I don’t know where my love of V8 motorsport came from. My parents certainly are not petrol heads. Possibly one or two boyfriends have had an influence. I remember sitting in a neighbour’s ute when I was about 5 or 6 years old, wishing I was big enough to drive.
Now I am big enough to go to raceways by myself. That is what I did last Saturday. My dear husband was happy to stay at home and watch the Supercars on TV with the kids. I was so excited about going, I watched the weather forecast of heavy rain on Saturday and clearing showers on Sunday. A sensible person would have chosen Sunday. Nuh! I didn’t care whether it was wet or not – I couldn’t wait to go to Sandown Raceway, and maybe even meet my celebrity crush.
I set myself a few goals for the day. I have friends into the V8’s too, so I had to get shots of their favourite cars. I also wanted to get into the pits area and take some behind the scenes shots, and maybe some of the drivers, if I was lucky enough. It started raining as soon as I arrived and I stupidly parked right near the back straight. I had forgotten how far it was to walk around to the pits and grandstand. By the time I got there, I and my cameras, were already unhealthily rained upon.
And I could already feel blisters forming on the balls and heels of my feet. But I was determined to fulfill my goals for the day and eventually made it to the pits. I was wondering if people were thinking I was weird as I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I was taking photos of the drivers!!. All of them. They were signing posters for kids at the back of their garages. You have no idea how exciting this was for me!! I met the nicest security bloke (wish I could remember his name) who talked about the drivers and got me a poster signed by Allan Moffat’s son, James and Dick Johnson’s son, Steven. Which leads me to my celebrity crush – Mark Winterbottom, aka Frosty. I thought, since I had autographs of Moffat and Johnson, how could I leave without one of Frosty’s? So I stood in line with the parents and their kids to meet the man and get a signed poster. I was a little embarrassed and, when it came to actually speaking to him – it went like this;
Mark: “Hi, are you having a good time?”
Me: “Yes. Better for meeting you.”
Then silence. I swear he must have thought I was a stalker, with my cameras with big lenses attached, hanging off my shoulder. I walked away happy I had met him, but kicking myself that I couldn’t have an intelligent conversation with him. I did feel like a teenager wanting to talk to the object of my admiration, but too shy to say something witty or intelligent. Aaahh. Next time.
I had a fantastic day shooting for the absolute love of it and doing it just for me. I could keep writing heaps more about the day, but I do realise not everyone has this obsession with motorsport and V8 drivers. I do recommend everyone go to a race, just once, and feel, smell, touch and taste the motoracing culture.