It’s funny to me that when my friend, Greg Tracy, asked me to help with My Life at Speed I wasn’t quite sure how I would contribute at a level other than making sure the back-end pieces get handled. What has quickly become a revelation as the site has gained viewers from all over the world and I hear others people’s stories, is that we all have our own personal version of “my life at speed”. Whether it be as one of the superstars like a Tracy, Millen, Foust or Mirra or as the 23 year old college grad who runs NW Tuner.com, it is evident that we all are connected. My Life at Speed is about real people, passion and sometimes loss. It is my story. It is your story….it is how those stories interrelate.
Last weekend we had the opportunity to attend the Olympus Rally. At the media briefing we saw two photographers that we had met at the Global RallyCross Championships held at DirtFish Rally School. One of them, Erik Minkel, asked if he could go with us. We quickly said, “hop in” and we were off – heading up to stages 3 and 6. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but Rally-America made sure that we had an escort who knew the course and he would make sure we stayed out of trouble. We were fortunate enough to be able to access areas not open to spectators. We quickly surveyed the course and found a couple of spots that we knew would be fast, have tight turns and lots of action.
Since we had a lengthy ride to the course, we started chatting and Erik revealed his passion for tuner cars, drifting and rally. He was a recent college grad who runs NWTuner.com and well, one of those “brainiacs” who sometime make me a bit nervous. What was so cool about Erik, is that our talks quickly turned to racing, web site development and photography. Wheeewwww…even though he is one of those “smart guys” he was super cool too.
So we found our first spot to shoot – a long straight with a few dips in the road and good light. Since we wanted as many angles as possible, we decided that equipment was, or could be expendable, we duct taped our Contour Camera to a stick and jammed it into the ground. Erik had a GoPro and he found the perfect spot to show the elevation and propped the camera up with rocks. My iPhone was also used – let’s see that “phone” has gone up Pikes Peak, gone 200+mph at Bonneville, hung off the side of a Super Tenere for a promo piece, gone camping, baked cookies with the girls (we have the timelapse to prove it) and now gone Rally Racing. Technology and rigging at its best.
Thanks to Kevin Ward who taught me that even an ice scraper, velcro and duct tape could be the perfect setup. 😉
We had quite a bit of time before the first cars appeared and the on-board type cameras had to be “on” in order to make sure we were safe on the course. We were not sure what we would get, but after the last car passed and the course was safe – we had full digital cards and what looked to be good footage. So far, so good.
For the 6th stage we went up further on the course and what was quickly evident, were the massive rocks that made up the course surface. A big sweeping “S” turn provided an epic place to shoot and once again, we taped cameras to trees and set up the Contour hoping to capture the tires, rocks and turn as the cars went by. In the video piece, “Rally Dance”, the only place where there is car noise, the audio was utilized directly from the Contour Camera. Pretty impressive.
As most followers of Rally America know, our day was cut short and we were on the stage that proved to be a tragic end to a seemingly perfect day. Matthew Marker, driver of the “#65″ of Elk Rapids, MI and his co-driver went off the course. Matthew was taken from the rally community during that stage. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Matthew’s family and friends.
A memorial fund has been set up to help his family. We encourage you to purchase a bracelet and/or vinyl decal in his remembrance. Amanda Skelly is organizing this and you can see the event and contact her through Facebook.
I had mixed feelings of what I would want to remember from that day. The truth is, I want to remember all of it. Greg Tracy once said, “In life, if you don’t risk anything….you risk everything.” I didn’t have the opportunity to know Matthew, but based on everything that I have read about him and all of the videos of him racing – he epitomized that statement. He lived to race. He is why we created My Life at Speed.