Words: Allan Dick
Allan writes about his old mate Terry Marshall, whose name has been the credit under millions of photographs over millions of years (or so it seems), but he has been around since the mid-sixties and his enthusiasm has not dimmed.
The sausage roll is from the award-winning Michael’s Bakery and the strong, short blacks are by his own hand. Both are excellent. I am having morning coffee in the lounge of the home of Terry and Carole Marshall, low on the Port Hills overlooking the flat southern outskirts of Christchurch. Terry is one of the three best-ever New Zealand motorsport photographers. Who are the others? You will find out later.
I’ve known Terry since about 1968 when he appeared as a letter writer to my original magazine, autoNEWS – with him having a whinge about the direction of motor racing in New Zealand. It was simply signed ‘TJ Marshall, Morrinsville.’ “Yeah, I didn’t like the idea of replacing those Tasman Formula cars and F1 drivers with F5000 cars,” he says, somewhat sheepishly.
Today, he’s a general in the army of diehard F5000 fans who hanker for the days of thunder, roar and rumble. But that letter from an agitated motor racing fan wasn’t the beginning. By then he was already totally immersed in his love of the sport – and there was no saving him.
All these years later, his love for most forms of motor racing, but particularly single-seaters and “young bucks going for it”, is perhaps more intense than it was back then in 1968 or so. He has always been a purist; he loved all racing, as long as it involved a motor, a noisy exhaust and the driver had a crash helmet and was driving fast.
Single-seater saloons, sports cars, specials; he loved them all. However, these days he is a bit more picky and choosy (he is a puriste with the ‘e’) and his personal preference is much more specific – current formula single-seaters – and he can’t understand, nor really brook, anyone who doesn’t share his undying passion for the most pure forms of the sport.
Talk about the 16-year-old kids who drive the latest Toyota Racing Series cars and his eye glaze while his pulse quickens.
A week after the last TRS meeting of the season he gets withdrawal symptoms. “Single-seater racing just gets better and better. People who hanker after ‘the good old days’ are boring old farts,” says this seventy-ish grandfather who is, in many ways, the keeper of the vaults of New Zealand motorsport’s history.
It’s History, Isn’t It?
Today, Terry has retired from the day-to-day battle of earning a quid. He potters in the garden and loves his wife and their two ageing little dogs – appropriately named Schuey and Kimi after F1 legends Michael Schumacher and Kimi Räikkönen. He also enjoys crossing verbal political swords with his son (one is right, the other left) and cooing over his grandchildren, but if there is a motor racing meeting or rally on, he and his crusty old mate, Euan Cameron, loaded down with a tonne or two of expensive and complex camera gear, are off and snapping.
Today, this is a different sort of business. There are few publishing outlets for motorsport images, so they photograph every aspect of the sport they can and then sell the images – to the drivers, to the teams, to the sponsors, anyone who wants them. But love for the sport plays as big a part in Terry’s approach to his motorsport photography as earning a dollar so he can afford sausage rolls from ‘Michael’s’ and good coffee. And a couple of very nice cars.
We are dealing with a complex person here – insert smiling face emoji – because running in equal first place with his passion for TRS and current F1 is an equal love for the history of the sport going all the way back. “Well, it’s history, isn’t it? Without the past there would be no present.” His records and photographic collections are immaculate. If Terry has lost any of the photographs he started taking way, way back about 1966, then that’s because he has ‘loaned’ them to notorious ‘always-losing-them’ people like me. He is also the keeper of an archive of historic motorsport material, including that of his late great mate, ‘Easy’ – Eoin S Young (ESY), the legendary Timaru bank clerk who became part of the fabulous motor racing ‘inner sanctum’ – a small and elite group of international motor racing writers who knew everything and everyone.
This was a dark world of secret handshakes. The Terry Marshall Archive not only contains his own work, and the ESY collection, but, among many others, also includes some work by Euan Sarginson who, with Peter Greenslade, compiled the Shell Book of New Zealand Motor Racing series through the sixties. I don’t know if Terry’s is the largest motorsport archive in New Zealand, but it’s certainly the most accessible. Many other enthusiasts have collected archives over the years, but they are ‘personal’; not so with Terry, and this approach can be seen in just how many articles in this publication alone are illustrated by photographs from the ‘Terry Marshall Archive’. Terry’s generosity in this regard is incredible. I don’t have to ask; all I do is say, “I am thinking about writing a story on Graham McRae’s 1970 season” and ‘ping’ – a load of files arrive on my computer.
