Later today (Mon 28th Oct2019) we all gather at Taupo to pickup our
gear, and attend a Timing Team Briefing.
This year our team consists of: David (Chief), Wazza (Boss), Johann and Josh
Once cleared from Taupo we head for Otorohanga where we stay the night ready
for our stage in the morning.
When we have done that we head off to Stratford, where we stay for
One Stage at Inglewood on Wed.
Another 2 stages in the Stratford area on Thursday then heading for
Taihape so we can do our stage on Fri morning just out of Waiouru
then after our afternoon stage near Feilding we head over the hill
to stay at Pahiatua for Friday night then our final stage of the
event out the back of Masterton.
A long drive home once cleared from there on Sat afternoon, getting
home as I have said before TIRED BUT HAPPY - (I hope)
Once more if you have no wish to receive these emails let me know so
you can be removed from the list - otherwise I intend once more to do
a writeup each night with our 'trials and tribulations' for the day
Dale has his own Start team which consists of: Dale himself, Bruce,
Kevin and Darryl. But although they are doing starts for the stages for
which we are doing the finishes we tend not to be staying together very
often and our paths probably won't cross all that much.
Most important things first! I managed to find a stockist of Ngahere
Gold in STRATFORD !!!!!
But back to some sort of chronological order...
After collecting all the gear and attending the Timing Crews Briefing
in Taupo yesterday - 4hrs from home -we headed for Otorohanga holiday
park where we had a very nice 2 bedroom family motel - Another 2 hrs
We well and truly met our out the gate time of 0900.
So,here were are at Stratford having done one stage (SS3) today -
just down the road from where we stayed last night.
Josh set up and operated the Flying Finish, David was our Finish
Control logwriter, Johann did the cards and I did road and a 'mini board'.
We were cleared about 1230, Johann and I had a pie etc at Te Kuiti,
at which stage it looked like 'left behind' had struck again
(remember James?), but problem solved later!!
We were heading for Stratford, where we were to stay tonight.
But coming into Inglewood (about 20k from the destination) I stopped
at an intersection whereupon the water temp on Goldie moved
imperceptively upwards so i knew we had to do 'something
about the water' Yeah Right. The engine stalled!! And not
only would it not start, it wouldn't even turn over - OH BOTHER
(or worse) being in the middle of an intersection did not help
but Johann managed to push the car over to the left a bit.
The AA tech was of the opinion that the engine had cooked, but having
cooled down for over half an hour and then refilling it with water it
SEEMS to be o.k. Dale is holding his breath - how good is it having a
mechanic of his standing as part of the team?
We all had chinese for tea, have determined an out the gate time of
0700 in the morning had a couple of Ngas, and am off to bed shortly.
More tomorrow (when we are back here) I HOPE!!
Here we are still at Stratford.
Out the gate at 0700 this morning, drove the 36km to our stage - no
more vehicle problems as yet anyway.
Johann on Flying Finish, with a handheld radio that although
indicating being fully charged was not. At least with Rallysafe we do
not rely on them anywhere near as much.
While waiting at Finish control, Josh (who we always have to look up
to) said (among other things) " I guess I had better play with
myself", then a short time later "see three noughts in a row"
(yes we had been playing noughts and crosses!!! What else?)
David did log writing, said Josh settled into reading the tablet and
writing up the competitor's cards and I managed time to do a 'proper'
board. Once more Rallysafe showed its importantance as Josh was able
to give me the stage time usually before the competitor actually
arrived at our control and I was able to already have it displayed
before they arrived.
We had only minimal problems with 'start orders', and the one rally
car we 'lost' was determined to be pulled over safely and presented
no safety concern.
We did however lose one of the tour cars, but believe they too are o.k.
We all have this afternoon and evening off, and have another out the
gate time of 0700 tomorrow morning.
Here we are again at Rusty Nail Backpackers in Taihape, where we last
stayed when on Big Targa 2016. At that stage we had Dale, Kevin,
Kriss, Phillip, (there was no room for James and Sophia) and the rest
of us - that was when we also met Poko, Leigh, Dinny, Denise, Kia
etc - but I reminisce, back to the present.
