Hey. Long time, no see.

I know. I know. It’s been a couple of months since I’ve written on the blog here and I’ve been slacking all around when it comes to the media that Afterburner puts out. If you pay attention to our Instagram, we haven’t been completely stagnant over these past couple of months since I wrote a little piece about an abandoned Porsche in our town.

The reasons behind why we haven’t been putting out anything here on the blog the past few months have been few in number. However, their importance has been massive in the grand scheme of things and will shape how this year/season will play out for Afterbuner.

First, let me get a few things off my chest. Due to a lack of funds coming in through my full time job, I had to sell my Sony A7 mirrorless camera in order to fund parts for the up coming season. While it didn’t free up much, I was able to get some parts for both of my car in a feeble attempt at getting them both in reliable running condition. As I am happy to report, we are almost there with my ’95 BMW 318ti nicknamed “The Scarlet Special” you may remember this car if you’ve been following our shenanigans here on the site for a while. The last project update was over a year ago (you can read that HERE).

After a long time screwing around with stupid things with the car, finding out the junkyard motor I had installed had a blown head gasket and was just trash overall. I had decided to fully rebuild the original engine that shipped with the car when it was built. Brenden and I pulled the junk motor out in January, and I set about rebuilding Scarlet’s original heart. After a couple of months of working every other, or every third weekend. I was able to get the motor to fire up and this past month. We ventured up to Michigan this past weekend with a truck and trailer to bring the car back home with us. I had some cooling issues to tend with, which prevented me from driving the car home. Still, at the time of writing this, I sorted the cooling and put some miles on the car (around 40). She still needs some work, a couple of faulty sensors need replaced, and the two year old gas that’s sitting in the fuel tanks needs burned through before the car will be in tip top shape.

First impressions though. The Condor Speed Shop bushings feel amazing. I can feel so much of what the car is doing through the steering wheel, bucket seat, and the body. I can’t recommend enough replacing your “for fun” car’s worn out rubber bushings with some nice polyurethane ones and, if you have a BMW, Condor will be able to help you sort that out. Now, as much as that sounds like they made me say that. I have no ties with the guys and gals at Condor. I’m just a happy customer who loves the products they put out.

Now, this brings me to the Mazda. Back in February, I ran into quite the issue with the car. I was on my way up to the shop to work on the BMW one Saturday afternoon, when the car sprang quite the leak. One of the dowel pins on the US drivers side of the engine had an O-Ring that decided it didn’t want to perform it’s function any more. So, rather than do any permanent damage to the engine. I parked it and I’ve been waiting to rebuild/reseal the engine since. I’ve been waiting for the space to open up at our buddy Chuck’s new shop. Chuck has been working with rotaries for longer than I’ve been alive. With his expertise, and the rebuild kit from Atkin’s Rotary  that arrived last week, we should be able to knock it out in no time.

Back to the camera situation. While we still have Brad’s Nikon we could use to shoot digital photos at the events we go to. I saw an opportunity. I’ve been wanting to push film photography more to the forefront of our media for a while now. It’s a medium that we on the team really enjoy. So rather than be down in the dumps about having to let go of my Sony. I picked up my 30 year old Canon T50, loaded a roll of Ilford Hp5 black and white 35mm film, and snapped away. At what you may ask?

Racecars. Duh.

Because neither of my cars were in any sort of condition to be driven at the limit on the track. I had to forfeit my first track day of the year at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Our buddies at GridLife were putting on the event, so we had to make sure we were there. With a couple extra rolls of film and a change of clothes packed. We all stuffed into Brenden’s WRX and followed him to Mid-O.

We arrived at the track Saturday morning, just prior to the sun’s appearance over the Eastern Horizon. Oddly enough, Brenden wasn’t driving his Subaru on track for the weekend. Instead he would be piloting his newest purchase. An ex-Spec Rx7 race car. Specifically a 1981 Series Two FB Rx7. We now have two of those diminutive weed-whacker like sports cars  in Afterburner. While I didn’t point the camera at his car at all during we weekend (knowing he didn’t want me pestering him with a camera) I let him focus on what he needed to do to learn a totally new track and new car. So instead, I set about capturing a little bit of the atmosphere of a non-festival GridLife event.

I was able to capture a collection of images that really tell the story of a track weekend, without showing any on track action. The reason why I didn’t point my lens at the track? Well, I wanted to try a different style of shooting at a motorsports event. I really like film street photography and I wanted to channel a bit of that style with my photos I took during the weekend.

Armed with only a 50mm lens and my very basic skills. I was able to get some pretty good shots. While I am still very green when it comes to shooting black and white. I’ve taken away a lot from the results, post processing and scanning. I’ve even submitted a few of the photos to a 400 ASA (the rating for the films light sensitivity)  specific black and white film photo contest. I really don’t think I’ll come away with any sort of awards. I’m just curious as to how my photos stack up against other people’s work.

As for the weekend. We had a blast catching up with old friends and making entirely new ones. We are really looking forward to what unfolds over the coming GridLife season.

Brenden was fighting carburetor issues all weekend, but soldiered on to get some valuable seat time in the car. Which really got under my skin. I was itching to get out there all weekend. As such, I’ve vowed to not miss another opportunity to get on track the rest of the year. Which is why I’ve been pushing really hard to get my cars back into shape. As for which one I’ll be using on track? I really have no idea. I need to drive the BMW at Autobahn or Gingerman to get a direct comparison as to how it performs against the Mazda. What I do know, is whichever of the two I don’t choose. Is getting sold so I can get an actual daily driver.

You can view the rest of the photos from the weekend on our Flickr gallery HERE. While I did shoot the other two rolls I packed for the weekend, I only have the one developed and scanned. Because I don’t possess the equipment or the skills to develop and scan the negatives myself. I have to send the raw film out for processing, because it’s expensive, and I’ve been putting all my funds into my cars. It hasn’t been done yet. I promise I’ll have the other two rolls done here soon. As we are traveling to Chicago this weekend for WekFest once again and I’ll be shooting even more film. So I don’t want to get backed up.

As for the coming weeks. I am going to try and write in a more “bloggy” style for you guys. Stray away from the cold, cut and dry, automotive journalism and give you guys more insight as to what goes on here at Afterburner. I look forward to what lies ahead and can’t wait to share it with you guys here.

Later,

Derek

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