Year 2016 has 8784 hours in it and that’s 24 hours more than previous 3 years, so you can’t really blame the time for not managing to do something. These 366 days ended really fast for me and they don’t seem to slow down.
I’ve visited around 25 cities in 7 countries on 2 continents and photographed most powerful racing cars in different, but always demanding conditions.
Truth is, for a freelance photographer from Northern Europe, racing season doesn’t last 12 months – roller coaster starts around March and finishes in October, winter months are for post-edit work, planning and rest.
My winter hibernation ends with a traditional trip across the Baltic Sea to Helsinki, where the American Car Show takes place every March.
May is the month when everything really kicks off. First it was the Baltic Drift Cup in Latvia on a very challenging part of the Bikernieki circuit, where every turn is at a different elevation level as well as every turn is blind.
Just a week later it was time for the local Estonian Drift Championship. It’s a plucky championship with its true fan base. Even though few strong drifters stopped competing, championship holds the positions and still provides good entertainment. I really hope organisers will invest a bit more money into the promotion of the sport.
In the end of May I’ve visited the Nurburgring for the first time, and oh my, what an occasion it was – ADAC Zurich 24H Race. It was my second 24H race (first was Le Mans) and conditions got quite tough. Rain through the day, snow storm, fog through the night and a very close Mercedes 1-2 finish later.
I’ve also documented two rounds of FIA WTCC during this trip. Saw two things for a very first time: Sabine Schmidt racing and a racing LADA.
Beginning of June was very cold in Tallinn, so cold, that I was wearing a winter hat. I still went to check out our local main stance community event – Stancest.
In few days I was already onboard a plane to New York where I’ve planned to spend my holidays and visit Formula D at Wall Speedway.
Here we fast forward to July and to my favourite Estonian event – American Beauty Car Show. It’s held in a small town called Haapsalu that is transformed to “Motown”, where “mo” means Mopar, for a weekend: car shows, rock concerts, car cruises, burnouts, drag racing.
Traditionally in the middle of July I go to Norway, for another mad car festival – Gatebil. This was my 5th time there and it just gets better and better.
In 2016 August was very strong. Drift Allstars visited both Estonia and Latvia. Weather wasn’t the best for an event in Tallinn, so it really showed with the crowds. Also the lack of Formula D stars was a disappointment this year, I thought that would be a tradition. Event itself was really strong and James Deane showed everybody why goes to US next year.
Riga was heavy. Full grand stand of people, new track, lot’s of drivers. Deane was victorious again.
Now I was on the road again, doing 200 km/h on a German autobahn inside another crappy rental car. This time it was Hockenheim that I really love and already visited a few times before. Occasion is great also – NitrolympX – cult drag racing event for almost 30 years. Even though I had limitations at the track, because I’m not a permanent media at their event, it still left a strong impression on me.
HGK Drift Challenge was a big surprise. I heard rumours about it when I was in US and in the end, this event exceeded my expectations. Layout of the track was the best one yet and the competition was fierce.
My last event of 2016 was the magnificent FIA Rally Cross event in Riga. Definitely the biggest event for Latvian motorsport community. I was super happy to see these rockets race almost on home soil as well as documenting Sebastian Loeb’s first win in WRX.
During my two trips to Germany I also visited Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Porsche museums. Which one of them I liked the most? Very hard to say, but my heart says – BMW.
In the off-season I’ve interviewed 16 people that are closer to car culture, that you are to your mom. I’m happy to say that I’ve already started my second season of “Talksbywovka”.
And this is how I spent my humble automotive year. Happy New Year!