Friday, June 27, 2008

Listen To My Dulcet Tones - Yes it's Wheeler Live!

Just a heads up as I figure we have some folks who might get a kick out of this. Yes folks, Andrew Wheeler (that's me) is being interviewed on live radio tomorrow evening at around 6PM PST...
On Saturday night June 28 5:00-7:00 pm PST (8:00-10:00 EST)listen to CW Radio and you can call in to the show 1-800-510-8255, this si when the show airs. For actual free to air radio stations you can check the list here . I'm thrilled.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Worst Weekend Ever - I Love Road America

Sorry for the delay in posting... Now, where do I begin? It was all good in theory. A condo in Sheboygan, 13 miles or so from Lake Elkhart and the track and next to the Great Lake. Comfy, huge, kitchen away from everything that could present noise pollution in the evening when for me rest is important.

It will always rain at least ONE day at Road America. Oh wait, it rained all THREE days...add in thunder, lightning, tornado warnings and you've got it all!On Wednesday, my body decided to start rejecting me. Last year, on my working trip to cover MotoGP at Mugello. I had flu that pretty much killed any chance of covering the actual race day. Oddly, here we are, roughly at the same time of year and true to form, I was designated the petri dish for some sort of human biological experiment and was hit with yet another flu attack. With that thought in mind, and on reflection it was somewhat stupid, I decided to go as planned to Road America.

Rule #1. NEVER work with a temperature. As I said, I should've stayed home. If it wasn't for the fact that had a major assignment I may well have. But being a freelance, and self employed you enter into this as a Catch 22 with the Devil. Oh well. As it turned out I was able to finish my assignment.

One thing I should mention, and one thing that always baffles me is the lack of any sort of salad at the food concession stands. For example, one stand I went to I asked for a sausage sandwich (which does confuse folks out there because they say "brawt", however, with my British West Country twang it doesn't sound right and thus I end up with some very confused I stick with the word sausage...). So I ask for the sandwich and follow it up with, "does it come with any lettuce?", "no" comes the reply. I then ask, "how about a slice of tomato?" "No", comes the reply. I then ask, "do you have any salad at all?" The reply to this question was just too funny, "oh, we have some sliced dill pickles by the mustard!" To throw a bigger spanner in the works, I then just asked to have my sausages, or "brawt's" sans bun. Which after a small discussion as to why I didn't want to have my sausages in a bun I left with my two fingers of meat and was as happy as I could be considering the circumstances.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention. Just in case having jungle fever wasn't enough, both of my Canon 1DMK2N's decided that they didn't want to work anymore, at or around Sunday lunchtime. With some creative use of the on/off switch I was able to get some acion shots, but I'd like to say a big THANK YOU to my good friend John Hanson who was kind enough to loan me one of his Nikon D2X's, I did manage to finish out the weekend.

Oh, and thank you to all those folks who saw me on TV with aforementioned D2X and sent me emails asking if I had become a switch hitter...I have to say I'm still married...

Indy MotoGP test next week. See you then.

Oh, and Danny Eslick made my weekend with this little jaunty display of odd craziness...

Monday, June 16, 2008

AMA Meet WSBK - Keeping It Below 4% ABV

Can you believe Thursday started out with clouds, rain and drama?

What a weekend. This year I decided to rent an apartment a little over 35 miles away from the track in Salt Lake City. What a blessing that was. Quiet, relaxing and allowed me to cook my own food in the evenings. Miller Motorsports Park is one of my favourite locations on the calender, doubled in fun this time with the addition of the World Superbike and it's stable of talented riders. Even though Thursday started out with clouds, the rest of the weekend would be perfect as far as the weather went. The racing was fun and there was enough pizzazz that is intermingled with the World Superbike Series to make it feel like something truly special. For me, the racing is good, the marketing of the series is good (with preformed collapsible pit boxes being used to hide ugly garages you have the availability to have a nice backdrop/background when shooting ) and the access is wonderful being that within reason you can get into the garage, get your shot and move around with relative ease.

The scenery at Miller Motorsports Park is also very dramatic. I was hoping that with the slightly cooler temperatures than usual we'd be treated to snow capped mountains, and low and behold, my wishes were answered. Miller Motorsports Park is one of those locations where big wide landscape Ansel Adam style images can be created whilst including racing into the picture. AutoMotoPhoto has been updated with a whole slew of images so grab a coffee and have a gander. Oh the 4% ABV? Well, most of the beer you can buy in supermarket cannot be brewed above 4%ABV, that said, there are state run liquor stores where you can buy slightly stronger brews!

Next up, Road America, the rainfest!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fear Is The Enemy Of Creativity - Miss You Dad

Twelve years ago today, Father's Day, was the last time I spoke to my Dad. Each year this day rolls around it holds something near and dear to me. My father, Les Wheeler, was one of those people who simply did what was necessary to make things happen, and to make people happy. He had no fear of anyone, he had no fear of authority, was extremely talented, artistic and funny. Many folks knew my Dad as he went out of the way to help anyone who would be willing to share a smile. Oddly, people would always quiz me as to why I would always address him him as "Les" and not "Dad". He didn't care, he would tell people, well, that was his name. He taught me how to be self sufficient. How not to be afraid and to not follow the crowd. For that advice I'm greatful. I think he'd be super happy knowing that I work in motorsports as this was something he loved deeply. Being a person who lived in the now, Les never worried about dying. Living each day as it was his last. Even on the morning he died, when my Mother asked him why he was folding his clothes in their bedroom, he said, "well if something happens to me you can take these new jumpers (sweaters to those in the US) back to Marks and Spencers and get a refund". 3 hours later he died, on June 19, 1996.

Nothing was too much trouble for him. It was Les who got me into motorcycling. Funny, because he met my Mother when they bothed worked (or volunteered) in Civil Defense in the UK. They were both dispatch riders and I this was how they came together. In fact, my Mother (Sheila) went into labour and my Dad took her on the back of our old BSA to the Royal United Hospital where I would be born.

Thanks for being my Dad, Les, and thanks for giving me the words, "Fear Is The Enemy Of Creativity" to live by. On a happier note, words and pictures from World Superbike at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah, and Road America will be here for your review in due course.