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Hot Rod Drags
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NEC Int'l Classic Car Show

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And the winner is……..

17.8.06. At long last, and after scrutinising over 50 photos (including two great late additions by Chris Parker), the DRC Review amateur drag racing photo competition has come to a close and our judges, professional photographer, Ian Messenger (, and ace lensman, Sharkman, from (, have made their selections.

“The winning shot was at the top of both of our shortlists,” says Ian Messenger. “It was a unanimous decision, but deciding the runner-up and three others to make up the top five was very difficult.  We changed our minds several times before eventually arriving at our selection.

“Under the awkward conditions of shooting from the banking or the stands, some of the images are really excellent and I would have been pleased if I had produced these results myself,” adds Ian.  “In fact, in my opinion, there is very little to choose between the final three in the top five.

“On the other hand, there were some entries that would have greatly improved their chances with just a little thought and basic post-production work – for example, by cropping and adjusting tonal levels.”

In the end though, there is only one winner, and as far as our judges were concerned, that was Photograph 47 by Peter Donaldson.  This burnout shot of Ian King on his Top Fuel Bike was snapped at the Santa Pod Peak Performance Day, on July 14, 2006, with a Canon 1DMk2N Camera and Canon 300/f4L IS lens, 1/500 @ F5, ISO 100.

“This is a nicely framed shot showing good exposure, colour saturation and sharpness, to the point where the track is perfectly visible in the rider’s mirrored visor,” said Sharkman.  “This shot stood out to both Ian and I from the first time we saw it.”

The Runner Up, Photograph 16, was taken by Dave Buckland and shows John Spuffard’s “Showtime” Nitro-burning funny car.  It was shot at The Main Event, from the fence on the spectator side, using a Canon EOS 20 D, in sport mode, with a 70-205mm zoom lens.

“There’s plenty of action with tyre distortion, clutch dust and header flames all present in this photo,” says Sharkman. “To shoot from the banking without getting anything distracting in the foreground is also an art in itself.”

Click on the link below to see full size images of both photographs

Rounding out the top five, in no particular order, are:

Photo 35 - Ann Van Gastel

Photo 27 - Adam Gleadow

Photo 50 - Chris Parker 

So there you have it.  Peter Donaldson will shortly receive our great combined prize of two weekend tickets to the FIA Finals at Santa Pod next month, plus a pair of Peltor Optime 2 ear defenders, £50 spending money from STP and a great book of drag racing photography, entitled “Quarter Mile Chaos”.  Dave Buckland gets the Runner-up prize of a special, limited edition STP T-Shirt and cap.

Our thanks go to everyone who entered the competition and I’m sorry we don’t have more prizes to give away for your efforts.  Hopefully, we will have next time.

Finally, we’d like to extend a special word of thanks to all the sponsors who helped to make this competition possible.  Firstly, Santa Pod Raceway (, for generously donating the tickets, Peltor (, for the ear defenders, STP (, for hard currency, and USAUtomotive Ltd (, for the fabulous book prize.  Your support is greatly appreciated.

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