Where did it all start?
Terry was born in the Waikato in the village of Tatuanui, and his father, John Leslie Marshall (Jack), worked at the local dairy factory. “The Waikato was a hotbed of motor racing in those days. Just look at how many name drivers came from around there over the years – Jimmy Palmer, Howden Ganley, Ross Greenville, Dennis Marwood, Ivan Segedin … and Colin Giltrap got started in Hamilton, and there were heaps more.
“Jack was on the fringe of it, but he worked six days a week so his involvement was buying magazines and talking about it – I just got hooked at an early age. I think Jack’s most regular magazine was an Australian monthly called Modern Motor that had reports on major events, so I would sneak it off to bed after he’d finished reading it.
“I also had a Scalextric motor racing set. I was a fan of the Lion comic because the back page every issue was a full page painting of a racing car. My favourite drivers were anyone who drove a Ferrari. While I was developing a love for motor racing and cars, my mother wanted me to learn to play the piano, so once a week I’d head off into Morrinsville to tinkle the ivories.
“The first race meeting I can remember going to was the 1962 Grand Prix at Ardmore – the last at Ardmore and remembered best for the rain and the superb display of driving by Stirling Moss. Jack took me and we stood there in our waterproof gear and I was just transfixed by this cacophony of speed, noise, colour and spray. I was just beside myself …”
It’s worth telling that Jack and Terry’s ‘wet weather gear’ was empty Caseine sacks from the dairy factory, pulled on like a jersey with a slit cut for their heads to poke out!
“Someone who was really local was Bryan Innes, and I hung around him at home. He was racing the MkII Zephyr when I first met him and I did things like polish the windows and wheels. But then he got the Mini and, at first, he would drive it to and from meetings and I’d go along as a passenger. I remember being crammed into the car along with spares and tyres and what have you.”
This was about 1963 or 1964, and it was a period that really focused Terry and where he is today. “I had a camera, an old bellows Penguin, and I attended the 1964 Grand Prix meeting at Pukekohe. I managed to sneak into the pits and was right there when Bruce McLaren came in after winning the race and I got a photograph of him in the cockpit from where I was standing at the nose of the car.” And that was the start of his career as a motor racing photographer.
“We moved from the country into Morrinsville, and at Morrinsville College I became friends with Lloyd Solley and he would bring to school the latest English weekly, Autosport, that he got off our neighbour, Dennis Marwood. We read the ink off the pages.”
Years later, Lloyd Solley would end up in Terry’s viewfinder as a Formula Ford driver in a converted Lotus 31. “Then I discovered this New Zealand publication, autoNEWS, and that became my ‘must read’. It was a fortnightly at first and I just about drove the bookshop owners mad going in and asking ‘is it in yet?’ – that’s why you got that letter from me complaining about F5000!”
First Photographer’s Pass
“My grandfather was a photography enthusiast, and movies had become his big interest. He gave me a 35mm camera and taught me the basics of the whole thing
– including developing film and making prints. At first the back porch was converted into a dark room for me. Later, I transferred to a garden shed and spent countless hours in there developing and printing.” Terry left school well aware he wasn’t going to make a living photographing motor racing in New Zealand, so he decided on a career in Civil Aviation and was sent off to Wigram as an Air Traffic Controller Cadet.
“On the Friday of the 1968 Wigram meeting, me and the rest of the cadets were in the classroom at Wigram being lectured on how to survive a nuclear attack and outside I could hear the howl of the Cosworth V8s and BRM V12s and the drone of the Ferrari V6 and I was wishing I was out taking photographs.” There was a big field of internationals in F1 cars, which explains why he was miffed at the loss of them coming here each summer and the change to F5000: Jim Clark in a Lotus 49, Chris Amon in the works Ferrari, Bruce McLaren and Pedro Rodriguez in BRMs, and Piers Courage in his McLaren M4A. And he was out taking photographs the following day, using colour slide film, and among the shots he took that day there is one, changed from colour and into black and white, that is still one of his favourites. It is a vertical, low-level shot of Amon and the Ferrari.
“I had applied for a photographer’s pass and I was chuffed when I got it, and an official letter from Gordon Shepherd, the Secretary of The Motor Racing Club.” In fact, so chuffed was he that he still has that letter. But he also has a ‘To whom it may concern’ letter from me when I appointed him as a freelance photographer to my magazine autoNEWS!
