Per-Inge 'Pi' Walfridsson (S) Volvo 343 Turbo – Eurocircuit/Valkenswaard (NL) 1978 – © by Eddi Laumanns
Every picture tells a story – Vintage Rallycross photo of the week 39/2011
In the mid 1970s yours truly had for a couple of years a 35mm camera made by the Japanese company Yashica, a for action pictures completely useless “thing”. But when I bought it I did not expect to become a motorsports snapper anyway. However, in the August 1977 issue of the German magazine ‘rallye racing’ I had my first ever report on an ERC round published, a short story of the first Belgian European event [in 1977 there were two ERC rounds at Maasmechelen, one in June and the other one in September, but the ERC participants had to count the better and to drop the lesser result] together with a lousy Yashica picture of Austrian Andy Bentza (Lancia Stratos HF) chasing Swede Åke ‘Bryggarn’ Andersson (Porsche Carrera) up the Devils Hill. So far, so good!
For the October 1977 issue I had another contribution to deliver, a report and a picture from the second ERC round at Valkenswaard [with Holland in 1977 it was the same as with Belgium, one ERC round in April and one in August, the better to count]. When the mag came out I was surprised to find my story – but with a picture of another snapper. I phoned the editor in chief, Jochen von Osterroth, just to find out that they had chosen to use a picture taken by Reinhard Klein [yep, that very RK that later became one of the best photographers in the world of Rallysport and the founder of the company that is nowadays known as 'McKlein']. I guess it was the only ever Rallycross event attended by Reinhard, but his picture was defo better than those four or five I had been able to give to ‘rallye racing’. Hard cheese, but I had learned my lesson. For 1978 I bought myself a Canon AE1 with that so-called winder (for to take 2 pictures per second), a flashlight and two or three original Canon lenses. The icing on the cake was my 2.8/200mm lens, and from then on my career as a snapper was about to start.
One can say that the above picture of Swede Per-Inge Walfridsson and his Volvo 343 Turbo, taken during the 1978 Dutch ERC round at Valkenswaard, was the first ever really good action shot of mine. Lots of good luck involved, of course, as in those days there was no autofocus and one had to guess where to pre-focus his lenses. The Fiat Abarth 131 mirafiori of Franz Wurz is still in the picture, but is JUST not hiding the Volvo 343 Turbo any longer.
However, some times good luck comes together with bad luck. At the end of that year there was the usual search of ‘rallye racing’ for the best motorsport photo of the season. I had contributed my ‘highlight’ only to find out, that the winning picture had been done by a Dutchman and showed – exactly the same situation, Per-Inge Walfridsson nearing ‘the point of no return’. But the image of the Dutchman was in colour – while my photo was in black and white only…