Silver Fern Rally 2012


In 2006, 2008,2010 we have assisted in various ways during the
running of the Marathon Silver Fern Rally - always held in the South

This year it was being run in here in the North island from Sun 11th
November thru to Sat 17th November - official information, results
and videos are available on '', a
marvellous website with a wealth of information.

This missive is simply 'our story'.

The Tairua Boys this time were:
Warwick, James, Zac, Devon, Quinten.

The Tauranga Team
Donald, Brian, Scott, Jake.

Because of the dates it was not going to be possible for us to do the
whole rally this year, so many of of the Simply Better Tairua Timing
Team are still at school and sitting NCEA exams that week so we were
reduced to working Day 1 (Sun) and the Day 7 (the following Sat).

Unlike so many rallies which (because officials have to be on site 2
hours before the first car is due) often has us up at some ungoldly
hour in the middle of the night) we did not have to be at our
Maramarua stage until 8.30 a.m. which meant an 'out the gate time'
in good old Hiace #2, our 9 seater van,of just before 7 a.m. - oh
rapture what bliss.
(Mind you for our Tauranga based contingent it may well have had to be somewhat earlier!)

We met at the forest, dished out instructions, uniforms, umbrellas,
hi vis vests, chairs, eats and drinks to each of the nine marshalls,
dropped each at his appointed intersection and 'did our jobs'.

As James now has his learner's licence he was able to do the lion's
share of the driving but with me next to him.

We all did our jobs as required, and then proceeded through our two
stages detaping (removing the safety tape, which had been installed
by another crew three or more hours before the stage start time).

However during this process, we managed to hit a rock or something on
the forest road (with James driving, probably at speed) and managed
to split the sump!!

Mind you subsequent investigation suggested that this wasn't the
first time, just the final straw that broke the camel's back !!

This meant we were losing oil as a great rate. We got to the end of
the stage though (after all the show must go on!) and then bought
more oil which with judicious filling got the van to Dales Auto
Repairs at Kopu, where there was another of our cars to take us home.

The next morning we discovered that not only had the sump 'dumped its
contents', but the raditaor had 'sprung a leak'. This was not near
the bottom as we had surmised, but a hole in the radiator quite close
to the top.

After their exams the boys had the job of taking the sump off, which
was, nothing like 'simply dropping the sump', as even after removing
all the screws, it still wouldn't come out !!!!

The only way to get it out was to 'lift the engine itself'.

They then had to undo the lower engine mounts yeah right!!!

Then remove the seats, install a lifting bar, lug the engine block

What a job.

Once achieved, we lifted the engine itself, it only had to be lifted
an inch or so to allow the sump to be dropped.

They then replaced the sump with another one, (purchased locally)
lowered the engine and redid the engine mounts.

All seems good now. Mind you it is amazing just how low the sump
bung protrudes down so I am not surprised at whathad happenned.

We really will have to do something about a sump guard - but not this

The water problem has been 'fixed' with a special radiator leak
stopper - even if it doesn't last all that long it is hoped that it
should get us through the weekend.

At this point I REALLY must thank Dale Chittenden of Dales Auto
Repairs, for his unstinting effort even putting other customers work
back somewhat so he could help us. Thanks ever so much Dale!

So on Friday 16th, we hitched up our (quite large) 6 berth caravan
(recently warranted and registered) onto the back of Ace
(the good old Hiace #2), checked oil and water (all o.k.) collected
the rest of the local team and headed south towards Mangakino where
we had the two first final day stages to marshall for the next morning.
So yep we were set for another 5 a.m. wake up.!

But being 'on site', having the caravan and two vans to sleep in made
the whole thing something of an adventure!

At 6 am or so, James distributed the marshalls for special 39, then
once the stage was finished worked his way back, collecting team
members, and deptaping again. Brian did the same for SS 40, our SS39
team then proceeding to SS40 start, working through the stage picking
up marshalls, and detaping until we met Brian and his team doing the
same thing coming back.

This meant that effectively our work was done, the Tauranga boys
headed home we went on to Te Kuiti for 'fish and chips' and, of
course LPG, back to Mangakino to re hitch the caravan - yeah right.

Since leaving only a few hours earlier our 'campsite' was now under
water, and retrieving the caravan became 'something of a mission'.

I am not sure how Zac's bare feet are still intact!!!!!

But we made it, and I drove home!

We got here safe and sound about 7 p.m. tired but happy.

Still to unhitch the caravan, and check oil and water again in Ace
the hiace but am not expecting an problems really.

But WAIT there's more!!!!
We have agreed (probably foolishly) to do it all again next weekend

!! In some ways easier but in other ways harder!!

as this time the Tauranga Crew have to provide a start and finish
crew (6 min - pref 9 bods) and Simply Better Tairua Team the same for
the 'other end of the stage at Golden Cross, Waikino.

Don't all shout at once - but I promise that it will be the
last time this year

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