It must have been back in 2007, when I first saw Simon McKinley drive. It was the Saturday of a two day hill climb event, near my grandparents’ house in Co. Wexford. There were a lot of cars that day, certainly more than what would normally be expected navigating those roads on a Saturday afternoon, that’s for sure. We were close to the start line, but our view was obscured by the trees. Even though we were temporarily blinded, the sound that erupted beneath us, was a sure indication of what was coming. A scream of revs, upshift, more revs, upshift, more revs again, upshift, and just as the noise couldn’t possibly get any louder, a white MKII Escort appeared before us, sideways. Before you could blink, it was already past and into the next section, out of sight. The smiles, applause and laughs of disbelief tell you everything you ever need to know about Simon McKinley’s driving style. It’s almost shameful that it took me nearly seven years to catch up with him again, this time for a dedicated shoot for Speedhunters. Mondello Park had been kind enough to let us loose on their school course, and we were definitely going to take advantage of it. The shoot style was low key. The overcast skies provided gentle light, which I wanted to take advantage of. I think the majority of the static shots came down to two lenses: 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS & 35mm f/1.4 L with my trusty 24-105 f/4 L IS used for the tracking shots. It was a joy to shoot. Processing, again, was kept simple. Some minor colour grading and exposure correction and it was online before I knew it. The chase shots, whilst slightly risky, were probably the most difficult part of the shoot. […]
I’ve always admired the Berg Cup from afar, having been introduced to it at an Autosport show some years back and more recently when visiting KW’s factory in Fichtenberg, Germany. One of the unfortunate things about the series, is the lack of coverage outside of mainland Europe. With such a vast variety of cultures and languages crammed onto one continent, this doesn’t come as a surprise. Even during my travels over the course of the last few days, one person could speak French and his neighbor German.Although the language barrier proved difficult at times, it turns out we all spoke one language in common – that certain dialect of high octane, high speed and high risks. For full coverage of this year’s Eschdorf event, check out the stories on Speedhunters.