Photographer captures the thrill of speedway
Aidan Skraha has been involved in speedway his entire life and although he doesn’t have an interest in being a driver he does enjoy capturing the thrill of the race on his camera.
The 19-year-old said his interest in race photography grew from being in the grandstand one night with his camera and capturing a picture.
“I watched a lot, I used to take pictures of weather and things like that,” he said.
“I had my camera with me one night while in the stand and I took a picture and I thought it was really fun, so it grew from there.
“My dad and uncle ran the speedway back when I was born, so I grew up out here.
“My older brother races and granddad raced, so it’s been right through the family but I never really had an interest in racing.”
Aidan’s interest in speedway media extends to videoing, taking care of the speedway programs, social media and writing articles for the Manjimup-Bridgetown Times.
“I’m quite involved with a page called Speedway Sedan Digest at the moment, which is a website based out of Perth,” he said.
“I interview drivers, do up the race results – pretty much anything to do with media.
“I’m out doing speedway every Friday and Saturday from about October to the start of May and we have about 40-50 events travelling around.”
Aidan’s media duties are not just limited to Manjimup but other various other speedway events.
“I go to Albany, Margaret River, Esperance, Perth,” he said.
“I’ve been to Darwin and Redline Raceway in Victoria.”
Aidan is also the junior vice president of the Manjimup Speedway Club.
“Taking pictures at the speedway is something not many people get to do and you have to be accredited through Speedway Australia – the governing body,” he said.
“I’m gold level, which is national level accreditation.”
Accreditation is a process of application, Aidan started at bronze level – local club level – and as he spent time travelling around to different speedways and providing pictures and videos to various publications as his accreditation grew.
“To capture a good race photo I have to be ready with my camera at all times,” he said.
“I look for action when taking a picture, side by side action and crashes.
“With speedway, there is two sets of corners if you’re down one set and the crash is up the other end it can be a bit disheartening but it’s all good fun.”
Aidan described his first crash picture as a “stand out moment.”
“It was in Bunbury,” he said.
“One of the Wingless Sprints barrel rolled up into the catch fence and got two or three metres into the air – it was exciting.”
As a photographer, Aidan loves the chance to get close to all the race action.
“Being infield we’re probably about 10 metres from the actual track taking the pictures and sometimes with no barrier, so we’re out there in the open,” he said.
“Last February before the Perth Speedway installed barriers there was a big crash down the back straight and of course cars were trying to avoid it.
“Two other photographers and I were standing in turn three and all the cars coming down the back straight and they just turned towards us and we went sprinting the other way down to the barriers – it’s really fun. It’s a rush to be close to the cars, it’s a view that no one else really gets.”
Aidan’s ambitions include a full-time position in speedway, with a preference in media.
“I would go anywhere if an opportunity to work in speedway came up,” he said.
“New Zealand and America run speedway too – I would do work there big time if had the opportunity.”
You can catch Aidan among the action at the next speedway event in Manjimup on February 11.
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