What a week!
From the Kelly Racing headquarters in Melbourne, a two day road trip via Wagga Wagga to Bathurst and then the chaos of Australia’s most iconic motor sport race, and finally onto Sydney to arrive home in the wee hours of Monday morning. A seven-day journey for the duration of Kelly Racing’s no#15 car 2011 ‘Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000’ bid.
From a photography perspective, I was excited to have the opportunity to use the recently released Nikon 1 V1 mirror-less camera system. A combination of pro features in an interchangeable lens, sturdy magnesium alloy compact body, utilising the latest sensor, processor and auto-focus technology with dedicated lenses… that happen to be amazingly sharp for their tiny size (the 10.5mm f/2.8 is awesome!)
What really stood out with this system was the ability to gain professional high-end imagery whilst remaining unobtrusive … my client even laughed at the setup and suggested I shouldn’t be allowed to use it because I didn’t look like a real photographer – but then she saw the results and when another photographer approached and asked if he could take a look at the Nikon 1, I grinned smugly back at my client. [She did seem relieved when I later produced my Nikon D3s, D3 and Black Rapid straps, exclaiming “now you look professional, although you also look a bit like a navy-seal as well” :-)]
The video and photo documentary was a test for both crew and talent alike; the frustrations of accommodation, access, accreditation and TV rights, the challenge to produce daily content and imagery in a high-pressure environment and the patience of Rick and his crew when ‘smiles were hard to come by with a car that just wasn’t behaving.
The rain, the sun, the rain again… and then the race. Abuse of motors, panels and components that saw a slowly increasing attrition rate but a constant and solid performing Jack Daniels Racing team. Then the chances of Todd Kelly and David Russel dashed while in 10th place in the No#7 car, their race ruined with a mechanical problem.
Rick Kelly and Owen Kelly’s No#15 car continued to solidly perform back in the midfield but pace was hard to come by and passing is always a challenge on the iconic Mt Panorama circuit.
But then arrived the turn in the story that we’d all been looking for, a change from the frustrations of an off-pace car to Rick’s comeback from 22nd position to 4th in the latter half of the 1000km race. On the road to a podium position, smiles were worn more freely BUT Bathurst is a long race and lady-luck can change her mind in an instant…. and she did!
Smiles were only short-lived and disaster struck… a safety car forced Rick back a few position and a pit stop dropped him a few more and then just to top it all off the No#15 car was black flagged after springing an oil leak, the two pit stops that followed ended Rick’s journey to success at Mt Panorama in 2011.
A disappointing finish for Rick and Owen, but proof that the boys certainly can drive the wheels of a V8 Supercar – and Rick assuredly did exactly that (especially when he got a wee bit ‘pissed off’) with a huge effort, dragging the No#15 car from practice where it simply wasn’t ‘up to speed’ to vie for a top tier position.
The journey is displayed here in a selection of images from the week with Kelly Racing (and a massive thanks to Rick and fiancée Elysia for putting up with me for the duration)
…PS: The consolation for the boys was the podium in third position of another Kelly Racing entry, the Pepsi Max Crew, driven by Greg Murphy and Allan Simonsen.
The Pix, video’s, Vlog’s, Blog’s and all the good stuff can be found at www.redbull.com.au including the daily photo-blog updates (http://www.redbull.com.au/cs/Satellite/en_AU/Article/Road-to-Bathurst–Day-6-021243099040303)