Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sydney V8 Experience

So I see a Facebook post about winning a ride in a Mercedes V8 Supercar at Sydney's Eastern Creek – who wouldn't want to win that, right?

I fill out the details and submit the entry, not expecting to hear back. I can't recall ever winning anything in the past, apart from the occasional 20 bucks in lotto.

Surprise, surprise, I win!

Having been recently retrenched from work it seemed like a nice change of pace, and with a birthday a few days before the ride, it was perfect timing.

Driving to Sydney I began to think about the ride. I'd been in similar race cars before, but nothing of the calibre of a real V8 Supercar, and Eastern Creek is certainly enough to get the blood pumping.

Staying in a motel across the road from the track gave me plenty of time to walk around, look across the track and ponder the ride. I was pumped!

Looking across from the motel room to Sydney Motorsport Park.
I arrived at the track early to check out the cars, and those stunning Western Star transporters.

 Love those Western Stars.

I watched the reaction of others in the pits waiting for and returning from their rides. A broad grin from all was the telling factor. I was tingling with nervous anticipation.

 Just hanging around in the pits.

 A quick snap from the roof.

After snapping a few photos with the iPhone I bumped into Betty and managed a quick chat.

Then it was my turn.

I sat in the hot seat, race suit and helmet on, waiting for the Irwin Racing AMG to roll up.

Seat belts were fastened, Lee Holdsworth looked across and said, “let's do it”, and so it began.

It's time.

On exiting pit lane it was immediately apparent this was going to be no stroll in the park. I could feel the car twitching on the edge of grip and wondered how we were going to navigate the same corner at race speed, on the race line. But of course there was the twisty section around the back of the course to contend with first.

Lee wasn't holding back, throwing the car wide and cutting across the curbs, providing a real race experience. I was being jolted around the tight confines of the cabin, and my grin grew wider with each turn.

Hammering down the main straight and turn one beckoned fast. A dab of the brakes, a lower gear and we powered on through. Absolutely amazing!

The G-forces around the track left a real impression of what these blokes go through on a regular basis. Their bodies must take a beating and it really gave me a renewed appreciation for the sport.

A quick chat after the ride.

And of course Lee was more than happy to have a chat after the ride, casually noting that 220 kph through turn one is one of the fastest sections in the country, comparable to Phillip Island.

“Were we doing 220 through there?” I quizzed.

“Yeah about that,” he said.


Thanks have to go to sponsor ihear for the opportunity, and of course Betty Klimenko and the Erebus racing team for making it all possible.

I've always been a Ford man, and I doubt that will ever really change, but I've been an avid follower of the AMGs since they joined the Supercar ranks.

While speaking to Lee he suggested more people were following drivers rather than particular marques these days. I've followed Brad Jones Racing since working for a weekly paper in Albury, more on a professional basis, and enjoyed it, but I've never really strayed from the Blue Oval personally.

Having said that, the sport itself is what excites me. Being track-side at an event, wandering around the pits, or walking around the track taking photos adds another dimension to what we all watch on TV. I remember taking a previous editor to Winton a few years back, not an avid race fan, and he was instantly hooked.

Whatever brand you follow, it's all about the spectacle, and I reckon it doesn't get much better than V8 Supercars.

But these AMGs – I just love the look of them, the sound of them – I guess you could say Erebus has become my new V8 race team.

Come Winton this weekend, I know who I'll be cheering for.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Reflecting on four years of work on a local weekly paper, it occurred to me I'd actually achieved quite a bit.
In that time I've managed to speak to quite a few people I never would have expected to see in person, let alone sit down and have a chat with.
Of course my passion is sport. Having a V8 Supercar team here in town certainly helped that cause, and created some sporting memories I'll never forget.
I remember following the Brad Jones Racing team - back in the Ford days - (I've always been a Ford man) and Jason Bright was one of my favourite drivers when he was punting the Blue Oval around the track.
Then all of a sudden there I was, sitting in the Brad Jones Racing board room having a chat to Brighty. It might not seem like a big deal to some, but I had only been in the media industry for five minutes really, so to me, it was huge!

I also managed to catch up with Jason Richards a couple of times over the phone, before his sad, untimely death.
I could feel the passion in his voice, the desire to take the team as high as he physically could, and I have no doubt, given the chance, he certainly would have succeeded.

I watched at Winton from the Jones garage as Bright sliced his way through the field to finish top of the podium, and noted the pride displayed by a then ailing Richards, seeing his car take the honours. 

After the race I managed to sneak up the track with the team to catch an amazing moment close up of Richards and Bright, and proudly ran it front page.
While I've spoken to many people over the years, that was certainly one moment that will always stand out.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Dunk

Everyone loves a dunk.
And every basketball photographer wants to catch the moment.
It doesn't matter that I know this bloke is going to throw one down, he always seems to catch me out.
But I have managed to snap a few of him going to work!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


Sometimes I really love this job!
Through NewsWeekly I get the chance to chat to a few high profile sports-persons that have connections to Albury Wodonga or are visiting the area.
I've chatted to AFL stars, V8 drivers, Olympians, Australian cricket players and so on.
Lauren Jackson would have to be my favourite so far.
Being a basketball nut it's something I've been wanting for a while.
The fact that she hails from Albury meant it was only a matter of time really.
I was lucky enough at this junior tournament to have been given five minutes to speak with her.
After she'd just spent quite some time with fans seeking autographs and photos I was happy to have that chance.
And while five minutes doesn't go a long way it was still an opportunity I wasn't going to miss.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Lots of Sport

I've been shooting lots of sport lately for a local newspaper which has kept me very busy, from table tennis to motor racing and a lot of other stuff in between.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Alex Duck wins again.

For the second consecutive season Lady Bandit Alex Duck has received the SEABL Women Australian Youth Player of the Year Award.
At 18 years of age it's a great effort.
She's been an outstanding player for the local Albury Wodonga team and the accolades are well deserved.
The name Alex Duck will no doubt be one to watch in Australian Womens basketball for years to come.

Congratulations Alex!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lady Bandits bow out.

It's been a great season for the Albury Wodonga Lady Bandits making the playoffs for the first time.
I wasn't at the game against Dandenong but going on the box scores it appears to have been a cracker!
On a head to head basis the teams have been separated by a matter of 2 points on each occasion leading up to the elimination final with Dandenong holding on both times.
And so it continued with with Dandenong getting out to an early advantage only to see it pulled back and then overtaken by the Lady Bandits, who went on to lead at the final break.
In typical fashion Dandenong regained the upper hand taking the game by, you guessed it, 2 points!
Despite the loss the girls can hold their heads high having achieved some great things this season.
Support has been strong from the local crowds and should hold them in good stead for the next season.
Well done girls.
A fun moment with the Lady Bandits