around 1/30sec or less for that real “speed” blur shot. (Again see below)
For the weekend I was shooting many of the Support Class drivers and team’s and especially our Queensland teams, I’ve always been one to support our locals. For the main game I was shooting for Auto Action but my main client was the McElrea Racing Objective Racing McLaren, piloted by the Team Owner Tony Walls, Warren Luff, V8Supercar driver Tim Slade and of course Matt Campbell whom we’ve been supporting since he was 10 years old!
So Friday was a great day, I shot around 4000 images for the day, not too bad but plenty to sort! I was already putting images on our Media Hub Facebook Page Digital Realism Media Hub as well as a few customer pages and supplying to McElrea Racing. I forgot to mention that at this race meeting I was camping up behind the pits, so no power or aircon (actually a heater would have been good) so alas not working on images at night, all my post production had to be done in the media centre, there’s a chore for you, comfy seats, aircon, coffee, power and internet, what else do you need!
Friday night we hit the town for dinner, plus (and is now a Bathurst must do for any event) we went and had ice-cream at Annie’s Ice Cream Parlour and who should rock up but Matt, Tim and Luffy for a bit of “go juice” ice-cream that is. If you go to Annies try the Solfala Gold; man!!!
Saturday dawned yet another fine but windy (sic cold) morning, cars were on track by 7.45am so we had to leave the media centre just after 7am to get our possies to start the days shooting, after the compulsory Photographers briefing in the media centre that is. Just before leaving I was required to shoot the Objective McLaren team photo for McElrea and Co. Couldn’t have asked for any better light, we got the boys all set up and shot away, Andy McElrea runs a tight ship and had specific’s of how the shoot should go, it worked for both of us. Over the weekend I was pleased to see McLaren themselves using our team shots.
I left pitlane immediately after this shoot to photograph at Murrays corner for the Support Category races as well as the Main GT Cars practice, again more beautiful light. At this event we travel around the Mt Panorama circuit in our own cars, mostly on the outside of the circuit (we can get up to Griffin’s Bend – turn two via the Vineyard Road), this was a bit of a mission on Saturday as every man and his camera were heading to the top when I needed to too, it took almost 25mins to get up there, this is a good sign kind of for the promoters being lots of public about, but maybe in retrospect poor management of the gates!
Friday had seen me do most of my Skyline images and the dipper so I headed to Reid/Sulman/McPhillamy Parks’ to get yet another icon Bathurst photo, that being the cars coming under the Michelin Sign entering Reid Park, just after I set up was when the #49 Ferrari of Defelice/Simonsen/Loberto hit the outside fence and finished up in front of me. I later moved around to Sulman Park and there not long after the #77 Porsche 997 of W.Bamber/Curran/C.Smith hit the wall right in front of me (BANG! #hardhit) I was shooting with the 400mm so could only get him sliding to a stop in a cloud of smoke.
Saturday finished on a real HIGH for me, ole Matty Campbell set a new track record of 2:02.287 amazing, this youngster is so fast! OK it was eclipsed in qualifying by the flying kiwi Shane VanGisbergen but hey Matt we’ll pay that! Back to the media centre again to send off images to our clients or upload for them (that’s a service we provide, we manage a number of racing clients Facebook Pages, we can even create pages if you need them!) – it was a bit of a late evening sorting around 3500 images this time.
So the big day had finally arrived my alarm went off at 4.00am and I was in the media centre by 4.30am, race start was at 5.45am!
I’d not shot the start in previous years and wasn’t sure to shoot it on the front straight or head up for the sunrise lights kind of shot, I’d listened to all the shooters in the media centre and it sounded like the start shot was going to be at a premium space wise so I elected to go up the hill (sorry Mountain 😉 ) again the road was already busy! I set myself up on a tripod in the middle of the esses for the car lights and sunrise shot (see above) and took a few test shots, I was ready to go! And so were the cars, not more than 5 minutes later they were on the formation lap. The shot above is a 3sec shutter at F/14 with an ISO of 100, the sparks captured came from one of the Mercedes cars on the second lap.
Once the sun started to come up I moved down into the Esses themselves (the outside that is, no access to the inside on race day), they light was perfect to shoot drivers eyes as well as sparks with the sun rising behind me.
This was also a great place to get some glowing brake photos too.
As the cars settled into a rhythm and the sun got quite bright I decided to head back down to the media centre to get some images to my clients and for Facebook just as I was walking up to Skyline to the car-park I watched Luffy race past only to hear the screech of brakes and the undeniable thump of him hitting the wall. I was gutted but I can only guess how he and the whole McElrea camp felt. McElrea Racing have put up a great wrap for the B12hr they I recommend you have a read of.
I felt sick on the drive down to the Media Centre, I hadn’t walked back down to the dipper to see the crashed car, there was not reason too, McElrea’s wouldn’t want pictures of that! Deflated I started sorting my images out, I sent some through to the team then took a walk down to the pits to chat with the team, Andy was flat but ok, I chatted briefly to Luffy and boy he was down on himself. It was a sad ending to an amazing event for them, the car and all the drivers had the pace, they were without a doubt outright contenders.
After that I headed out for some more shots of the race, I drove up to Griffin’s bend, the sun was a bit bright whilst I was there but managed a nice panning shot across the tyres. I quite like this shot.
After that I then headed across to the Caltex Chase for a few more panning shots and some exit shots out of the chase, by this time the race had run about 10 hours, so I headed back to the Media Centre to process a few more photos and take a break, the long day was starting to catch me up fast! Congratulations to Shane VanGisbergen and the team on a well deserved win.
I headed home at around 3.30am for a 12+ hour drive back to Brisbane. All in all I achieved what I set out to do for the weekend, it would have been good to see my team on the podium but that will have to wait until 2017. I spent some great time with some great people!
If you’d like to see the 140+ images from the B12hr of our please visit our gallery.
Lastly I’d like to thank my two Photo Sponsors for their support over the course of this race meeting, Justin Wade from Midas Tingalpa (07 3390 5633) and Scott Dean from carselling.com.au
A few stats:
I drove 2500kms
Spent 24hours driving
Took 12,000+ images
Used Canon 5DMKiii
Used Canon 100-400mm
Used Canon 24-70mm
Used Canon 10-200mm
Used Manfrotto Monopod