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Mon, 19 Feb 2018, 09:34 AM

Tim Marshall- A Drag Racing Photographer
By Steve Reyes
Photo copyright 2018 Steve Reyes

As I sit here pondering a story start for my fallen friend Tim Marshall, I realized that I would need to write a book on Tim to justify the adventures of his lifetime. I first noticed Tim's work on the pages of Drag Sport Illustrated in 1965. As a struggling drag race photographer at the time, Marshall's images were some of the coolest I had seen published in a weekly drag paper.

To my surprise, when I met Tim, he wasn't some thirty-something that shot photos for a hobby; he was part of the brat pack of Southern California drag race pit rats with cameras in the mid-1960s. Like me, they lived to smell nitro, smell tire smoke and listen to the thunder of a blown nitro-burning engine. This group of talented teens included Tim Marshall, Jere Alhadeff, Mike Mitchell, Charlie Strutt, Alan Earman and Bob McClurg. For some strange reason this group of misfits took me in and made me feel like one of the gang. I became their pipeline to the nitro drag racers in Northern California and I would become fast friends with the Irish kid from Pasadena, Tim Marshall.

Tim's photo career was put on hold in the late 1960s by Uncle Sam and the draft. Marshall spent a couple of years in Germany as an army cook. When he rotated back to the states he was stationed at Fort Ord in Northern California. Yes, I was the first person he called when he returned. "Hello! Where's the drag races?" he asked. I explained Half Moon Bay was having a race with nitro burners featured. Taking my trusty Honda 305 Super Hawk motorcycle, I rode from my home in Fremont to Fort Ord (80 miles one-way). I picked up Tim and then we went the approximately 100 miles to Half Moon Bay. Yes, we made it and had a nitro fueled afternoon. After the event it was another long ride to return Tim to Fort Ord and go back home. Gotta love drag racing!

The next thing I knew it was 1970 and Marshall was back for good and shooting photos of everything in sight at the races. He and Murt Miller became M&M photos and took over track photographic chores at Irwindale. After his gig ended at Irwindale, he toured with me or his mighty Vega across the USA. The 1970s was a kind of drag racing, drugs and sex tour decade. During the eighties, Tim worked for Petersen Publishing shooting drag racing, van-ins, off-roading, and whatever else came up. The late 1980s saw him freelancing again and even touring South America with a group of motorcycle stunt and jet car guys. Then during the late 1980s, Marshall worked with me at Super Chevy Shows across the USA. He and Francis Butler helped me produce some of the best event coverage of those races.

I guess you could say those are some of the highlights in his career as a photographer/writer. Like all of us, Tim had his demons and also some very low points in his life; but, heck, I know he had some ultra-good times and I got to share some of those adventures. In our circle of friends, it is said that everyone of us has a Tim Marshall story. It may be funny or sad, but the most important thing is, we won't forget him. RIP my friendů.

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Talented, you bet. The teenage Tim Marshall covered many an event for Drag Sport Illustrated.
His covers and event coverage were second to none in 1965.

This was Marshall fresh from his army duty and at the guardrail at OCIR in 1970.
Then in 1972, on tour in Lakeland, Florida, photographing the Hellfire AA/FC.
Finally, in Dallas, Texas, in 1973 doing a photo feature on Whitted & Custy's AA/FC.

Jim Hotz's AA/FC went boom for Tim and then Al Hoffman and Scott Kalitta made Tim's day
at Pomona, California, a long time ago. Yes, Tim caught some classic moments in drag racing
and he loved those boomers.

As you can tell, Marshall and I took photographing race cars seriously at Indy in the 1970s.
That is Jon Asher of Car Craft and Tim checking out a small piece R. Gaines Markley left
on the race track at Ontario California, in 1974.

Some of the photo gang at Pomona in the 1970s:
(left to right) Richard "Grumpy" Brady, Bob McClurg, Jere Alhadeff and Tim Marshall.
The Super Chevy event photographers, Tim Marshall, Steve Reyes and Francis Butler (this photo by Lee Orre).
Marshall at Bakersfield, California, in 1992.

Yes, Tim and I did a few "strange" and fun photo shoots. This one was for Jim Neilson and
his jet-powered limo. The ladies were from one of Neilson's sponsors, the Olympic Garden.
One of the ladies was then an unknown dancer soon to be porn star Serenity. Some of our
other adventures in photography included photographing a nude woman on top of OCIR
tower while cars raced on the race track below. Manager Mike Jones would have banned
us from OCIR if he would have found out.

Photographer Don Gillespie sent me this nice image of Tim and I at Bakersfield in 2009.
The other image was also from Bakersfield with Paul Sadler in the middle of Tim and I.
That was in 2015, the last time I got to hang out with Tim.

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