Sunday, September 16, 2012

2011/12 Speedway Review arrives!


There were a few setbacks and plenty of work over the six months it took to compile the latest book in my series of Speedway Season Reviews, but the finished product always makes it worthwhile. I had more contributors than ever this year including award winning photographer Graham Hughes, MikeyB from Christchurch, Troy Adamson, Go Slideways TV in Palmy, Kenley Brown from Hawkes Bay, Blair Hall from Nelson, Philip Scott of Dunstan and Kinge in Gisborne, Gavin "pallmall" Evitt, Wal Joines of Stockcarscene website, Craig Baker of Coast Photos in Greymouth and my own pit photos as well.

I originally created the 2007/08 book as a safety net in case my website ever got hacked and I lost all the reviews and photos I had taken that season. It seemed a good idea to have a permanent printed record and Blurb had a fairly simple programme called Booksmart which essentially was some templates you dropped your photos and text into. It was basic and sometimes a pain to work with but I managed to create a book that year and the following season also. In 2009 they offered the opportunity to upload your own finished pdf file to print rather than use their templates and so the last three books are the ones I'm really proud of, 2009/10, 2010/11 and now 2011/12 Review.

The time involved and the cost of the books have meant I wont be making any money from the books but I like to think that there is a unique record of at least 5 seasons of racing that isn't just a list of winners names on a website or a trophy with no backstory or images of what happened. The books have evolved from the original concept of my personal reviews and photos and include obviously a few more photographers work now which is probably not the original intention, but I guess I will have to reassess if its worth doing this again next season considering the cost and time to produce it. The biggest buzz I get from it, is when I get an order for a book from a driver or family member of a driver. They are the reason I love going to speedway and I like to think the book will be proudly displayed if they are in it. I know Beatle Tarrant bought a copy of the second book which has his legendary 64b tanker on the cover. I have a copy of that book also that I spent the following season getting autographs of as many drivers featured in the book and the overwhelming positive response from almost every driver was the reason I continued to produce the books. I particularly remember getting Craig Boote to sign the book and it was the first time I had spoken to him. Not only did he sign the book but he had a good read and was great to talk to, unaffected and a genuinely nice guy, part of the reason he is one of my favourite drivers these days.

This years book is dedicated to Gavin Evitt, who as you may know sadly passed away recently. He was a contributor to the very first book I did (along with Graham Hughes) and I had received some more photos from his visit to Baypark early in the season to use this year. He was going to send me some more shots I needed from the NZ Superstock title at Huntly when I found out he was unwell and in hospital. Sadly that was my last conversation with him and his loss to the speedway community will be immense. Personally I still cant believe he wont be at the first meeting this season at WP, where we would always have our pre-meeting chat in the pits as we walked around taking our photos. He always championed the books and was incredibly encouraging. I will miss him.

If you do buy a book, thank you for your support. If you don't then I urge you to purchase photographs this season from the contributors to the book from their websites. They do a great job every season and there is some stunning work out there. Like the drivers we celebrate every season by going to the meetings, the photographers also invest a huge amount of money in equipment and time spent working and the photos they take should be valued and respected.

Link to the book is HERE.

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