After the cadetship in Christchurch, he moved to a position with Civil Aviation in Wellington and into a block of flats, where there was an attractive young miss in a downstairs flat who caught his eye – Carole. “I’d go visiting her, but I always made sure I took along my copy of Autosport so she knew what she was getting into.”
After his experience at Wigram as an ‘official photographer’ Terry started taking the whole business more seriously, and in Wellington he teamed up with Howard Harris, who was producing a magazine called Wide Wheels along with the very talented Michael J Nidd, an engineer professionally but a superb artist in his spare time. And that was the end of the beginning and the beginning of a part-time career that continues to this day. And with no sign of it ever ending.
Photographing Fast Cars
By this time rallying had been introduced into New Zealand, and while there wasn’t perhaps quite the same passion, the challenge of photographing fast cars in any setting was something he couldn’t resist.
For a while, Terry was contributing his racing and rallying photographs to me at autoNEWS, Howard Harris at Wide Wheels and Donn Anderson at Motorman – and selling as many prints to drivers, sponsors, team owners and the public as he could. His life had changed outside his photography – he married Carole, and his father-in-law, Basil, suggested he might like to leave Civil Aviation in Wellington and move to Christchurch and take over his business, Car Radio Specialists Limited. Later, Terry’s brother Darryl joined him. His expertise behind the lens grew, and as the established photographers, Euan Sarginson, Jack Inwood, Colin Wilson and a handful of others moved on, Terry emerged as the ‘go to’ man.
This was a different era to today. Racing driver protection was minimal and it was largely in the hands of the drivers themselves to have the skill to avoid an accident, and there were virtually no rules governing where a photographer could shoot from. The cover shot on Terry’s book, Looking Back, illustrates that – Terry crouched, looking through the viewfinder of his camera while Ken Smith’s F5000 Lola thunders past just a metre or so away. I know the feeling: standing with one foot planted at the edge of the track, steadying yourself on your backwards extended other leg, eye to the viewfinder, pre-focused on a spot of tar-seal … and you press the shutter and the viewfinder goes black and you hope like hell that your timing was right and the shot was in focus but, more importantly, as your field of vision goes black, you also hope the driver doesn’t lose control and wipe you out. At times it was terrifying and I know, in my case, that the intimacy of the moment and the sheer adrenaline-pumping thrill of the danger was part of why I did it. For Terry, it’s the same.
“For sure. Back at the start, being able to stand so close to the cars and see the whites of the drivers’ eyes made you feel an intrinsic part of the game.”
Today, it is different. A politically correct and safety conscious world means everything in life is several layers more insulated from danger than ever – and motor racing is no different. Instead of being in close and using wide-angle lenses to get close action shots, today’s photographers are only allowed in positions deemed safe by officialdom – and
these are inevitably almost over the horizon. Lenses like bazookas are now a necessary part of the photographer’s gear.
“Teretonga is the exception,” says Terry. “The best places to take photographs from at Teretonga are exactly the same as they were back when I first went there.” But, despite earlier being able to stand only a metre or two away from a car on full power, the most ‘at risk’ that Terry has ever felt was at Indianapolis. “I was there with Sandy Myhre taking photographs for her book on Scott Dixon, Indy to Indy, and I was fair blown away by the size of the place. It is HUGE! But I was in the Dixon pits and I became aware of my surroundings – this small area jammed with tyres and people and fuel and the cars going past at over 200 miles an hour – and I felt trapped when I put it all together and realised the scope for real disaster.”
Crisp, Clear and Sharp
I disappeared from the magazine publishing scene in 1973 and rarely saw Terry. But in 1989, I re-engaged by taking a half share in a magazine that had been around since the mid-seventies, with previous editors such as Robin Curtis and Dave McKinney. I had barely got my feet under the desk when an enormous parcel arrived with a letter from TJ Marshall welcoming me back to the scene. In the parcel were hundreds of large format, classic Terry Marshall photographs, his trademarks all over them: crisp, clear, sharp, in black and white and all with a black border.
Since then, I’ve seen a lot of Terry and it’s not all been motorsport. I had him photograph a Honda NSX the magazine had roadtested. The photographs were pure art.
