So here goes! These are our current plans - no more changes I hope!!
This year we are providing 3 full teams (i.e. 3 start crews
and 3 finish crews - i.e. 36 people)
for the event which starts in Invercargill on Tues 23rd October and finishes in Queenstown
on Sat 27th Oct 2018.
We have helpers from Hikuai, Thames,
Helensville,Auckland,Hamilton, Tirau, Putaruru,
Turangi and Hawkes Bay. (In the north Island) West Coast of the South Island and
As you can imagine the logistics have been somewhat mind boggling!
So tomorrow I collect a vanful of people around the place and
head for a major regroup at
Turangi, where Dale will be in another van and the Turangi contingent will join us.
We then drive through the night, with hourly driver changes
going over on the ferry first
sailing on Sunday morning
Another major regroup at our Christchurch base that afternoon,
with Christchurch and West
Coast contingents, also collecting another 5 rental cars.
After a night in Christchurch, on Monday 22nd (Labour Day) we
ALL head south to Lake
Waihola which will be our base for the next 4 days.
Tuesday 23rd will be an early start for some crews, everybody
has 2 stages this day.
That night we should (once more) get to Bluff and Invercargill We also have to do some
blockmarshaling . And POSSIBLY taping and more likely detaping.
More stages to time on Wednesday, then back to Waihola
Thursday is 'same as above'
Friday stages around Dunedin then we head over to Central
We will be staying at Cromwell Fri/Sat nights
More stages In Queenstown (in cluding Crown Range) on Sat
Homeward bound Sun, over on the ferry in the early hours of
Mon morning then everyone
back home during that day - Tired but happy I HOPE.
So there you have it our plans for the next week!
Thanks to both Ken and Mike who are keeping the home fires
burning, looking after my
customers here at home while we are away. And also a heartfelt thanks to those people who
have stepped up at the last minute to cover those who have 'pulled out just before they are
due to come'.
It has been pointed out that some of my 'jargon' is not well
understood by quite a few
people. If that applies to you do let me know and if I possibly can I can explain in more
There will be trackers in our two vans, if you do wish to
track us do let me know and I'll give
you the website access, id and passwords etc.
I shall, of course, continue my practice of doing a daily
write up telling a 'warts and all' story
of each day, then a final Epilogue once the event is over.
Have you heard that I am SUPPOSED to be retired !!!!!
Reasonably brief for the first one - others may, or may not be somewhat more fullsome
Connor, Ethan and Warwick left Hikuai about 10 a.m. (in
Trannie) and collected Bruce from Thames.
We then proceeded to Auckland, collected Alexander, Pri (who replaced Darrien), the Jamie
(1 start Post chief), then out to Papakura for Poihipi, then Pukekohe for Josh.
Next stop was Hamilton for Viv and Steve then headed (over the
back roads - thanks to our
Navman Gps) to our Major regroup at Turangi!
Dale had already arrived with Leigh and Poko (in Glennie) so
we then took on board the
Substantial 'Turangi Contingent'
As planned. we then drove both vans ' through the night' (with hourly driver changes),
arriving in Wgtn about 2 A.M being joined about 5 a.m. by Karl and Sansin...
We boarded the Interislander for its 6.30 a.m. sailing (nice
caught up with Jesy in Picton, transferred a couple of people and proceeded to Christchurch,
arriving quite a bit later than we were supposed to!!! (Sound familiar?)
Collected more rental cars, and more Christchurch helpers,
fitted 5, 25w Fleetlink radios to
various vehicles then decamped to our overnight accommodtion at Spencer Park Holiday
Park for the night.
'Well not quite, as it was Dale's 65th birthday we headed back to Bob's for a mini celebration.
More news as to what hapenned, next day Monday and onwards
wait for later installments!
It will be worth reading I can assure you !!
The day did not start off well and then rapidly deteriorated!!
First problem was the Rallyssfe gear which is vital to run the
rally. It was supposed to be left
at Christchurch Base (as so much other stuff had been), or for us to get one of our
Christchurch people to collect it if that wasn't readily possible - and at a pinch it might have
to be delivered straight to Lake Waihola camping ground -where we are staying for the
But instead it had been taken straight all the way to Invercargill (where the Rally is starting)!
The plan had (apparently) been to deliver it to each stage in the morning by the 'first official car'
This would mean no possibility of training, checking the gear
etc at Waihola and remember
most of the crew hd never used it before. We also have to be heading out to our first stage
at 4 AM (yes 4AM) on Tuesday morning.
