I have been a petrolhead for as long as I can remember.
Some of my first memories as a child are about cars. My focus was on all things automotive… playing with toy cars, spotting and identifying cars on the road while we drive, reading about them, working on them with my dad and of course watching motorsport and in particular Formula 1.
I still remember the epic races of Ayrton Senna in his McLaren MP 4/4 in 1988, with eight race wins, taking his first (and most likely greatest) Championship win.
The spectator years
Other than attending a couple of stock car races at the old Parow Showgrounds Oval track as a kid, I never really went to the track. In 2000, when I graduated and started my first real job, I starting going to Killarney to watch racing.
That was it…the sights, the sounds, the smells – I was hooked.
I spent as much time at the track as I could, enjoying everything about the world of racing. It’s not just about the on-track action, either. I immersed myself in the pit lane circus of people and their cars being fixed, fettled and tuned after every race heat.
I always wanted more. I wanted to be a part of this world.
The marshal years
In 2003, my wife and I decided to sign up as WPMC marshals. This brought us closer to the action than ever before. We were right there in the thick of things.
Other than strapping yourself into a racecar, there is no way to be more involved in the action. The dust in your face and the smell of rubber and race fuel right in your nostrils was hard work, but it was brilliant. You get to know people, hang out and share a passion for all things automotive with like-minded individuals.
Every race marshal is a petrolhead and every petrolhead should consider becoming a marshal.
The racing years
Being a marshal was great, but I had another itch to scratch…racing.
In 2005, I met some guys from a car club called Team Dragon. They soon became my best friends and my second home. We spent many hours working on cars, talking about them and most importantly racing them.
Our poison of choice at the time was the WPMC Streetcar challenge, which involved competing in drags as well as gymkhana (autocross) with a street-legal car that you have driven to and from the track.
This is proper “run what you brung” grassroots motorsport and I loved it.
This was my first taste of racing and I did it all in my 1300 Ford Bantam Leisure that was my daily driver. I was running in class F (1300 N/A and below class) and after my first class win, I wanted more.
I traded my Bantam in on a 1300 RoCam engine Ford Fiesta (so I stayed in the same class), but the Ford did not stay stock (unlike my Bakkie). I got some performance parts from Steve Wyndham (cams and exhaust manifold) which they developed for the RoCam Ford Ikon that they were running in production cars, and I took my car to Koos Swanepoel for the installing and tuning.
After some further modifications, the car was a sure class winner (netting me another class win and another trophy). I was hooked for life, even if life was going to get in the way sometimes.
The in-between years
For various reasons (time pressure from my part-time studies mainly), I stopped racing in 2006.
A frustrating three years ensued where I returned to being just a spectator. Having tasted motorsport action myself, I certainly wasn’t content with this.
When I finally finished my degree in 2008, I wanted to get back into the action, but racing was not an option anymore as the Streetcar series ended a year earlier and other forms of racing were just too expensive.
In a watershed moment, I turned to one of my other passions to bring me closer to the action… photography.
The photography years…
For years, I have been a keen photographer, snapping away with my “mik-en-druk” digital camera during our holiday travels. I never really had the proper equipment to shoot any on-track action.
In 2009, I took the leap and bought a Canon 1000D DSLR and a proper 70-300mm Sigma Zoom lens. The first time I pointed this combo at the track was in February 2010 during the David Piper Classic Invitational at Killarney. The fact that I could capture the speed, color, and action that goes along with racing was amazing. Here I was close to the action once again, but this time, I could capture the memories to share with others.
A decade later and I continue to tell my automotive stories through a lens. Whether at the track or at other automotive gatherings and locations, I try to share my passion for all things automotive with others.
After almost twenty years of being involved in the automotive and motorsport world in various roles, I have finally found my home. Automotive photography is my passion.
Yes, I still love to get on a track occasionally and go fast, but with photography you get to take others along for the ride.
Shutter Speed is the next step in my journey to share my love and passion for cars and motorsport with others, to tell my story and to hopefully inspire and motivate other petrolheads (and especially the next generation) to go out there to find their place in the crazy world of cars.