If there’s anything that I cannot stress enough, it’s that this isn’t an official event of any sorts.
This is the town of Velden-am-Wörthersee on a Thursday in May of 2019. There’s nothing formal, there’s nothing organised, it’s just a gathering of like minded people who happened to be in the area at the same time. Further to this, it was a particularly quiet Thursday, too.
When I captured these photographs last week, the actual event, the annual GTI Treffen, was still another six days away from commencing. Similarly, it had been five days since the XS Car Show Night, the official highlight of this unofficial period before the official event occurs.
Confused? You’re allowed to be, but hopefully it gives you an insight into how difficult it is to plan for something which has no pre-determined start and end dates.
It’s entirely down to luck.
What adds further difficulty to the situation, from a Speedhunters perspective anyways, is that cars and people are spread out over a huge area. You’ve already seen what the famous Turbo Kurve looks like on an ordinary Tuesday in the run up to the GTI Treffen and that’s only a small representation of the number of cars present.
If you can imagine a world where every second commuter car has been replaced with a tastefully modified example, scraping the floor as it gently cruises along, you are starting to get the picture. The sheer volume of modified cars here is simply breath taking. It’s like Need for Speed, but in real life. Trust me, there’s plenty of speed and power involved here, too.
It’s not all as it might seem from the outside, but that’s for another story.
Having spent a couple of days on the hunt, I decided to play it smart and let the cars come to me last Thursday. On one hand, it’s almost too easy and the same background for each shot can become tiresome, but it’s the place if you’re willing to wait.
There’s no where else in the region where you’re almost guaranteed to see every car around come by at one stage or another. We called it the most famous gas station in the world for a reason.
There’s not much in the way of commentary you can add to a day like this, as the photographs can tell you more than I ever could. It’s certainly not as rowdy here as it once was. The installation of severe speed ramps and a heavy police presence ensure that most have no choice but to behave, but it doesn’t detract from what is still one of the most special automotive events on the planet.
Sure, it’s not for everyone, but I don’t think there’s any event that is. There is, however, something for everyone, provided you’re willing to wait and see what comes your way.