This resulted, as you can imagine, in a hastily convened Post
Chief meeting, at which it was
agreed that this was quite simplyNOT ON. Jesy offerred to drive to Invercargill ( a six or
more hour drive) then bring it all back to Waihola almost another three hours after which we
would need to train people as well as we could! This too was simply NOT ON.
Eventually commonsense prevailed and the organisers agreed to
send someone up from
Invercargill to Waihola with it and that it would be there before we arrived - which it was, if
Although we did get away from Christchurch on time the time
wasting in Timaru sorting out
lunch was a harbinger to things to come!
About 4 .30 p.m. one of our drivers managed to slip on a pile
of gravel and roll a car, which
we had borrowed. Although a very slow speed. single vehicle, non injury crash, it still was
'very disruptive' as you might say. We all feel bad, particularly for its owner- We are all
This meant that instead of arriving between 4.30 p.m and 5
p.m.(well before dark - time for
training, room allocations etc) it was about 9 p.m before the last or our people actually
Remember the first crew (which included the two that crashed)
had to leave at 4 a.m. next
morning to time the first stage of the rally. We did manage to swap with another crew to
avoid that situation.
As I said, the day started badly and got worse and worse.
More news tomorrow
With the sheer numbers involved this year (3 teams, each of 2
crews) It is simply not possible to relate to ALL the adventures and
misadvenures, so some will, of necessity be either hearsay or simply
Anyway Dinny agreed to do the early shift start and my crew
finish. Our out the gate time was 4 A,M. (After all yesterday's
dramas) but, after having to relinquish people for block marshalling
duties we were down to a crew of 4!
But wait there's more!
One of our crew had become sick during the night, so we were
down to a
crew of 3 - two of whom had never even done it before
Anyway, with not a little difficulty we timed the fimish of
despite having unsuccessfully tried to stop a couple of school buses
driving WRONG WAY in to the stage some hour after it was closed,
without any considereation for their precious cargo. More of this
After the stage finished my crew had burgers in Invercargill,
trip to Bluff and on to SS6 the last stage of the day. Here we had
only minimal comms which created something of a problem.
Meanwhile the Block Marshaling team under Brian were securing
other teams doing almost what we had done but with 5 A,M. out the gate
Back to Lake Waihola that night to find that several of our
were already starting to misbehave - oh bugger. In my case after a 4
A.M. start I got back just after 8.30 p.m.
More about tomorrow soon !
Started out a better day(for us anyway) we only had a short
stage 'over the road' at Waihola.
Oh joy what rapture.We didn't haveto be onsite until 1.30. pm !!
Mind you the block marshals had to be out the gate about 9
for their stage up at Lawrence, and Dale and Dinny also had 10 or 11 a.m. starts.
Once again I really can't speak for the other post chiefs, but
our only problem was an irate
resident (not a Maori this time, although his language was just as bad who maintained that
there was no 'ROAD CLOSED' sign at his gate and that even if there was he wasn't going to
take any notice of it.
That night the various (basically younger members of the
team), really played up - drinking
smoking and yelling almost all night. Despite the fact that I had made it crystal clear that
alcohol and motorsport simply do not mix.
Not a good look for us, Targa or Motorsport in general.
I intend to have a real sort out tomomorrow (Thursday) night.
With all the (bad) things that have happened this week I was
not able to keep up with the daily reports, so it will have to wait
for my Epilogue next week.
Just a couple of thoughts right now though.
1. Postitive! Despite the trials and tribulations we did
manage to fulfill ALL our
obligations, 21 stages timed and another 4 blockmarshalled.
2. Negative A goodly percentage of the group (mainly the
younger ones - but not
all of them) seem to have regarded this as a free week long party - to
be interupted by 'work' only when absolutely necessary. Not pleasant!
Hi All, FINALLY the epilogue!
As indicated during the week with six crews 'in the mix' it has not
really been possible to give full coverage to everyone - but be
assured it was, indeed, a massive undertaking.
We did manage to fulfil all our commitments - timed 44
Starts/Finishes and supplied a vanful of 8 block marshals who also
taped and detaped nearly 10 stages.
In summary then:
With the four of us leaving the lovely Coromandel on St 20th we then
went and collected another 3 from Auckland itself, another from
Papakura and another 2 from Hamilton.
Meeting up for our major regroup in Turangi.
