‘Twas the first day of Gatebil, and all through the land those with petrol in their blood were preparing for the ultimate weekend of partying hard and driving harder.
For as long as I can remember – long before I joined the ranks of this great establishment – Speedhunters and Gatebil Rudskogen have gone hand-in-hand.
Year-on-year, the gathering of (slightly unhinged) Scandinavian and European petrolheads at Rudskogen Motorsenter in Rakkestad, Norway has represented everything that Speedhunters stands for: insane builds, big power, pushing the envelope and having immense fun whilst doing so.
Over the years, many of the current SH fraternity have attended Gatebil, some from as far afield as Japan and the United States. Last year it was finally my turn, and the three days that I spent immersing myself in the event are still some of the most memorable of my career.
Sadly, this year, and for one reason or another, things didn’t quite work out in time for any of the regular Speedhunting team to attend, so we’ve roped in a friend of the show – Dave Cox – to capture some of the goings on over the weekend.
Just because I’m missing out this year doesn’t mean that you have to…
At last year’s Gatebil, Dave was under strict instructions from Paddy to be my guide to the festival, whilst making my life as difficult as possible, because Paddy is nice like that.
So when Dave wasn’t showing me around the track, hinting at the good spots to shoot from or letting me know where to go at what time, he was removing my memory card from my camera when I wasn’t looking, rotating my polarising filter the wrong way, or dropping my camera battery out of the battery tray and onto the floor. [I'm proud of you Dave - PMcG]
So when it came to finding someone to cover the event this year, I figured he’d appreciate a little more pressure on his shoulders during what’s already a pretty manic weekend.
You’re welcome, Dave.
Thursday at Gatebil is all about easing into a pretty out-there weekend of motoring. Throughout the day cars begin to roll in from all over Europe, and the unloading and set-up begins.
For some this means passing scrutineering, and making last minute checks and repairs. For others it’s about ensuring the deck chairs are out, the fridge is stocked, the unicorn is inflated, and the BBQ is sufficiently fire-y.
There’s an excitement in the air because most people here have experienced Gatebil before – they know that they’re stepping into almost 72 hours’ worth of non-stop drifting, time attack, crazy builds, big power, bigger turbos, and all-night partying. For anyone there who hasn’t, they’re about to get one heck of a wake-up call.
Me, jealous? OK, just a little bit.
Photography by Dave Cox