Dukeries Rally: Sherwood

11 June 2013

My first rally, hopefully of many...

If you went down to the woods on June the 8th you would have been in for a big surprise…a rally car shaped one. On the weekend the 2013 edition of the famous Dukeries Rally took place in the forests of Sherwood for what would be another action packed weekend of British motorsport action.

This was my first rally that I’ve attended since I was about 10 years old, and the first time I’ve ever visited with a camera in hand. I learnt very quickly that it’s a completely different approach to what I’m used too. A lot of preparation and planning seems to be the key to getting quality, well thought out photos in rallying. As well as making sure you’re in the right spot at the right time. This sounds easy but it really isn’t. Whereas in circuit racing a car comes past every 3 minutes or so (unless you’re at the Nürburgring) in the woods at a rally you get one chance for each car. One.

Massive respect is due to rally photographers, they have a tough job.

Many people question the relevance of rallying these days, they say it doesn’t relate to road cars and that the fans simply aren’t interested anymore. Where these shouts may fall true in the higher tier championships like the World Rally Championship, where numbers have dwindled for years now – predominantly due to a certain French man winning a bit, I don’t feel it’s relevant in the national level BTRDA races.

The crowd was of a good size and created a strong atmosphere, particularly around the more popular viewing points on the Sherwood Pines stages. It was great to see such a mix of young and old visiting too, I saw kids in sheer awe of these fire breathing, pure bred machines flying (literally in some cases) through the woods. The cars are exactly what racing cars should be all about, they over dramatize movements; diving at the front when on the brakes and rearing up like a startled horse when on the power, they spit fire, pop and crackle and generally seem to be sideways. Its this exciting blend of elements that helps to make people want to come out and see them again and again.

Another element which makes rallying so good for the fans is cost. I was a spectator for this particular event and paid £6 for a whole day worth of forestry based action. I paid £4 for parking (which is just Sherwood Pines cost – if I’d visited the Watchwood stage then parking would have been free) and then £2 for a program. That’s cheap in my humble opinion! I used to spend in excess of £25 for some circuit racing tickets.

As you can tell, I’m sold on rallying. It’s definitely something I’m looking to do more of. It’s got that exciting blend of action, scenery and some seriously quick machinery. I’ve currently got two more rallies listed on my calendar but I’m looking to expand this where possible. If you’re interested in using me to cover a rally please feel free to drop me a message via the contact section of the website.

My next rally is currently set to be the final round of the FIA WRC, Wales Rally GB. My next event is the Avon Tyres British GT Championship at Snetterton.

Below is a selection of my favourite photographs from the event, please feel free to leave a comment!

Coming Soon: LVA Cup Finals