Brock Yates’ One Lap of America (OLOA) 2022 happens in less than 20 days. [Cue freak out mode.] Since we’re in the midst of preparing and packing up our gear, we thought it would be a good idea to look back at what happened last year to make sure we’re not missing anything essential. We dug up this article from the 2021 One Lap of America Yearbook and thought it was worth sharing what it’s like witnessing the event from behind the lens.
From the Lens of the Photographers
By Stephen Burke
What a strange year and wonderful time to escape the strangeness with the familiar family of One Lappers. Driftpoint Media was lined up to be the official photographers in 2020, and it was the one year in the history of One Lap that it didn’t happen. The photography playbook went out the window.
For 17 years, Highland Design Studio helped develop one of the most effective models for capturing One Lap of America. Their insight and guidance has been invaluable in getting us ready, except for the fact that nothing in the playbook applied this year. There were masks, there were restrictions on where we could gather, and we had to just roll with what we could capture. It was awesome.
I have been on One Lap seven times now – five of those times as a participant, three of which I actually finished. This is my second journey as a photographer. Every time is a new experience both familiar and unique, surrounded by people who are here for the first time and those who have been doing it for 25 years or more. It very much feels like a family and I am grateful this annual reunion came back to us.
Our second gunman on the grassy knoll this year proved to be very proficient with a camera. Owner of SkyLark Photography and active duty in the 109th Air National Guard unit that flies LC-130s out of Skotia, NY, Gabriel Enders is also accustomed to long trips in confined spaces. While this event remains to be one of the most unique experiences for anybody to go on, Gabriel fit in like he was meant to be here.
The Media Vehicle
While there is no sponsorship story behind this truck, it is hard not to review what life was like for a week, living out of this rolling tank. Our vehicle choice was easy. Entering into a year when rental car costs were going up because of scarcity, we decided to take the most reliable vehicle we had in the garage. This was my wife’s 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, appropriately named Sherman, because of its green tank-like exterior and ability to drive over everything.
When you are cruising America in a stickered-up race car, you gain a lot of attention. People stop and ask what you are doing, kids take pictures out windows, and it’s just a lot of fun to represent the event. When we took the rental SUV in 2018, we had none of that, even with stickers on the side. This stickered-up TRD Pro 4Runner, however, brought all the attention back like we were cruising in a track car again. We even adopted a number for the event, Team 100.
There isn’t much to hate about this truck. It drove smoothly and the distance-monitoring cruise control really did work amazing. For two tall guys, there was no lack of comfort as we had tons of leg room, heated seats and a tall ceiling, even with a built-in moonroof. We definitely used all of the truck, hanging out of the side windows, the roof and even the tailgate as we paraded around tracks.
The 4Runner can clear an alligator without a problem. Apparently we drove straight over one in the road, only to have Jim Roberts and Gary “Duck” Drake go airborne in their Corvette behind us. I was wrapping up some emails when Gabriel starts freaking out that the Corvette behind us just jumped an alligator. By this time, I was becoming immune to Gabe’s stories and blew it off as “wow, that’s nice dear”. Turns out they actually did.
There were things that didn’t work. I had turned on the electronic features with Toyota before we left, but none of the onboard toys, like the Wi-Fi hotspot, actually worked. I wasted some time on troubleshooting but once we were moving, it was easier to dismiss the toys as missed opportunities.
Overall, the One Lap experience was ideal for Sherman. If we end up with the same vehicle in 2022, we will be spearheading the Overlanding Class which we are a clear contender.
The 2021 Yearbook Team
As a digital marketing agency, we have produced catalogs and sales material but this is our first “yearbook” together. The processing of images for every team is no simple task and we have an appreciation for how many hours it takes to make it happen. Having a group of talented professional people to work with certainly does make it easier.
Thank you to our amazing team and this year’s sponsors for helping bring this book of One Lap memories together. See you next year!
— Stephen, Gabriel, Katie and Elley