2020 ZOOM - Motor Sport Photography

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2020 ZOOM are proud to be associated with Karen's racing in the MR2 Challenge. Very soon the car will be adorned with their sponsorship decals and they plan to attend some of the upcoming rounds of the 'Challenge, to support Karen and to use the opportunity to take more stunning shots. The following should give an insight into what they're about:

"Like most things in life, motor sport photography has good and bad points so let’s get the negatives out of the way first.

If you like your bed and you enjoy relaxing weekends, don’t even think about it. Virtually every Sunday in our diaries is logged out solid for months and all of these without exception will involve an early alarm call.


James is an engaging character who I get along with really well but when I pull up at his place at 6.00am to go to a shoot, he knows that a quiet journey only punctuated by me quietly cursing other road-users, is what’s required. No matter how far we travel, we never stop on the way aside from when I tell James to climb out of the car to scrape road kill off the front grill.

First port of call when we arrive is registration at the media centre to bag tabards so we can get trackside. Several cups of vile tasting coffee followed by a cooked breakfast and we’re ready to actually converse.

The un-written rule about filming motor sport is that when you’re in the pit-lane, you need to flaunt the chunkiest camera and the longest lens that you can. To be perverse, of course, I delight in wandering around with a tiny wide-angle 28mm lens, which everyone stares at as though I’ve lost my mind. Massive, tangled beards or ponytails or both are also a prerequisite. James and I don’t do that look. We don’t have huge sweaty beer guts either. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if we’re really impostors infiltrating the world of motor sport photography.

Throughout the winter, we cover virtually nothing to do with motor sport. Instead we concentrate on landscape photography, rock bands and architecture. As a result, when we go back to filming cars in the spring, we’re rubbish but after a few dire efforts and a couple of heated discussions, we get our act together and all is well again.

James and I work in very different ways because we have totally different backgrounds. I call him the Geek and he refers to me as Mr Art Farty.


I’m clueless when it comes to dealing with the mechanics of my Nikon. ‘Geoff, it’s a bright, sunny afternoon. Why have you got your white balance set for flash?’ he’ll ask in a shrill, exasperated voice. I shrug and embarrassingly confess that I haven’t looked at my settings since filming a rock band in a pitch-black hall several days ago. At this point he confiscates my camera, twiddles around with various menus that I’ve never even come across before and throws it back at me before going off in a huff.

When he’s composed himself, I try to encourage him to do the same to a picture. ‘What are you seeing through the viewfinder right now, James?’ I ask him. Amazed by the banality of the question he’ll reply, ‘I’m seeing an Audi Quattro Sport of course, mate. What do you see?’ I fix him with a stare that would drop a terrorist at fifty paces. ‘I tell you what I see, mate. I see an Audi Quattro Sport too but what I also see is a large pile of dog excrement just by it’s rear wheel, a rubbish bin to the left of it and a fat bloke covered in tattoos in the background picking his nose with his one hand whilst scratching the crack of his backside with the other. I’m all for multi-tasking but is that what you’re really trying to capture with this image?’

Despite our artistic and technical differences, it generally works out fine.

Having touched upon the dodgy side of Motor sport photography, it’s now time to move onto the positives.

Fast food. Fast Women. Fast cars.

Enough said, I feel."

Please visit www.2020zoom.com


Scrapheap Challenge.

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Well, not quite…


On Saturday, Lance was a fantastic help to Richard as they stripped down the front of the spare car. This was to provide spare lights, slam panel, wings, bumper bar, and side skirts. We were especially fortunate that the front bumper bar was in mint condition and must have been replaced very recently.


On Sunday, it was Darren’s turn with the spanners. He and Richard trial fitted the parts and made adjustments to the chassis rail, bonnet and front light to ensure everything was to go back together as it should.




Richard’s job over the next few days is to prepare and paint the new parts in blue and re-assemble everything. After this has been done, the rear ¾ panel needs to be looked at and the front suspension fixed. At least it was a relief to discover that major work wasn’t going to be required on the chassis rails.


Oops! An Admission of Guilt.

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Whilst working on Karen's car to repair the accident damage from Cadwell, I discovered this unique suspension arrangement in the passenger front arch! Now it's quite possible that this is the result of karen's off-roading at Cadwell. However, I believe it's more likely this was the cause of her handling issues and some of the resulting problems. It was possibly a result of an off she had at Snetterton over some kerbs after which she reported some strange noises.
In which case, Darren and myself both missed this somehow... Well, nobody's perfect!