Drove through the night (with hourly driver changes) and over on the
ferry at 'first light', after picking up our next 2 from Wgtn and 1
from Palmerston North. Then down the recently repaired highway 1 to
Christchurch, arriving somewhat late. There we met up with our West
Coast contingent and the good folk from Christchurch itself
At Bob's place (which we were using as our Chch Base) we all met,
collected the other five rental cars and fitted big radios etc. Most
of us stayed at Spencer Park holiday camp. With it being Dale's actual
65th birthday we had a 'mini celebration' Sunday night.
Monday (Labour Day) headed (but not in convoy) towards our base for
the week - Lake Waihola, unfortunately though the rallysafe timing
gear had found its way right past Chch and Waihola to Invercargiill
where the event was due to start next morning. It was returned to
Waihola that afternoon, but later than we would have liked.
Unfortunately one of our crews had a non injury, single vehicle
accident on the way down which caused utter consternation, and also
contributed to our collective late arrival.
Tuesday our crew had an 'out the gate' time of 4 a.m. (after late
arrival the night before) to do SS1, the first stage of the event. Our
major calamity on this was the local school bus that refused to wait
for an escort (or even for cars to be stopped and the stage cleared
for them) but instead, some whole hour after the road had been closed
and cars were hurtling through at speed, insisted on driving into the
stage going in the wrong direction. One driver's comment that ' It was
pretty scary meeting a school bus in there!!, was pretty much an
'Burgers for us in Invercargill then via Bluff to our last stage of
the day where we had communication problems and an arrival back at
'camp' after 8 .30 p.m.
Wednesday just one stage (oh joy), but here again we had an irate
resident who took issue with our even being there and waited till
stage had been 'secured' and the the certificate issued. then when
cars were arriving (again at speed) he then drove into the middle of
them but at least in the correct direction.
Thursday we seemed to end up with almost all the crews at Palmerston
at lunchtime. But that night one of the team hurt his hand badly
(blood everywhere, and excruciating pain). The ambulance dispatcher
said it would take an hour and a half to get an ambulance the 20 k
from Dunedin (which I personally found appalling) so his post chief
rushed him to Dunedin Hospital. Back on deck next day surprisingly
Friday morning we packed up from Waihola and after doing our various
stages headed for Cromwell Holiday park for the next two nights.
At this stage some people (who were no longer actually needed) took
the opportunity to head home, some flying direct from Queenstown. The
rest of us did our stages on Saturday (as did our marvellous block
marshalling team) . Our stage was the Crown Range, starting from the
Queenstown end and ending at Cardrona Pub. It was here that one driver
was heard to remark that ' I never thought I would be able to drive
over the Crown range at 180 kmph' Afterwards we have another regroup
and handed back the Rallysafe equipment.
Sunday morning we 'upped stakes', headed for Christchurch (via Forest
Range station for some of us) gathered at James and Sophia's place at
Burnham, deinstalled the radios, repacked the trailer etc,etc then
returned the rental cars and headed for Picton. This time we were on a
freight only sailing so once we arrived the ship was under way, squabs
in the bar(closed) became our beds!!
We were, indeed, off in time to beat the Wellington morning peak
traffic and after dropping Ben at Palmerston North and Leigh at Bulls
we had our final regroup again at Turangi, Dropping people at
Hamilton, Paeroa (so Jamie could take Chalkie to Auckland), then
Thames and back home - as I keep saying TIRED BUT HAPPY.
I repeat despite all our trials and tribulations we fulfilled all our
Now just a few final words...
I do want to thank those people who were released from their 'normal'
crew to become block marshals, and a taping and detaping team. This ,
whilst a very late change, is an absolutely vital part of any event.
I also want to thank Connor and Ethan for their help in preparatory
work before the event not to mention during it.
And, of course those who stepped up at the last minute when about four
confirmed people pulled out leaving is somewhat 'in the lurch'
The people involved this time - in alphabetical order were:
Alexander (Andy), Anaru, Aydan, Ben, Brian, Bruce, Chris, Cody, Connor,
Dale, David, Dinny, Ethan, Fiona, Jamie, Jenny, Jesy, Josh, Karl,
Kevin, Leigh, Leiton, Leonie, Lochlan, Nikora, Poihipi, Poko, Pri,
Ruben, Sansin, Steve, Thomas, Vivien, Wairehu, Warwick.
So there you have it. The next event is the Silver Fern Rally next week
This time each Post Chief is entirely responsible for his own crew.
So watch this space...