I got to know Jeff Armitstead almost as soon as I moved to Kendal, in the late 1980s. One day, early in 2008 I think, we were just passing the time of day when Jeff mentioned his hobby of Trial Driving. I had heard of motorcycle trials, but never trial driving, so Jeff showed me some pictures of a recent trial that he had with him.
These photos almost instantly piqued my interest as a photographer, and I thought that it might be worthwhile attending an event, to get a few pictures for my own interest and photographic curiosity. The first trial I came to see was Gale Hall, in May 2008. I was still shooting on film back then, and I shot the Princely total of thirty four pictures on that occasion. It is also significant that the majority of images are of Jeff and his friend Bob, because they were the only people that I knew. This was to change as I got to know people better, and eventually I adopted the practice of trying to get pictures of every driver on a single hill, rather than randomly wandering around the site snapping off the odd few shots here and there.
I would not have predicted back in 2008 that photographing the trials would become a regular habit. In the five years that have elapsed, I have added a couple of digital cameras to my collection, and one of the beauties of digital, of course, is that you can shoot an almost unlimited number of images. So nowadays, it is not unusual for me to take six or seven hundred images, which makes coverage of all the drivers and passengers much easier, and much more likely that there will be pictures of you all in there somewhere.
I have to admit, even today, I still don't really come along for the cars or the competition. Photographically, it is still primarily the pursuit of the image; and if those images are of significance and value to others, such as the drivers and passengers taking part, then so much the better. But one of the main pleasures to me, and to my friend Dave when he is available to come along, is seeing all the acquaintances we have struck up with the people of the Northern Phoenix Trial Car Club.