Cotswold Clouds

Sunday 2 February 2014

The first we heard about the Cotswold Clouds trial was when a friendly man knocked on our door one winter morning fairly soon after we had moved to Dursley. He explained that the Stroud & District Motor Club have long run a car trial which used the woods just behind our house. The section near us is known as Crooked Mustard and is a seriously steep set of bends up the edge of the Cotswolds. On a muddy or icy day you have to be careful just to walk up it!

Photographically, it's fairly challenging. It's pretty dark, the cars are going quickly (at least initially...), the hillside is steep and slippery - and there is a fair bit of flying mud around. This year, there were lots of spectators - some of whom had taken the perch I've used in previous years. So I moved around a bit more, which actually gave more variety to the photos. Previously I've ended up with a lot of quite similar photos of tightly cropped cars, albeit often with fantastic facial expressions from the driver. This year, I tried to capture some more of the overall context - the steepness of the hill, the muddy track and the markers determining the points awarded.

This gives an impression of the steepness. Many cars didn't make it further than this and had the excitement of having to reverse back down.

This gives an impression of the steepness. Many cars didn't make it further than this and had the excitement of having to reverse back down.

A look of concentration, about to enter the steepest part.

A look of concentration, about to enter the steepest part.

Getting a low enough shutter speed (1/125s) and panning, to get some motion blur on the spinning wheel.

Getting a low enough shutter speed (1/125s) and panning, to get some motion blur on the spinning wheel.

The sweeping first corner, before it gets really steep.

The sweeping first corner, before it gets really steep.

Last year we saw a car roll over here. Fortunately everybody was ok and the marshalls did an excellent job of righting the car and getting it out of the way.

Last year we saw a car roll over here. Fortunately everybody was ok and the marshalls did an excellent job of righting the car and getting it out of the way.

The tricky middle section. Taken from the top, which rather hides the steepness of the hill.

The tricky middle section. Taken from the top, which rather hides the steepness of the hill.

Burning rubber - the marshalls are quick to stop this if there is not forward progress, which happens most times. But these guys got away again and cleared the section.

Burning rubber - the marshalls are quick to stop this if there is not forward progress, which happens most times. But these guys got away again and cleared the section.

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