2015 – Broken resolutions, life changing decisions and brilliant memories

It’s funny sometimes how fast time flies by. It feels like only a couple of months since I wrote my 2014 recap, but it’s already been a year! If you read that recap then you’ll know that I finished with a resolution for 2015; Take the plunge and move to Japan.  Well, sometimes things don’t exactly go according to plan, but I’d have to say that it’s not necessarily a bad thing because in 2015 – despite a few broken resolutions – I took some life changing decisions and made some brilliant memories.

Squad goals – Roermond, the Netherlands.

It’s the little things in life that often will provide you with the best of said memories. Things like going for a simple cruise and end up taking over the highway completely. Some of the more enjoyable moments in 2015 have been the moments with friends, just hanging out…

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Same car, different perspective – Roermond, the Netherlands.

… talking about cars and enjoying the petrolhead lifestyle in general. Something I’ve also done in the past, but for some reason I didn’t feel the need or pressure as much to always get my camera out of the bag in 2015. Sometimes it’s just best to just enjoy the moment. Don’t get me wrong though. When I need to deliver, I’ll deliver! Be it for Wangan Warriors…

Showdown! – A weekend with the Infiniti Q50 IPL. Shot for Infiniti NL.

… or a client. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I had a big life changing decision planned for 2015; Move to Japan. Although this didn’t exactly happen, I did make a decision that would change my life somewhat. I started my own company and registered myself as freelance photographer!  Oh and I bought a big ass house. To be honest, starting as a freelancer with an assignment for Infiniti NL? I guess there are worse ways to start!

Out of the darkness, into the light. – Ferrari 458 “Challenge”

But a Ferrari every now and then hasn’t been exactly a punishment either to be honest. The thing I love about shooting for Wangan Warriors is the artistic freedom I have, as a blogger and photographer, but when you’re being paid there is only one rule to live by. Customer = King! I needed to learn to think more as the client – delivering what is asked for, but never losing sight of my own creativity and ideas. It’s been a change of mindset that has been easier than I thought it would be.

Porsche/Corner/Tire killer! – Megane RS “Carbon”. Shot for Renault NL.

But don’t get me wrong, it’s not like people threw me the keys to 350BHP Megan RS’s on a weekly basis. Because although I had a great start in 2015 as a freelancer, I still have my 9 till 5 office job. It’s not a bad job, it’s got decent pay, I’m financially independent but it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life. So mark my words; I won’t stop till I can call myself a full-time professional and I’ll work my ass off to achieve that!

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Time Attacking the Tarzan corner – JapFest 2K15 – Time Attackers and personal favorites.

One thing I noticed while scrolling through all my 2015 folders, is that I didn’t visit my favorite home track as much as in 2014. Not sure why…

Break time for Japanese bumblebee – MAX5 Cup, Circuit Park Zandvoort.

… but I guess even Circuit Park Zandvoort becomes somewhat of a drag (pun not intented) when you are standing trackside every other week. Or maybe it was the fact that I’ve been a little busy with other projects in 2015, I don’t know.

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Mean and green! The Verhagen Racing S2K. – JapFest 2K15 – Time Attackers and personal favorites.

Still, I shot some of my favorite (panning) shots of 2015 during a few of those rare visits and as I write this I suddenly realize that my last visit to CPZ has been months ago. I guess it’s time to pay the old lady a visit again.

Darth Vader loves the green hell! – VLN, Nürburgring.

An old lady that will always have my undivided attention is the Nurburgring “Green Hell”. Throughout the years it’s been the red line if you will, in both my personal life as in my alias as a photographer. A constant that I’ll always love to visit…

Been there, done that. A real world traveller! – First Gen Civic, Nürburg. 

… because it’s always there but yet, is never the same as the last time you paid her a visit. That and you never know what you’ll find either on, or next to the track! Like this first gen Civic that has seen more of the world than an average person. It’s even been to Japan to drive on Tsukuba, but more on that later when I find the time to write a proper spotlight on this beauty.

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Build to conquer the ring. – Little red ring tool.

Or it’s younger sibling which might not have seen as much of the world as grandpa but nonetheless has been build with a purpose; to conquer the ‘Ring as fast as possible!

Hell is beautiful! – Wehrseifen, Adenau.

But one of the best moments was when I finally managed to get out on track once it was closed for the day. Something I’ve could should’ve done way, way, waaaaay sooner but, for some odd reason I can’t recall, never did.

The Nürburgring. Where tires come to die, one way or another! – Wehrseifen, Adenau. 

Then again, all my visits to the ‘Ring have been pretty memorable this year.
Enjoying beers and steinfleisch at the Pistenklause with my good friend Mathieu. A ridiculously fast lap with Daniel from Cosmis Racing Wheels in his BMW E92 M3. Slightly intoxicated late nights at Hotel an der Nordschleife with fellow Warriors. Hanging out trackside with Rens, freezing our asses off while still managing to capture some brilliant shots. And these are just some of many great memories!
Yes, the ‘Ring has been good to me in 2015.

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With the speed of light. – Insanity. Madness. Epic. Party. 2JZ. Gatebil! 

Speaking of hanging out trackside with Rens, the ‘Ring wasn’t the only place we paid a visit. In July we decided to see for ourselves what the fuzz was all about and visit the holy grail of doing stupid stuff with four wheels; Gatebil Rudskogen!

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I can’t see sh*t! – Insanity. Madness. Epic. Party. 2JZ. Gatebil! 

It was everything I’d expected it to be and then some! I could write a book about all the fantastic stuff that was going down…

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Why 2JZ VW pickup? Because Gatebil! – Insanity. Madness. Epic. Party. 2JZ. Gatebil! 

… or the insane builds everywhere…

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Give the masses bread and games… – Insanity. Madness. Epic. Party. 2JZ. Gatebil!

… but it’s no use because, well, you just have to experience it for yourself! Promise yourself to make the trip at least once in your life and I guarantee you that you won’t regret it.

The good, the bad and the ugly. Band of Brothers. The 3 Musketeers. 3 Idiots abroad! Left to right; Me, Bill and Rens – Photo; Dave CoxFueltopia

Especially when you get to make the trip with a few friends! This photo represents, without a shred of doubt, one of the best memories of 2015 and I’m glad I can call these guys not only my colleagues but also my friends!

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Wangan Warrior all the things! – A day with the Warriors – WW drive & Dine

To be honest, all these things you’ve read in this article so far just scratch the surface of my 2015. Gatebil, The Nürburgring, my own company, I hosted my first event together with my buddy Jack; the Wangan Warriors drive and dine…

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Warriors united! – W.W. End of year 2K15. A turn for the best!

… a new location for our annual End of year meeting, which in all fairness can’t be called a meeting anymore because it’s now grown to a full fledged event…

Late night welding sessions. – Purple Haze engineering, Steenbergen

… sharing stories and whiskey with my buddy Albin while he fabricates my roll cage at 3:00am on a Saturday morning,…

Did that screw go there? That screw needed to go there, right? – Jack, Hilversum

… or just tinkering on cars with my main man Jack, it’s been one hell of a year!
For now I’d like to leave you with a nice load of bonus images. A lot of these bonus images represent a teaser for future blogs so yeah, I’ve got a tonne of stuff in store for you guys!

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Thumbs up for 2015! – Insanity. Madness. Epic. Party. 2JZ. Gatebil!

But for now I’ll leave you with my 2015 in one sentence; Broken resolutions, life changing decisions and brilliant memories!

Thank you for all your support and see you next year!

– Allard van Grafhorst

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