Being British, when someone says the United States of America to me, I think of pancakes, road trips and drag racing.
Last year, Trevor Ryan drove to Coalinga to cover Motovicity’s half mile race, Never Lift. It was a proper balls-out event. This year, I called him up and asked if he was down to cover the gaggle of 200mph+ racers putting it all on the line for $38,500 of cash prizes and our boy said ‘no’.
“I’m actually moving to a different state that week”, was Trevor’s reply. Seems like a fair excuse. So, I went through my mental Rolodex of mental people who like to photograph cars, and Never Lift’s location, of New Coalinga Muncipal Airport, reminded me of James Lipman.
Why? Well, the first time I ever worked with Jamie he flew his plane to the photo shoot. I sh*t you not.
The conversation went something like this:
“Hi Ben, how are you getting to the shoot tomorrow.”
“I’m driving Jamie, how about you?”
“I was thinking about flying, can you meet me at an airfield and pick me up?”
“I’ll be in a Smart Car; do you have much kit?”
“No, not a lot. We can make that work.”
Jamie sent me a postcode (that’ll be a zip code for our American readers) to a place near Oxford in England. I put it into my sat-nav and found myself driving the stupid car across a field to meet Mr Lipman.
He arrived in a plane that he’d bought off eBay from a man who had built it in his garage for less than the price of the aforementioned Smart Car.
You tend to not forget people like Jamie. Since then, Lipman’s moved to California and I no longer drive a Smart Car. Good news for him and excellent news for me.
With that firmly in mind, I gave him a call to see if he could cover Never Lift for Speedhunters and the answer was a definitive ‘yes!’.
Turns out, I’d left the hotel booking ridiculously late for this trip, but Ravi at CSF had a spare room at a place called the Harris Ranch. Not only is this place a legit ranch, but it has 2,800ft of paved, lit runway for planes to land.
YEEE, ‘MURICA. What a wonderful country you are. Here we go again! Day one of Never Lift photos be yours.
Things we didn’t expect to see at Never Lift? A PT Cruiser! The owner of this thing must have a wild imagination because this is absolutely bonkers. $12k engine, producing 800hp through a $50 transmission scored from Craigslist, in a $25 car. Fantastic.
We can’t wait for day two.
Photos by James Lipman