Track days are all having the same routine. You arrive at the track, you prepare your car, you race and you go home. Most of the time with a bit of social interaction between sessions, but not too much because you need, want, to drive on the track. It’s fun, I admit it, and I really enjoy photographing them because of the huge smiles on the driver’s faces and the variety of cars on the track.
But recently I went to a whole different track day, one you could read about on our blog earlier. DMPD quickly established itself in the stance scene with the first and very successful edition and the organisation is working hard hard on making the 2013 edition even better. One of the major changes this year is the deviation from organising just one event to multiple different things centered around the main event in the old Enka factory in Ede, the Netherlands on august 17th. After the DMPD Drift Jam back in april it was time for the very first DUMPd track day.
The track day, or more accurately had one big advantage over the other sessions that morning and afternoon. I got thoroughly soaked during a big thunderstorm in the afternoon that caused a red flag for about two hours. But after five the sky opened up and we had beautiful weather, and light, that evening.
So it didn’t take long for people to prepare their cars, load their passengers and get ready to hit the track. I knew there would be a lot of first-timers and I saw a lot of nervous faces, faces that turned to bright smiling once after a few laps. I think more than one person discovered a newfound passion for racing that evening.
And for some people, who hadn’t driven on the track for quite some time it was nice to be back. Although some rookie mistakes made by the new people caused some inconvenience for the seasoned veterans of the track they also had a great time. When I talked to one of them he said he regretted not booking more track time, because he had so much fun driving on track that he didn’t want to stop.
But his sad state didn’t last long when he discovered there was a BBQ. Before I even realised he dashed off, he had already eaten a burger or two. So I decided to grab a bite as well, and socialise with some of the other people. If you ask me having a barbecue on an evening like this is awesome. It gives people a nice place to grab something to eat and talk, it adds an extra social dimension to something purely technical as a track day.
At the end of the day we had the opportunity to do some car to car shooting on the track and I immediately hopped in the camera car. That car, a Toyota Prius, comfortably held 4 photographers, the driver and a passenger. My chest got bruised because I hang out of the window and our driver took some corners a bit too spirited, but it was awesome.
I wonder what all the drivers thought about those idiots in that Prius in front of them. Our hand signals were most of the time very confusing, I was signalling to come closer while our very own Rens was trying to hold them off, so I guess they just did what they pleased and had some fun trying to get their picture taken on the track.
And luckily, the light was beautiful. Having fun on the track, taking some pictures and enjoying the awesome sunset, all at the same time. What more could you wish for? Besides a more comfortable position in the car of course, one that would leave a permanent impression of the window in my chest.
But soon, too soon, the sun hid behind the dunes and that magical moment was over. I just had the time to snap one last picture of our crew member Noud, who drove his very first laps on Zandvoort that evening. And I also drove my first laps that evening. Who could say they drove their first laps on the track while hanging out of the window of a Prius? I can!
But the fun wasn’t over yet. We drove to a piece of track that goes uphill for something that can best be described as a office chair/autoped/small bike/longboard race. And to make it more awesome, the race would be against the normal driving direction of Zandvoort, with a concrete barrier at the end to stop some out of control chairs or bikes.
The “no rules” approach worked fine, and with a bit of help from their mates the racers took off. The autoped had a huge advantage over the bike, but the chairs were useless.. Even with help the ‘driver’ almost always ended up at the side of the track.
The racers changed vehicles between rounds, so everyone could claim they won. And that was the perfect ending to an almost perfect evening of the track. When I look back at the pictures I start smiling again, and that for me is exactly what a track day should be about. A day of fun, a day to learn from each other and make new friends. And a day to crash with your office chair of course. I can’t wait for the next DMPD track day and I’m certainly going to do my very best to attend it. Now I have to think about a crazy vehicle for the downhill race, any suggestions?