Pure #joyofmachine: Moments For Deep Storage

Holiday Greetings to all of you Speedhunters. I hope you’ve been able to take a moment to slow the pace down and take stock of your surroundings. I certainly have used this brief lull-in-action for some concentrated down-time and have been doing as little as humanly possible for the past week or so. Well, at least physically speaking! Much reading, researching, thinking and visualizing there has been.

But before we leap into the new year, I want to pay homage to my top moments of 2012. The following photographs are potent with personal significance and illustrate my most important moments of the year.

Jan 2012: NEC: Birminham, UK:  This is Ayrton Senna’s go cart. For some reason, this moment sent big chills down my spine. Perhaps it’s because the machine is so open, I could see exactly where he sat and thus could imagine his ghost’s outline. I swear, part of his soul is imbued right inside of this little racer.

April 2012: LA Freeway: Los Angeles, USA: After several months spent working in Speedhunters relatively new Stockholm office, I found myself riding shotgun with Sean Klingelhoefer in a Lamborghini Gallardo, on the freeways of Los Angeles, California… It was one of those “pinch me am I awake” moments: the art of Speedhunting giving back.

April 2012: LA Freeway: Los Angeles, USA: Evidently the life-altering experiences kept coming. Days later I found myself piloting a McLaren MP4-12C.

April 2012: LA Freeway: Los Angeles, USA: I am already enough of a McLaren fanboy to begin with, but now they have me hooked for life. #Imustownone

April 2012: Monza Banking: Milan, Italy: You know, I have been to the Monza Banking before, but this doesn’t diminish the emotional impact it has on me.

April 2012: Monza Pitlane: Milan, Italy:  We helped to sponsor the Team WRT Audi R8 racing team in 2012. I took this shot moments after seeing the cars for the first time.

May 2012: Nordeschleife Karrussell: Nurburgring, Germany: A month later I was back in front of the WRT R8 LMS, but this time in Germany.

May 2012: Nurburgring Turn One: Nurburgring, Germany:   I will be the first to admit that I find the Nurburgring 24Hs a bit of a challenge. I completely respect the event itself, but I have yet to find the best way to run media productions there. Or it may be that I am losing interest with staying awake for 24Hs at time…?

At any rate, this moment of shooting panning shots on the inside of Turn One, is a real positive memory.

May 2012: Nordeschleife Karrussell: Nurburgring, Germany:  My favourite corner in the whole Speedhunting universe – the Nurburgring’s Karrussell. I could easily spend the whole event just hanging out in this one spot. So each year, I always make the point of riding out to the Karrussell with a German photographer-friend. Seeing all the GTs drop into, and scrape around the concrete banking has to be seen to be believed. There’s nothing like this in all of motorsport.

July 2012: Rudskogen Motorsenter: Rudskogen Norway: If I had to pick a single “shivers-down-the-spine” moment for the whole year, this is it. No the photograph isn’t that crazy or evocative of #MaximumAttack, but the thing for you to note, is that my heart was leaping out of my chest the moment I took this picture.

Why?

Well this was the exact moment that MadMike Whiddett fired up his quad rotor RX7 on Scandinavian soil. A long last, a dream that we started half a year earlier, had become real.

July 2012: Rudskogen Motorsenter: Rudskogen Norway: MadMike completely stole the show at Gatebil 2012, and looking back, I still feel a bit of excitement, not only for being involved with the project, but just having witnessed the Gatebil event itself.

July 2012: Rudskogen Motorsenter: Rudskogen Norway: When you talk about Gatebil 2012, you could also argue that it was this car which had the biggest international influence. Towards the end of 2012, we see the world of modified cars has gone absolutely bonkers for the combination of the ZN6 chassis and the Rocket Bunny body kit. And this is the machine that did this first.

I took this photo a moment after Fredric Aasbo finished bolting the wheels on to his just completed 86-X project. Can you imagine how it felt?

July 2012: Rudskogen Motorsenter: Rudskogen Norway: I waited at this spot for half an hour to get this shot: the first time that Fredric Aasbo drove the 86-X onto the Rudskogen track.

July 2012: Rudskogen Motorsenter: Rudskogen Norway: Can you tell that I love Gatebil? Here’s another key moment from 2012: the first time that we shot the “Street Sweeper” 1000hp BMW E21 in the flesh. It looks like this machine is going to be THE find of the year for Speedhunters.

July 2012: On the side of a road: Spa, Belgium: The editorial team was still basking in the after-glow of the Gatebil Festival, when we assembled ourselves for a new task: the Spa 24Hs. Here I caught the moment that the entire field of 60+ GT3 cars drove on the highway, between the track and the town of Spa. Words cannot describe how cool this was to witness!

July 2012: Pitlane Spa-Francorchamps: Spa, Belgium: The Spa 24Hs has become my favourite around-the-clock race. It’s a nicely civilized affair, at the world’s most photographic circuit in a lovely part of the world. What’s not to love?

July 2012: Old Spa-Francorchamps Circuit: Spa, Belgium:  Here’s another one for the memory banks: driving the old Spa Circuit in a shiny new Audi S7.  I live for moments like this. Seriously.

July 2012: Race Pre-Grid Spa-Francorchamps: Spa, Belgium: I took this shot at the top of the Spa 24H grid, near the exit of La Source hairpin. From this vantage point you can look all the way down the grid and see Eau Rouge corner rising out of the frame. In looking at this shot, perhaps you can start to appreciate what kind of insane elevation change this corner presents.

July 2012: The Bus Stop Chicane: Spa, Belgium:  2012 was a year where I had to start limiting the time spent trackside shooting. I just have too many management responsibilities these days. So for me, this photo represents a nice moment of shooting, where I had time to photograph the opening few hours of the Spa 24Hs.