MR2...Number 2!

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After the need for some new panels and various other parts after Cadwell, it was decided the best course of action would be to buy a complete car to donate what was required and which would be used to pirate further parts from as and when required.
eBay turned up trumps again, with Richard and Darren collecting the car and other spares from a great guy called Jim. Thanks to Jim for his help in loading the car on trailer and making an excellent cuppa.
The bodywork is in fairly good condition. The engine was recently swapped but currently doesn't run. The reason is believed to be some kind of electrical glitch, so Darren and Richard plan to sort that out after the driver's front wing, light, and other parts are used to repair Karen's car in time for Mallory Park. Here's hoping that both projects run smoothly.
Karen was considering stripping the car of what was required, scrapping the chassis and selling on anything else. Richard on the other hand, is day-dreaming about using it for a MK2 turbo engine conversion!


Race Report: Cadwell Park 7th May

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Karen didn’t have the benefit of any practice at Cadwell before race day, and the clouds were hanging dark and heavy. Chances for decent finishing positions were therefore considered bleak.

However, Karen was toward the front of the cars going into the qualifying session and this ensured she got a fair amount of clear track. She found the track extremely slippy in the Gooseneck and Hall Bends, but we subsequently discovered that so did everyone else. Karen had trouble turning into the left-hander before the Mountain, with the front of the car hopping, causing a fair amount of understeer. This behaviour left her pit-crew scratching their heads. She qualified in 15th place for Race 1 and in 14th place for Race 2. Not fantastic, but not too bad either.





Photographs copyright Martin Goldsack, reproduced with kind permission.

At the start of Race 1, Karen actually had difficulty in seeing the starting lights past the car in front! She did manage a decent start though, and better than John Wilson #17 who she passed along the straight and into Coppice. Within a couple of laps, she was exiting the Hairpin under full power when Roger Pullan #13 struck her on the rear ¾ and sent her spinning wildly. During this melee she ended up crushing the passenger door of #13 thus damaging the nose of her car. Having spun to a halt she span again on the grass trying to rejoin and was dead last. She was soon chasing down the next car, Tony Kiss #5 and within a couple of laps she was past him and a lap later had overtaken two more cars. At was at this point that she noticed real difficulty in trying to turn left. The usual problem of the left-hander before Mountain became magnified and massive understeer saw her thrown onto the in-field. She was carrying a lot of speed and as she reached the circuit at the Mountain her front passenger tyre blew. As she recovered, all her previous work was undone as the cars raced by her. Karen was unaware of how bad the problem was with the front wheel, and soldiered on to drive another two laps and finish in last place!


Photograph copyright Martin Goldsack, reproduced with kind permission.

Just for a change, her pit-crew actually had something to do! Darren got stuck in straight away and he and Richard dismantled the bumper and began to remove the dents in the front wing. The front bumper alignment was out which caused problems with the lights. After a couple of hours and help from various people including spectators, fellow racers and MR2MK1 club officials the car was ready for the next race. Karen would like to take this opportunity to thank them again for all their help.

Karen seemed to get another decent start in Race 2, which saw her just ahead of fellow Worcester dweller #17 John Wilson. After a couple of laps for things to settle down, he spotted a gap and flew by going down Mansfield. On the next lap Karen fluffed a down-change at the Gooseneck and was forced to brake whilst still turning in. The resulting spin caused no damage, but allowed Ross Stoner #22 through in his tango-coloured racer. A recovery drive saw her overtake George Stoddard #3 and catch Ivan Thomas #59. That was as far as she would get though, as Ivan made sure she couldn’t get by him thanks to behaving less than gentlemanly and weaving along Park Straight, not letting her past on either side. The end of the race saw everyone having to be vigilant in avoiding the stricken car of Rob Howes #7, as they drove out of Barn before crossing the line. Karen finished 17th, but was later promoted to 16th due to a disqualification higher up the field.

Karen was philosophical about things, but still disappointed with the results. That’s the second meeting this year and the second time her races have been spoiled by the actions of a novice driver. Despite this and the apparent suspension problems, she managed to finish both races and still leads the Women’s Championship!


About Karen Phillips

  • Karen races her Impreza WRX in the Nippon Challenge, a race series for Japanese and Asian cars. Karen has now been racing since 2006, having started in the MR2 Challenge.
  • Please check this site regularly for updates on Karen's progress through the season and developments with her race car.

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