Today he’s older of course, but that might not necessarily have happened as he’s had brushes with death. Apart from living dangerously with one foot on the edge of a motor racing circuit, he ended up in Palmerston North Hospital on his way to the Benson & Hedges 500 from Wellington. You’d not think a Fiat 500 was fast enough to have the sort of crash Terry had. “I sort of lost my way, it went end over end, the doors came open and I popped out. I woke up in hospital.” Amazingly, father Jack repaired the Fiat. Years later, in Christchurch he set out to photograph the Nelson Rally, this time driving a Triumph Herald 13/60 wagon. “I crashed heavily again and woke up in Murchison Hospital.”
Terry’s also had two non-car related brushes with the grim reaper – bowel cancer and a triple heart bypass. “I don’t mind you writing that,” he says with a grin. He’s in good nick despite all that, and while he is more selective these days about the type and quality of motor racing he watches for recreation, his enthusiasm is undimmed – as long as the drivers are serious about wanting to win. His basement garage contains a couple of nice cars – a Porsche Boxster and, surprisingly, one of the Chris Bangle-designed Fiat Coupés, the model with the slashed sides. “The Fiat’s a keeper,” he says.
Italian cars feature largely in his road car past – the Triumph Herald being a notable miscast. There have been Fiat 132 and 124 Sports Coupés, a 131 Fiat, a Lancia HPE, and a Lancia Delta. “I wish I had kept the HPE, it was a honey of a car.”
Most of his work has been within New Zealand, but there have been some overseas expeditions – the Indianapolis visit, 10 times to the Australian Grand Prix (two with Bernie Ecclestone-approved accreditation) and two motorsport-themed tours around Europe.
“I went to the 2004 Australian Grand Prix just as Joe Citizen and I happened to be at the back of the pits when a fellow came out and actually held the gate open for me – I must have looked like I was going in – so in I hopped, climbed some stairs and found myself directly above the Ferrari pits. I stayed there all afternoon, trying to look casual and as though I was meant to be there!”
On one of the tours of Europe the small team went to Imola. “The others were off somewhere and I spotted a gap in the fence so I took off – I was looking for the spot where Senna crashed. I found it and was sitting in a bit of a state of reverie when the others, finding me missing, had come looking for me. That was a special time, as was going to Monza and climbing onto the old banking. So special, so eerie.”
But it hasn’t all been watching and photographing. In the late eighties and early nineties Terry took up karting with a succession of machines and proved himself to be seriously quick. Quick enough to win the 1994 New Zealand Road Racing Championship at Ruapuna. How quick were those karts? “Oh, about 120 miles per hour on the front straight at Ruapuna,” he says.
Right: Time to wrap this up
Favourite drivers he has seen in action. “Oh Liam Lawson, he’s incredible, Chris Amon and Graham McRae.”
Favourite spots to take photographs from? “At circuits that no longer exist – Levin by the hairpin but looking back towards Hokio and Cabbage Tree – the cars were coming straight at you and under heavy braking. And also the fast-sweeping Bombay at Wigram.” The latter was also one of the fastest corners in New Zealand and very difficult to photograph from. “There was a lot of ground to cover, so I bought a step-through Honda and put a hand-made Motor Racing Club flag on the back so officials would think I was an official and they never bothered me.”
Best race he has ever seen? “That big, final saloon car race at Wigram that everyone still talks about. To see Fahey finally win that, his Capri in tatters, was what racing is all about.” Worst circuit? “I don’t like the ‘new’ Pukekohe.”
The photograph you wish you had taken? “Picture taken by Louis Klemantaski showing Fangio in the Lancia from behind and above. Fantastic shot.”
Favourite motor racing photographer? “The American, Jesse Alexander.” Best New Zealand photographer? “Colin Wilson was cutting edge. Then there was ‘Sarge’ – Euan Sarginson.” As for my top three: Colin Wilson, with ‘Sarge’ and Terry tied in a close second.
So, for him it was a part-time career where he has just got better and better with the years (with awards, of course) – and most of it in New Zealand. There is, however, a however: “In 1978 I was doing a lot of work for Fred Opert and I got to know Keke Rosberg quite well. When we got to Wigram he said he wanted to have a yarn with me. That ‘yarn’ was about him liking my stuff, and he said if I got to Europe he would see I got plenty of work. Of course, he went on to be F1 World Champion – and I wonder what would have happened, had I taken him up on it …”