July 2012: Kemmel Straight: Spa, Belgium: For the past two years I have taken the last few hours of the Spa 24Hs to walk a complete lap of the circuit. Most of the spectators will have left by this time and it’s a great way to stretch your legs to wake up a bit. It’s just you, your camera, and the sound of raw GT3 speed machines echoing through the hills. Pure #JoyofMachine.

Sept 2012: Somewhere near Essex: Greater London, UK: This is me having a religious experience behind the wheel of a Porsche 964 Turbo. More please.

Sept 2012: Mondello Park Paddock: County Kildare, Ireland: The people in this photo likely don’t know that this is a pretty significant moment going down. They are looking at the first ever Speedhunters pre-production book. It was the start of a wonderful success story, which saw the book sell out in a period of ten days.

Sept 2012: Mondello Park Paddock: County Kildare, Ireland:  This photo shows off one of our best selling new Speedhunters EDTN clothing items: the Slate Hoodie. And what’s even cooler is that it’s covered with nice thick layer of automotive grime. This is exactly how we want to see the clothing being used!

Oct 2012: LA Freeway new Irwindale: Los Angeles, USA:  A month later, I found myself on an LA freeway driving one of Vaughn Gittin JR’s Spec 2 RTR Mustangs. #wowwhatamachine.

Oct 2012: Irwindale Speedway: Los Angeles, USA:  This shot commemorates the first-ever American Speedhunters’ booth. It was a watershed moment for the project, hopefully to be repeated across the country in 2013!

Oct 2012: Irwindale Speedway: Los Angeles, USA: And here we close the story of the first Speedhunters Volume One book project. This shot was taken moments after our supply sold out, with the editorial team embarking on an autograph session. The idea that anyone would want our autograph is a bit of a new and slightly odd prospect, but anyway, we obliged!

Oct 2012: Irwindale Speedway: Los Angeles, USA: This is my #PhotooftheYear for 2012. I seriously don’t know why you guys didn’t vote it through!

Oct 2012: LA Freeway new Irwindale: Los Angeles, USA: My love of the MP4-12C somehow led to McLaren lending me another car for the day :> #ididsomethingveryrightinmypreviouslifetodeservethis

Dec 2012: Zakspeed: Niederzissen, Germany:  I live my life in pursuit of #JoyofMachine, it has to be said. Here we have a great personal memory whose story has yet to be told to you: our visit to Zakspeed in Germany. In this photo you can see two stillborn DTM cars: a Volvo built for the 2000 season and an Opel developed for the cancelled 1997 season.

Dec 2012: Zakspeed: Niederzissen, Germany: I leave you with this shot. It records the moment where I got to meet a childhood #machinehero: the Zakspeed Capri. For decades, I have felt love for this car, and suddenly there I was standing right in front of it!

So there passes another year in the world of Speedhunters. I’d like to thank each and every one of you who continue to support our project. Whether you are a daily reader, picked up one of the Speedhunters EDTN pieces, or are a participant in #IAMTHESPEEDHUNTER, we appreciate and value your involvement with the Speedhunters community.

Happy New Year to you all!

:Rod Chong

Instagram: Speedhunters_Rod

Twitter: @rodbotchong


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25 comments
CarlKwan
CarlKwan

That's quite a year, my friend! Happy to see it all in pics of those amazing rides.

Racing Colour
Racing Colour

I always forget how awesome that Zakspeed Capri is. Might need to make it one of my next colouring in pages. 

 

Shame the Volvo DTM car never happened as well. I've got a weird soft spot for those Swedish machines

Nikhil_P
Nikhil_P

what an awesome year 2012 has been at speedhunters! yous continue to out due your selves in every way shape and form!

one thing that i personally would like to see on speedhunters is some coverage of F1 and some motorbike events... that post from Singapore was incredible! and i would love to get to know more about motorbikes, becasue i hardly know anything!!

 

P.S when can we be expecting Speedhunters Volume 2 book? Kinda annoyed i missed out on part 1!

and keep up the good work!

koko san
koko san

Happy New Year 2013! Looks like you had an amazing year, keep up the good work.

(btw there's a typo it's Nordschleife... ;-))

SMRacing
SMRacing

The elevation shot at spa is amazing! I had no idea it was this huge in terms of elevation.

ssbeane
ssbeane

Amazing pics as usual. 

cornerbalance
cornerbalance

That Capri is pretty terrific looking, great pics and article

miksfield
miksfield

1.  I have a mancrush on you Rod Chong!  Keep up the good work and I look forward to next year!

2.  Was there an article on that red RTR?  Pics look delicious.

JacobT
JacobT

This has more than a couple breath taking shots. your website is what got me obsessed with cars and the artwork y'all create has continued to deepen my addiction. So a personal thank you is in order for your effort and lack of sleep that goes into these shoots which not only influences yourself but have lit the fire in my heart but im sure many others.

VecTT
VecTT

Great shots of great moments! A picture can tell a thousand words as they say, and these especially tell a whole of a story. Bravo.

TylerS13
TylerS13

did i miss the zakspeed visit?

roeby
roeby

How, and where did it all start out. Was it all your idea? Looking forward to another year exposed to race series i would otherwise be unaware of if not for this site!

LouisYio
LouisYio

So what's to come in 2013?

RodChong
RodChong moderator

 @Nikhil_P Hi Nikhil. The Volume 2 book is at the printers as I type this :> We will release information about it next month.

Larry Chen
Larry Chen moderator

 @SlappysCarBlog That is my fault. Although you will be able to download some when the full article comes out :D

RodChong
RodChong moderator

@JacobT many thanks!

RodChong
RodChong moderator

@andrewhake err not following you

RodChong
RodChong moderator

@TylerS13 no we haven't published it yet :)


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