Today we had the usual suspects
1. Left behind AGAIN
2. Positioning the car in JUST the right place to stop the SVC light
on the radio flashing
3. Rogue Cars - see below.
Out the gate from Stratford at 0700 again, on site for SS11 at the
Lovely day again, this time we had Dave on Flying Finish, Johann doing
Logs Josh on Cards and I did road and also a proper board (much
appreciated by competitors). Once cleared pies for lunch and then to SS15.
It was at SS15 that we htought we had a communication problem but managed
to reposition the car, to achieve the necessary comms. The sun was so hot
that Josh was in danger of getting his arm sunburnt!!!
Once again we were plauged by rogue cars - those that have no business
being there. Because we are a finish crew, in conjunction with our Block
Marshals, are faced with people demanding to drive Wrong Direction
straight into oncoming competitors (who could, be driving up to say
180kmh, and expecting a closed road are likely to be using it all) !!
HOW STUPID CAN YOU GET ????
1. The 'good'
One person claimed that the road closure wasn't supposed to start
untill 8.30 (instead of 8 a.m.) He agreed to go and have a look at
the sign at the end of the road- he did and we didn't see him again.
2. The 'not so good'
A local vet claimed to be attending an emergency and didn't mind
'taking his chances'.
What rubbish - as if any dog is worth more than a human life.
3. The 'Really Bloody Awful"
A woman driving a First Security vehicle Rego KQJ 823 and claiming to
work for Corrections, DEMANDED access. The block marshals had
attempted to stop her and had rung Targa base (unsuccessfully as it
happens) whereupon she charged up to our control zone (which is an
offence in itself). As mentioned she claimed she could do whatever
she wanted, asked for my credentials which I was happy to provide,
but I was not going to allow her in no matter what. Regardless of
her assertion that the competitors should simply avoid her.
In point of fact I was told to try and take her keys, and otherwise
actually pull her out of the car and hold her until the police arrived.
We did have a news photographer there too, he said he couln't get
involved directly but could only film the confrontation.
Despite a very tense situation she eventualy turned around and roared
off. If indeed she was Corrections Dept employee I would hope her days
of employment are numbered!.
Tomorrow we do SS20, the 2nd stage of the day - at Waiouru, then SS24
near Kimbolton then on to Woodville for the night. More then I hope.
Tonight we are at Masters Hall In Pahiatua - just down the road from
Woodville,as expected it suits us fine - individual beds, in
individual rooms, out the gate a 9 a.m. tomorrow.
But back to today; Out of the gate 8.15, and although the water
problem seemed to have resolved itself, on the way to SS20, the
alternator decided it had done enough work and gave up the ghost
However I must have hit a bump or something and it started working
Just as well as without any cell coverage we just had to use our
big fleetlink radio.
We had no problems with rogue vehicles at all today, but instead
Rallysafe went back to its 'original roots' and for SS20 all cars
had NRT (No Rallysafe Time) written on their cards!!
Buck 'had a go at it at the Taihape lunch break and changed the
aerial etc, and during the afternoonSS24 it worked almost half
We did have a rather bigger problem however in that the Goldie water
problem reared its ugly head again! BUT we did get to our stage more
or less on time BUT we once more encountered an angry farmer and
despite being positioned in EXACTLY the correct place had to move
up quite close to the Flying Finish, leaving minimal distance to
stop from say 180 kmph.
The brains trust decided to advise competitors by notice board at
the start and putting double cautions in the 300m.
I also comandeered another official to 'do a paddle' i.e. wave cars
to a stop. A few scary moments but no real danger!
Once cleared we proceeded over Saddle Hill Road, through Woodville
down to Masters Hall.
As is my wont on the last night, I took the team out to a nice meal,
Josh and Johann shared a seafood platter - and couldn't actually
finish it !!!!. One last day tomorrow, the head for home tired but
We have settled down with semi permanent positions, David on FF, Josh
on cards, Johann logwriting and myself road an board (when Rallysafe
Well this was our final day.
Thurs night 1st Nov we stayed at Masters Hall in Pahiatua, all in
separate rooms each with a queen sized bed. Something Josh was able
to make the very best use of!!
