Moments of Speed : Capturing the 2016 Motorsport Reunion

Time is a funny and finite thing. It slips from our grasps and flies by unnoticed. Each month hurriedly rushes through life’s obligations and scheduled calendars before we find ourselves wondering where the past year went. Weather takes its toll and time threatens our classic cars with deterioration and rust. Many give in to the rapid current of time’s onward march, but a select few fight upstream, refusing to give up. As the summer months drift by, a number of vintage machines roll up the winding hill to Laguna Seca to battle another year. Tossing off concerns of old age and resisting retirement in a carefully manicured museum, the veterans of motorsports make it known that time won’t keep them down. The time had come for them to return to sport that has served as their proving ground for decades. The Motorsport Reunion had begun.

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In the central Californian valley, a row of BMW CSLs echoed through the paddocks as the crackling speakers beckoned them to the starting grid. Old friends were gathered around, leaning over an Alfa Romeo engine bay, deep in discussion about carbs. Across the aisle, an old Trans Am Porsche sat atop jack stands waiting for a new set of sticky tires and its next session on the 2.23-mile track. It’s a saga that these cars and drivers have played out for decades. Whether a factory works car or a privateer’s personal weapon of choice, these cars each come with a rich history in racing and many of them were roaring around racetracks before I came onto this earth.

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As time wears on, it’s often that old film photos and tattered stickers are the few remaining documents of their feats and I find much of my purpose in documenting their continued efforts and achievements through photography. It’s remarkable that many of the same legends that I grew up worshiping as a child are still screaming around the track and it seems unfair that such an accomplishment might go unnoticed as time rushes by and years tick off one-by-one. So, armed with a camera and a wallet full of memory cards, I returned to Laguna Seca for my fifth consecutive Rolex Motorsport Reunion, bent on capturing a bit of history to add to the books.

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Over the years, the corners of Laguna Seca have grown familiar and my shutter has clicked off thousands of photos while aimed at its competitors. While it ranks as one of my favorite race courses to photograph, I returned this year wishing for something different. The idea of returning to my usual photo spots felt inadequate for the impressive list of cars that were in attendance to celebrate BMW’s 100th anniversary, so I turned down my shutter speed and began my journey around the track. Lap after lap, twisting and turning, I aimed my lens at the BMWs that swept by with their 6 cylinder engines at full throttle. Painting swathes of light across their panels, I wanted to capture the beautiful moments of speed as these vintage racers continued their dance with time and fought to race for another year. Although just a short moment in time, panning shots hold a special place in my heart. The extra hundredths of a second in each photo come with so much emotion and they capture action in a way that seems to tell a story. It’s in these moments that the racecars will continue to live on as legends, long after the last bit of fuel burns through their cylinders. But, for now,  while the cars continue to survive the test of time I will do my best to celebrate their efforts and chronicle their triumphs.

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