Firstly a little bit of background.
R.O.T.N last year (2011) Warwick, James and Zac were block
marshalls and agreed to 'do it again' this year.
When asked how many I said we could provide 4 bods.
s time progressed the Chief Marshall, Luke Carpenter had some
difficulty in getting sufficient marshalls and asked just how many we
So even though it was not stage timing - start or finish, or regroup
and service etc I said we would provide him with 9 people (i.e. a van
should have been 'no problem' (yeah right), but such was not the
case - ended up really casting the net wide and eventually managed to
put the team together (i.e. 9 of us). You will perhaps recall that
pedantic old me believes that 9 is a standard size team and hope to
always keep it that way.
a bit like Gisborne, Luke had been let down by others so asked
if he could 'pinch' a couple of the SBT team all day, and one for half
the day - so be it.!
really do want to place on record my appreciation of all the team
especially Ben who was only asked a few days before the event and
immediately said yes. While not officially representing Thames Valley
Car Club this time we were 'sort of' by association.
The Team ended up as (with nicknames in brackets)
Zac (All Talk)
Quinten (Apple as in Crisp)
Johann (Mr left behind)
Ben (Good Guy).
try to have only one 'newbie' each time, so we can train but not be
swamped by inexperience.
school holidays meant we could leave during the day and stooge
up quietly (well as quietly as one can with 6 teenage boys in the
back of the van), after stopping for Burger King just north of
Auckland, we collected Ben from Whangarei getting to our hotel at
Paihia about 5 p.m., in theory just in time for our marshall's
meeting (yeah right).
6 we learned that Luke was still an hour away so it was 'fish
and chips for 9 please!!'
the this stage the weather was still 'very pleasant' but it wasn't
Marshall's meeting was finally held at about 10 p.m., that night
the organisation not being all that impressive, at that stage Johann and
Ben were allocated to another crew.
morning dawned wet and miserable!
However we still had to be out the gate before 6 a.m. and it was still dark.
some perigrination (i.e. I turned one road early in the dark
and rain) we eventually found where we were supposed to be and
dropped each person (with, chair, umbrella, hot or cold drink, and
snacks) at each appointed intersection.
Except for the Boss (of course) who had the van as his base
at the finish of stage 2.
a 'short staffed stage finish' was something of an eye
There was no tent, no ezyup, no spring top, a post chief
doing at least three jobs and inexperienced people trying to do
If there was a car missing the radio operator had to get out and go
and ask the various drivers if anyone had seen the missing cars.
Give me a full strength team every time, with minimum newbies !!!!!!!
There were rarely less than 5 cars queued up,at the finish contral,
usually more like 10. It was helped only marginally when the chief
timing marshall turned up and joined in to help.
For the rest of us well We all just got wet!!
the sweeper had been through, I returned to collect 'my various staff'
although we were held up for nearly half an hour at a crash site while a
'very badly damaged car' #17 was being hauled back onto the road.
then proceeded through Moerewa (pies for 7 please), and another
full tank of LPG too and we headed to Weber Rd -Stage 6.
once again we turned one road too early because although the GPS
indicated that this was the shortest way a bridge had been narrowed
down to 'foot traffic only' size, oh bugger here we go again!
our way to drop the various bods we were called back to help a
(what turned out to be a private) vehicle out of a ditch on the
My van simply could not shift it, so it was winching and boy
(and girl) power to the rescue.
This, of course put us 'somewhat behind time '(again).
this time though the rain had stopped to be replaced by gale force
job at this finish was 'down the road', ensuring that nothing came
back to the finish control from the 'main highway'.
Sweet, piece of cake!.
We then visited Stage 8 start (minimally staffed too),where James was
helping out, waited for the sweeper and then headed back to Paihia.
meals that night some of us had a 'full sized' pub platter, some
went for Chinese. We also had a beer or two.
morning we aimed to be 'out of the gate by nine', and were only
a few minutes late.
Ben in Whangarei, and headed for a service station to refill
our LPG AGAIN.
Oops (yes you know what is coming don't you).
The van died with no LPG about 3 km from the station, so an AA callout
had us on the end of a towrope. It is not surprising really that with all the hills and
driving the stages that the consumption was as could be said 'somewhat higher than one would like'!!!!!!!!
At Manurewa, 8 full size pizzas to take away please.
to Thames (another full tank of LPG please), dropping off two of
the team, over the hill to Pauanui, dropping more people, Hikuai
another one, then then final three at Tairua - arriving just in time
for the 6 p.m. news. 1500 km in 2 1/2 days - home again tired but happy.
next one is the Silver Fern where once again we are supplying 'a
van full', for the first day and again on the last day. I am seeking