Knowing we had to drive right through SS27 to get to the start of our
stage SS88, we had given ourselves an Out The Gate time of 0900 which
we managed to achieve despite the 'late night' our younger members
Once we got to the start of our SS28 we had arranged for Josh to get
a ride through the stage in a Promotional Vehicle while the 'workers'
amongst us drove through the stage itself, where we 'did our stuff'.
I understand that once Josh was buckled in to the Lexus and ready to
go he wondered whether he had perhaps overdone it the previous night.
We only had one rogue car (van) this time - but not wrong direction
but all the way from the start - almost caught by Saftey One.
Anyway once Josh arrived we (again) had David on FF, Josh on Cards
and Johann writing logs.
I again did road and the board. Rallysafe only failed for one car.
Once cleared we handed Rallysafe Equipment to Recovery1 and headed
home well over 600 km. We did however have lunch in Dannevirke, then
back over Saddle Hill Rd, dropped David in Turangi, Josh to collect
his vehicle from Tirau, then Johann drove pretty much to Tairua,
whereupon I came home arriving just after 1 a.m.
My face is quite sunburnt from being in the sun all day, Josh had
the same problem with his arm (out the window).
As I have said many times before TIRED BUT HAPPY.
Epilogue in a few days.
Well Main Targa 2019 is now over, and once more we fulfilled all our
obligations and returned home tired but happy.
In our case we did 2160 km in the 5/6 days.
Mon 28th Oct.
Johann and I went to Tirau (some 2 hrs), collected Josh, then on to
Taupo (another 2 hrs), there we met up with Dave who had travelled
all the way from Christchurch - thanks Chief.
After gear collection, another 2 hrs to Otorohanga - Stayed Kiwi
Tues 29th Oct.
Met our out the gate time and timed our appointed stage. Poor little
Goldie found 'sustained high speed running' did not agree with it,
but we made it to Stratford Kiwi Holiday Park happily.
Wed 30th Oct.
Met our out the gate time again and fulfilled our obligations back to
Stratford that night.
Thu 31st Oct.
Out the gate at the correct time, timed both our stages and then
headed for Taihape where we stayed at Rusty Nail Backpackers (where
we last stayed in 2016)
Fri 1st Nov.
Timed our stage just out of Waiouru, then headed for Kimbolton (just
out of Feilding), then over Saddle Hill Road to stay at Masters Hall
Sat 2 Nov.
To get to our position it was necessary to drive through two stages
SS27 and SS28 - which we did, but arranged for Josh to get a ride in
a promotional car (thanks Peter).
Once cleared and lunch in Dannevirke we dropped Dave at Turangi, Josh
back at Tirau, Johann at Tairua.
A couple of points
As it happens we did not need sleeping bags after all. Monday night
was in a 2 bed room 'family motel' - shower and toilet etc included
Tues/Wed another 'self contained' unit but with bunks (I claimed the
Thurs at the quirky Rusty Nail in Taihape - but as there were already
4 men in the 8 bed dorm room we had booked, Dave and I were given a
nice big room to ourselves and the boys had the so called 'female
dorm' to themselves.
Fri at Masters Hall, where we each had a room to ourselves - with a
Once again the problem of rogue vehicles raised its ugly head. Being
a finish crew any vehicle that actually gets past us (and our own
block marshals) is driving WD (that is wrong direction) head on
towards rally cars that could be travelling at up to 200 kmph, and
not expecting anything coming the other way!! I say again HOW STUPID
CAN YOU GET.
Usually worked really well, except on the occasions it didn't work at
all and we had NRT (no rallysafe time) written on cards and logs -
then even once Buck had fixed it it seemed to
miss ONE car ( one car doesn't seem much - but is actually one car
One of the competitors said to me ' Aren't you a trialist from way
back?' Which I was happy to confirm. ' I thought I recognised your
face, and then the name rang a loud bell too - we
used to do all the Gold Star events!! This just had to be from the
My crew was:
Josh (Mr Popular )
Johann (Mr Left Behind)
Dale's start crew (who were doing starts for the same stages) was: