Monthly Archives: January 2012

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Living The Dream

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Very ‘appy

Back in late 1997 I decided to leave work and go motor racing. I would earn a crust as a photographer, well it should be easy enough, look at all the guys in F1, driving flash cars and living in big houses.

In common with most snappers of the time I was technologically illiterate and failed to see the massive iceberg on the horizon, the cheap DSLR. Sure there were some strange contraptions around that were “digital” but they cost a year’s salary and produced tiny images, OK for the Fleet Street Boys but not for us artists. Kodachrome and Velvia were our weapons of choice. It proved to be taking a knife to a gun fight. Since then, Titanic-like, we have sailed at full pelt into this object, wrecking our businesses in the process. It was going to be great, no more loading or buying  film, no more processing, no more chemicals, no more screwed up shots. It was all going to be easy.

Well that bit we got right, but the law of unintended consequences also followed. If it got easier for us, then the same would apply to those who wished to enjoy the hero status of being a professional motorsport photographer, now you struggle to give work away.

Red On Green

But at least we were living the dream.

Momo

The first race I shot as a full time Pro was the 1998 Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. It seemed a great adventure at the time, my costs paid for by the charming Laurence Pearce of Lister Cars fame. I thought that this was how it was going to be, travelling around at someone else’s expense, shooting race cars and getting paid for it. What a fool believes……………….

Keep The Flame Burning

The winner of that race in Florida was one Gianpiero Moretti, who owned the fabulous Ferrari 333 SP that he drove to victory with Mauro Baldi, Arie Luyendyk and Didier Theys. “Momo” had chased success over many years in IMSA and 1998 he won the Big Three, Daytona, Sebring and Watkins Glen. Not bad for a guy in his late-50’s.

The news came down the Mojo wire at the weekend that Moretti had passed away, another good man gone. Living The Dream…….some get to do it better than others…………Rest In Peace, Momo.

John Brooks, January 2012

Ten Years Gone

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Hi, Guy!

January 3rd 2002, I was in Florida. Why? Well somehow I had convinced myself that it would be cool and profitable to shoot the Grand Am pre-Daytona 24 Hour Test. Profitable? I don’t need to tell you about that.

Handy Andy

Cool? It was bloody freezing…………I recall ice on the inside of the windows at the flea-pit motel I was staying at…………….it was warmer back in Surrey.

Mad Max

And if that was not enough, I had camera failure on my DSLR, less than a year old………..and no spare………….so two days of shuffling about………clients grumbling (no change there then)……..OK maybe more from Florida tomorrow.

John Brooks, December 2012

Maranello Magic

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Front Row F40s

One of my young colleagues, Brecht, posted a comment on his facebook page about how cool the Ferrari F40 LM was back in BPR days…………on the money says I.

So here at Le Castellet, March 1996, Pole Sitter Jean-Marc Gounon blasts off with Anders Olofsson alongside and a brace of McLarens in the hands of Fabien Giroix and James Weaver giving chase. Weaver and Ray Bellm would win the contest after 4 hours of hard racing on their way to the 96 Titles. Just look at the size of that grid…………………

BPR for those two brief seasons was absolutely brilliant, a real high point of GT Racing…………then came the Porsche 911 GT1…….taking a gun to a knife fight………..and paradise was lost.

John Brooks, January 2012

The Brooklands Battleship

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New Years Day…….the plan had been to biff along to Brooklands for the traditional meeting….a late change to the running order means that Hampton Court Palace is now the destination.

Byfleet Banking

However as a substitute here is a snap from the glory days on the banks……The Brooklands Battleship’ – Blower 4 1/2 litre Bentley being driven by Sir Henry Birkin at Brooklands where it set a lap record of 137.96 mph in 1932……may I wish the one or two readers who stop by this remote outpost of the motorsport empire a happy and healthy 2012.

John Brooks, January 2012