I went to the 50th Mecsek Rally in Hungary to witness the golden anniversary of one of the country’s biggest domestic motorport events. It was short but went with a bang. A literal one.
Whatever type of motorsports you fancy, you have to love rallying. Not necessarily because of any type of vehicles or drivers involved, but for its atmosphere. One takes a few stretches of road, close them from traffic at two ends and one has a rally. It’s the sensation that you can take the street version of any of the cars involved and drive them on the same pieces of road any other time of the year.
That and the fact that no other time a spectator can get as close to competitors of a motorsport event apart from Irish road racing. The sweet smell of racing fuel fumes lingering between the branches of the surrounding trees, the scream of the engines coming from the distance the tyre screeching in the corners and the cars disappearing behind the next corner with pops, bangs and whistles.
Saturday looked like a good day with the sun finally out, following a week of gloomy weather and freezing nights. I got off the bus and headed down the highway to the nearest intersection that was the exit of one of the stages of the rally. I like this place, because it’s easy to get to by public transport and it takes a maximum of 10 to 20 minutes of walk from the bus stop to get a good spectating spot.
Being dumb as a brick, I only had sneakers on walking on the just-over-freezing cold tarmac. You could see the outcome of the recce on the road. It was clean from any debris, dust or leaves and the apex of the corners were marked by tyre tracks as the cars had already made a pass there at a relative speed.
I wanted to get to the spot where I was the year before - where I shot most of my photos -, which was part of a complex of corners catching out many drivers during the last half a century. It was named Antalffy-corner after a rally driver who, in 1977, drove his Renault R12 Gordini straight into the ditch due to a faulty gearbox, squeezing the front of the French rally fighter by half a meter.