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Targa 2017 Photos

Hi Everyone !!

Prologue - Mon, 23 Oct 2017

Having worked for Targa 2015 and Targa 2016 (click each for details), our special stage
timing teams are once more working for Big Targa 2017.

As has been my custom for over 10 years I shall do this prologue (showing our intentions)
then each day do a write up as to what we have actually done that day.

This time we have had to provide both a start and a finish team which has necessitated
bringing people in from all over the country i.e:

As this time we need vehicles for both start and finish crews we are using Glennie (the
Hiace)and Cruisey (Dale's Land Cruiser) for the start and Chalkie( the Estima ) and Townie
(the Townace) at the finish. Glennie has a big Radio installed for 'start' duties..

Chalkie (the Estima) has been set up with the 'finish' big Radio and the other equipment
as the Finish Control and Townie (the Townace) for Flying Finish.

Allocation of people to duties will be done on Tuesday.

Warwick and Connor are 1st to arrive in Hamilton about 6 p.m. Monday night. Phil and
Alexander about 7 p.m. We then arrange to collect the RallySafe gear from Buck.
We stay in Hamilton that night.

Just after 7am Tuesday morning George, Dinny, Aroha, Leiton, Dale and Marama arrive too.

Dale and Kevin bring the vehicles at 8am, at which time Donald helps us out with more gear.

We collect Poko at Huntly on our way to Hampton Downs Raceway to collect final documentation.

We do SS1 the first stage of the rally (obviously) then head for Matamata for the night.

Two stages on Wednesday then head for Otorohanga for the night.

Another two stages on Thursday and stay at Stratford Thurs night.

Our stage on Friday is before the Forgotten Highway starts so we have plenty of time to
get to Carterton where we stay Friday night.

One stage on Saturday, then quietly head back home dropping various crew members on
the way. (Yes I should be able to do my standard Hamilton run on Sunday, but will not, of
course, be able to do Friday)

There will be trackers in all of our vehicles, if you want to follow us then let me know
and I'll give you the website address, ID and password etc.

If you know of anyone else who might like my daily write-ups, do feel free to pass them on
or let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Day 0/1 - Tue, 24 Oct 2017

Here we go!

Both Start and finish teams at Matamata backpackers, Heaps of KFC for dinner

The week did not start well!!!

Leaving Pauanui (Hikuai) at 3:45pm on Labour Day (Monday) we got as far as the top of
Kopu Hikuai without problem, then at the very top of the west side passing lane the traffic
was queued right back from Kopu!

Yep, over 30 mins either completely stopped or no more than 10 kmh. The normal 35 min
trip took well over 90 !! What was annoying was that the manual traffic control at Kopu was
letting virtually all the SH26 traffic through at will - completely ignoring the 15 km queue on

Needless to say we were in Hamilton well over 1 hour late - but guess what? The Buses
fighting their way through Auckland holiday traffic were also over 1 hr late, once Alexander
and Phil did arrive we all went out to dinner then a reasonably early night.

George had made it to Wellington but when he boarded the bus a sleeper bed (which I had
paid for) was not available for him - he therefore had a very uncomfortable trip.

At about 4 A.M. Dinny sent a text saying they were 'short' and had missed the bus anyway.
I was seriously thinking of my blood pressure tablets!!

However Poko rang to confirm she would be on her bus, and Dinny has managed to
arrange an extra vehicle, so because of Connor we were actually pretty much back to full

George arrived pretty tired but safe and sound, Dale and Kevin arrived in plenty of time and
Dinny and his crew also so we we able to have our Timing Crew regroup at the Transport

We also allocated people to each team and collected Poko at Huntly.

Final documentation was at Hampton Downs, but still unable to get Buck to let us have a
tablet for finish control duties - so we are back to using the silly little 3 line display.

We timed SS1, even with our surfiet of 'newbies'. My finish crew seemed to take to it like a
duck takes to water. (Alexander/Dale at FF, Phil, Connor, George and of course me at FC)

RallySafe appeared to work fine.

We did not do a board but will probably attempt to tomorrow.

As I say we are all here safe and sound and have to be out the gate by 9 a.m. tomorrow !

Two stages tomorrow, then staying at Otorohanga. More then!!!

Day 2 - Wed, 25 Oct 2017

A reasonable 'out the gate time' of 8.30 a.m. or so, saw us at the Hobbiton stage
in plenty of time.

No problems - the team is shaking down very well.

Just an obnoxious farmer who objected to our Flying Finish van being parked outside his
place even though the road was, indeed, legally closed.

Once cleared though it was very tight timing to get us to the next stage, over the Waikato
River ( I have absolutely NO idea what they are doing to the Karapiro Dam) and our other
stage of the day.

We made it only a few minutes late though but once more had 'no time for lunch'.

Our big Fleetlink radio had reception problems so although we could (just) communicate
with Targa Base in Auckland it had the utmost difficulty contacting our Stage Manager which
made things a bit difficult to say the least.

Once cleared both start and finish teams made their way to our accommodation at

Fish and chips for dinner tonight.

The start crew are out the gate at 6.30 a.m., tomorrow and finish crew a little later at 7am.

Our first stage is 'just up the road', but the second is almost at New Plymouth.

Tomorrow night we stay at Stratford.

Day 3 - Thu, 26 Oct 2017

Well, what can I say!

Started of badly, with losing one of the team, but once more those that remained really did
step up.

So after something of a later start than we would like we found our spot and set up - a good
600 m between Flying Finish and finish control, but STRAIGHT - so we could keep the cars
in view the whole time.

No problems - RallySafe worked a treat - even if only the silly three line display.

We (our finish crew) then headed for Awakino and did the same stage we had done in 2015.
The only problem here that raised its head at that point was that a tour car 'had an off', and
was then 'rear ended' by another!!

