If you’ve taken the time to read this, then you probably already know what the World Time Attack Challenge is and your Facebook newsfeed will have been filled with images and stories from this years event.

My images and words are quite late and the results are old news, so I wont bother recounting the events of this year’s event- either you were there or have read them elsewhere.  I held off rushing my post out as quickly as I could because I wanted to do it right, and for various reasons I haven’t had time to do just that until now. Why? Because this year I did it all differently and I walked away feeling profoundly inspired for it.

My theme this year’s post is Heroes.  Everybody has heroes, people you look up to, people who inspire you, leave you in awe and for whom have the utmost respect for.  

Then there are the non human kind of heroes, I have hero cars, and I’m sure many of you can relate- these were the posters on your bedroom wall as a childhood, the wallpaper on your computer as an adult, perhaps the one you picture yourself sitting in at the bottom of a long twisted mountain pass, or the one that your favourite race driver from sportsman to hero- you know that one?  Then there’s the ones you see and hear about in the magazines, but you never thought you’d ever see or hear- the unicorns.  Classic race-cars, legendary supercars, one-off custom builds, all beautiful and especially rare.

Are you feeling where I’m going with this?  

Over the course of my weekend at WTAC this year, I decided to rather trying to see absolutely and bring you ‘coverage’ of it all, I would just see where the weekend took me, hang with my friends and just enjoy myself, naturally with a camera in my hand- and basically just soak the atmosphere up. And that it seems is how magic happens.

I could recount anecdotes but really unless these are your heroes too, they wont have the same effect on you they did on me.  So here’s the highlights instead- after backing up a late Friday night watching the drifts I made an early start on Saturday and found myself chatting to Dino Dalle Carbonare- one of the editors of Speedhunters which is the more or less nirvana for photographers and petrol heads alike. I was inspired to create LensflarePhoto.com purely after discovering Speedhunters. Dino then gave me a small present, which is sitting next to me right now before leaving to take some photos and leaving me to hang with drifter Mad Mike, another hero of mine and driver of the iconic MADBUL Quad-rotor RX7. 

I had an encounter with my all-time favourite supercar- the Ferrari F40 earlier this year at the Top Gear Festival, however, it was parked in a tent behind a rope and I was honestly disappointed by the whole sterile experience. When I heard it would be there, I was very excited but I walked away feeling disheartened (more so when I arrived home to find my photos of it were lost forever due to a damaged memory card).  WTAC gave me a second shot at this experience however and I’m glad to say restored my love for this car.  I was privileged enough to hear it start up and watch it lap the track in anger (let me tell you age hasn’t slowed it down!).  Then just when I thought my senses couldn’t handle more excitement came an Audi Quattro group B, the ear-drum assault that is the PPRE 6-rotor RX4 and Engineered to Slide’s drift Hilux, which is pure perfection on wheels- engineered porn.

I was not alone either, I have read stories from many of the local drivers this year who all spoke in unison about how thrilled they were to be competing and rubbing panels (the drifters at least!) with some of their overseas heroes. 

So I met some people and I saw some cars- what’s the big deal then? Well it’s simple- inspiration.  

I approached the event this year with a great deal of apprehension, I was unsatisfied with my results from last year and had spent a lot of time planning how to improve this time out- I was going to smash it.  Then as life often does, all my plans fell to pieces- I shattered one of the most crucial lenses in my kit this year and to date have been unable to replace it. Things went from bad to worse when I wasn’t even able to borrow or even hire a telephoto for the event either. In the zero hour, my girlfriend saved the day lending me her own camera and lens. But despite this, my confidence was low- I literally picked it up midnight the night before and had no time to learn how to use a Canon SLR and had no idea how it would perform under the tough photo conditions I was about to put it through.

Rather than bringing me back down to earth, meeting so many heroes lifted me again, reminded me why I had come to the event in the first place.  I had found my wings again.  I came home and found my card filled with some photos that I’m incredibly proud of and my mind brimmed with experiences I wont forget in hurry.

Everyone needs heroes. 

Part I- Off Track

Part II- On Track

Part III- Sideways

Thanks to everyone I hung out with over the weekend, my friends new and old, you are the real heroes- you guys inspire me every day!