Sunday, 1 May 2011

Returning to Donington Park ....

That's to say it was my first visit since the circuit's been 're-worked'; also the return of Truck Racing for the first time in ten years.  So, how was it?  Well, mixed really!  There were some good points and some bad points but overall - better or worse?  I've not really made my mind up! 

First a quick word about the circuit changes.  My visit was limited this time to the section from the 'new' chicane on the shortened Dunlop straight down to Redgate (the Melbourne hairpin wasn't being used).

At the new chicane, sorry, the 'Fogarty Esses' which have been moved to effectively the end of the exhibition centre, there's a new viewing area where you get a very good view of the trucks (or cars or bikes) from the rear going through the esses without any obstructions.  Good photos here with just a 200mm lens but you have to be quick as you don't get much warning as you can't see much up the straight.  Nevertheless a good start!

Legends Cars at Fogarty Esses
From the end of the pits all the way round Redgate and down the Craner Curves they've erected a new, and very substantial, debris fence.  Previously decent photos could be had by shooting with a reasonable telephoto (400mm+) wide open which put the fence sufficiently out of focus that it rarely showed on the picture at most good positions.  But this new fence is much more obvious!  Not good!

It's still possible to get some photos here but it takes a bit of messing around in post process to boost contrast, blacks etc to reduce the effect of the fence to an acceptable level.

There is a gap in the fence just at the corner so you can get unobstructed pictures, again from the rear, but there's usually some good action with cars/trucks oversteering and running wide although you will need a reasonable telephoto.  

Another option if you have the lens is to walk up the bank just after Redgate beyond the Donnington Park Racing Association Club Members' enclosure where the height allows you to shoot over the fence.  400mm (1.6 crop factor so 640mm 'equivalent') is enough.

And that's as far as I got!  Distracted by the excellent Drift Car action (see my earlier post) I loitered at Redgate switching between the on track action and the drift cars.

As for the truck racing, well, I was there to see Race One so I guess they were being a bit careful not to do too much damage before the races on Sunday, so it was a bit processional without much overtaking.  A bit of bumping and boring off the line but that was about it.  Still, to see these 1,200 horsepower monsters at 100mph was quite spectacular!  

Might be worth poping back in November to see the final round of the British Truck Racing Association Championship - especially if it's all to play for!