Category Archives: Motorsport Opinion

WEC 2016: Round 1 – Silverstone

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Whilst Formula 1 continues to experience troubles the World Endurance Championship increases in popularity year after year.

Round 1 at Silverstone attracted a sizeable and enthusiastic race-day crowd. But then what’s not to like? For the princely sum of £40 per person you get a weekend ticket with free parking, roving access to grandstands, access to both ELMS, Carrera Cup and WEC paddocks, a 4hr ELMS race on Saturday and the 6hr main WEC event on Sunday. I was also sent a free Sunday morning Pit-Walk Pass. If you want a similar level of access for Formula 1 be prepared to part with several hundred pounds per person.

Shot with Canon 550D & 200mm F2.8 L lens, ISO200 F4 1/1000
Shot with Canon 550D & 200mm F2.8 L lens, ISO200 F4 1/1000 – The WEC Class of 2016 – how many ex-F1 drivers and sons of legends can you spot…?
Shot with Canon EOS M & EF-M 22mm F2 prime, ISO100 F2 1/1000
Shot with Canon EOS M & EF-M 22mm F2 prime, ISO100 F2 1/1000 – Rebellion Pit-stop Practice from the Wings’ balcony

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MotoGP: Wings & Things

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There is much discussion about wings in motorcycling at present.

Following the opening MotoGP round at Qatar – where we even saw a Moto3 Mahindra sprout aerodynamic winglets – the Grand Prix Commission has deemed that with immediate effect they will be banned from Moto2 and at the end of the current season in Moto3.

As for MotoGP; well, the manufacturers have to vote to ban them, and with many of the factories trying to develop them, this it is not likely.

Unless it can be proved to be a safety issue – in which case the governing body has to wait for an accident to happen, which they can then prove was related to the winglets – how crazy is that!

Shot with Canon 550D, 200mm F2.8L lens on Kenko 2x extender at F7.1 1/640
Shot with Canon 550D, 200mm F2.8L lens on Kenko 2x extender at F7.1 1/640

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MotoGP: Rossi, Lorenzo & Marquez – Three Champions

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Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez. Multiple world champions one and all.

Have you ever noticed how those that hold a single world title carry themselves with a certain dignity? Nicky Hayden, Jenson Button, Damon Hill – all well respected, rounded individuals (well, apart from Kimi that is!).

But multiple world champions, no. They all tend to have a major character defect caused by one thing – ruthlessness. Lewis Hamilton, Mick Doohan, Ayrton Senna, Casey Stoner, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and the three MotoGP stars mentioned above. They will sacrifice everything to be the best. As demonstrated last season. The ego’s of the multiple champions were fully on display for all of us to behold. And it wasn’t pretty.

Before I go any further I will state the following to make quite clear my allegiances: Channel 5 in the UK began showing MotoGP on terrestrial TV in 2000. This happened to coincide with Valentino Rossi moving up to the top 500cc 2-stroke category. The conclusion of his ‘learn in the first year, win the championship the next approach’ in the junior categories extended on into the premier class. His demeanour and fun loving personality, post race stunts and boundless enthusiasm for motorcycle racing was fantastic to witness – fun and entertainment in motorsport, really?


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MotoGP: My First Time…

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On the morning of Friday the 22nd June 2007 I experience something that will live long in my memory. Stood alone on the infield slope beside the Craner Curves at Donington Park, wearing shorts in the driving rain, black clouds roll overhead. I contemplate why I had arisen at an ungodly hour, to travel the length of the M1, in order to suffer the discomfort I currently endured.

Between the beating of the rain, in the distance behind me, an engine fires… First Practice for the British GP had begun.

The revs rise and fall, gently at first. Gears begin to shift, the noise grows from distant to cacophonous in mere moments. To this day this may be the single most beautiful sound to ever pummel my ear drums. In the peripheral vision of my left eye a single small red projectile explodes into view. Flicking from side to side, as it negotiates the curves of the Craners. Down, down, towards the Old Hairpin, which on this day resembled the foot of a waterfall. The pilot, fresh from the pit lane moments earlier, is fully committed on the untested surface. Riding the grip of his bespoke Bridgestone wets as they cut through the surface tension of the standing water. The sound by now has reached its glorious peak. I no longer hear it, it is so loud it inhabits my very soul, inside my head, vibrating the fabric of my being from the inside out.

I can only describe the sound thusly; imagine what you might believe to be the sound of sheet metal tearing. Couple this with what can only be described as the ground opening up before you, topped off with a sprinkling of the finest violin concerto ever performed. This, my beloved readership, is the sound of the 2007 Ducati Desmocedici. With a young antipodean, named Casey Stoner, perched atop. You may have heard of him?

Stoner Craners 08

After years of following it on TV, this was my first ever sighting of a MotoGP missile in the wild. And boy did it deliver. It was visceral. The volume made it a struggle to concentrate. Stoner tipped into the old hairpin, and accelerating away to my right, possessing no fear in the lack of knowledge of the grip level he might find. The traction control, trying its best to rein in the rampant beast, sounding like a hail of gunfire. Continue reading MotoGP: My First Time…