So far we have not lost an actual rally car we know from start orders and with no cars
missing we can relax.

As planned Dale had to scarper after the 2nd stage today (family wedding of all things), and
Dinny has taken over as Post Chief Start!

We all headed in convoy to our prebooked (and paid for) accommodation at Stratford
Holiday park

1st problem my Navman decided to take us on a ridiculous round about route, which cost
heaps of time, and then to top it Glennie had a puncture!!.

It was amazing that we had a jack, a wheel brace and a spare tyre that was properly

Combination of the above factors conspired to have us arrive VERY late (well after the
reception was closed) to find that the mixture of beds supplied did not really suit our 11
single people, but we did (largely thanks to George - thanks George) finally get it sorted.

Pizza for dinner.

We are out the gate at 7:15am, one stage to time then off to Carterton for the night!

More tomorrow.

Day 4 - Fri, 27 Oct 2017

Friday we 'only' had one stage out the back of Stratford - Not on the forgotten highway, but
the stage before.

We managed to lose three cars through mishap on this stage but apart from having to
change the aerial back to the old one all went swimmingly.

Alexander and Dale set up the flying finish equipment in under two mins and with the four
of us (including Post Chief) at Finish Control George was able to do both 'road' and ' Board' -
shades of Sophia - well done George.

Although I had been looking forward to an easy 4 hrs run to Carterton for the night, this was
hampered somewhat by the necessity to deal with last night's puncture, New tyre was
actually needed - oh bugger, then with a but of mucking around we were late leaving
Stratford by almost an hour (Subway for those foolish enough, and Fish and Chips for the
rest of us).

We lost almost another hour at Palmerston North, owing to some miscommunication
between two vehicles, but arrived in Carterton well before dark.

Chinese takeaway for dinner, and a few beers to thank the team for all their efforts over the week.

Tomorrow we have an 'out the gate' time of 10.00 a.m. and once cleared will be heading
home - likely to be a mission in itself !!

More tomorrow night!!

Day 5 - Sat, 28 Oct 2017

As we did not have to be on site until 11.40 we had a reasonable lie in!!!

A brunch at Carterton itself (and a few photos) then on to start of our stage. We left the start
crew, (Dinny, Kevin,Poko,Leiton) in position and also George for whom we had arranged a
ride through the stage in a Promotional Car.

The Rest of us (Warwick, Phil, Connor - and George once he arrived) - together with Dale
and Alexander at FF - proceeded to our FINAL Finish Control of the event.

We did not lose any cars, and as I have said before, by now the team was working like a
'well oiled machine'.

George, once more doing both Road Cards and Board.

Having given all the RallySafe gear to the Sweeper for transportation back to Buck in
Wellington, we had our next Timing Team Regroup back at Carterton, then over Saddle Hill
Rd, Feilding and on to Taihape.

Taihape has a Wild Bean Cafe so we refuelled all vehicles (again) had the usual 'pie and
coffee' then (eventually) drove the Desert Rd to our 'final' regroup at Turangi.

Here is where we dropped the 'Turangi contingent' and put all the Targa 'hardware' into
Chalkie for eventual return to Targa sometime next week.

We then headed off with Warwick driving Townie with George and Connor (all the way back
to Duck Creek), Phil with Poko and Alexander, to Auckland, Helensville and then on to
home, We arrived a bit after 12.30 a.m. a couple of Ngas then off to bed!!

Kevin with Glennie, stayed overnight with his brother Dale at Tirau and dropped Glennie at
Duck Creek Sunday morning.

Alexander should get back to Whangarei Sunday night and George flies to Wellington on
Tues then over on the ferry back to Blenheim.

The epilogue in a couple of days, and perhaps some photos that Phil has taken of us during
the event!

Epilogue - Mon, 30 Oct 2017

A wrap up - Just to summarise

We left here (Pauanui) Monday afternoon. after fighting our way over
SH25A (Kopu - Hikuai) arrived in Hamilton late, collected Phil and
Alexander off their respective buses, then we all stayed in Hamilton
that night.
We had also collected the RallySafe gear from Buck.

Met the Turangi contingent and the Tirau contingent at the Transport
Centre, Tues morning then collected Poko off the Auckland bus.

After a final documentation at Hampton Downs did our first stage
(SS1). Then headed to Matamata(Backpackers) for the night.

Did our next stage SS5 that morning then SS9 that afternoon. Then
stayed at Otorohanga that night.

Another stage SS11 next morning, and SS15 that afternoon, after which
Dale scarpered (as arranged) with Dinny taking over as Start Post
We stayed that night at Stratford. (Mind you getting a puncture in
Glennie was not ideal. This contributed to our late arrival.)

An early stage next morning (radio problems fixed by Connor by
changing the aerial back to the original)

Excellent service from the local garage at Stratford then on to
Two vehicles used the Pahiatua (???) track but Townie over Saddle
Hill Rd.
A good night's sleep after a 'few beers' etc as a thank you for the
team then brunch before heading off to our final stage of the rally
out the back of Featherston On Saturday morning.

Once cleared we did another regroup back at Carterton, then another
at Taihape and a final at Turangi, where we dropped the Turangi
contingent, moved remaining team members into other vehicles.

Glennie to Tirau, Chalkie via Auckland, Helensville to Stanmore Bay.
(arrived about 1.30am)

Townie with George, Connor and me back to Duck Creek (arrived about

Gear goes back to Targa base tomorrow.

The team this time.
Start CrewFinish Crew
Dinny Subst/Post ChiefPhil
Marama - till ThursConnor

Probably one of our better efforts particularly with the number of
newbies, or almost newbies.

Targa 2017 Photos

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