Every picture tells a story – Vintage Rallycross photo of the week 42/2011
1980 Belgian ERC round at the Duivelsbergcircuit at Maasmechelen. Yours truly goes to take pictures of the outcome of the ‘Hellegat’ corner. There was a spot in the grass covered with sand, just about one metre off the tarmac, that reminded me always where exactly I wanted to go to get my pics. One of the qualifying runs to follow had the by then double European champion Martin Schanche included who immediately shot into the lead of his group. I had already taken some nice shots of other drivers with my 2.8/200mm Canon lens when it was the turn of ‘Mister Rallycross’. During the first lap all was still fine. In the second lap I took the above picture, but a fraction of a second before noticed that the Ford Escort RS1800 became somewhat too big in my lens. Perhaps taking the pic and me jumping into the greenery happened at the same time, I do not remember anymore, but I remember pretty well that my jacket was blown open by the whirl produced by the 260+bhp Mk2 Escort. However, going back to that sandspot I found my footprints gone and the print of an M&H tyre instead. God bloody blimey, before as well as during all those 30 years to follow I have never been that close to ‘tin-contact’ with a racing car in my life!
As it had been the last race before a break I immediately went back to the paddock, where my car stood near Schanche’s towing car and trailer. The Norwegian arrived just a little later than his target, but was not able to see me behind a Van. All in a sudden I heard him shouting to his English friend John Welch: “Holy f… John, I missed that bloody German snapper again!” And ‘Welchie’ replied: “F…ing shit mate, but let me have the next try and I’ll do better!” Yeah, those were the days…
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