This year (2013) we were asked again, but largely because we no longer have our good old ACE the Hiace (having already done one million and 30,000 km) as it had now reached the end of its useful life, we could only take 8 of us.
Finding this number was not quite as hard as it could have been, including Ben who was only asked a few days before the event and still helped out.
The Team ended up as (with nicknames in brackets)
Zac (All Talk)
Ben (Good Guy).
No newbies this time - everyone had worked before, if not as point or block marshalls then as part of a proper stage timing team. Not being school holidays holidays this year, meant we had to leave after school so this also meant that we had to fight our way through Auckland peak hour traffic, this added about an hour to the journey time - great !!
After stopping for Burger King again, just north of
Auckland, we collected Ben from Whangarei
getting to our hotel at Paihia about 10 p.m.
The organisation this time was 'superb'.
Proper stage packs for each and every marshall, bibs, descriptions and everything necessary.!
Sat morning dawned a fabulous day!
However as we had to be out the gate before 6 a.m. it was out of bed at 5.30 a.m. - oh joy.
We easily found where each person was supposed to be and dropped each person (with, chair, umbrella, hot or cold drink, and snacks) at each
appointed intersection. Except for Boss (of course) who, once more as a tribute to his advancing years had the van as his base at his appointed intersection.
After the sweeper went through, I returned through
the stage backwards
(always a somewhat risky manoever) to collect 'my various staff'.
We then proceeded to Kawakawa (pies for 8 please),
and another full tank of petrol.Then headed towards stage 5.
By this time the weather was deteriorating rapidly.
This time the various bods were dropped in position working backwards through the stage before road closure.
This too was a somewhat 'heart stopping' journey, especially as it did seem at one stage that I wouldn't actually get to my position (at the start) before road closure time!!
Never mind I made it with a few minutes to spare.
After being cleared by the sweeper I proceeded through the stage to collect the team.
By this time the rain had been bucketing
down for an hour or more and some of the
road could only be described as a quagmire.
The mud must have been at least six inches deep in places - I was grateful for the 4WD capabilities of CHALKIE
(the Toyota Estima - replacement for ACE)
but by the time the whole team had been collected the sides and rear of the van
were completely covered in mud - seeing out of windows was well nigh impossible.
Back at the hotel we endeavoured to wash as much of it off as possible,
a task only partially successful.
Fish and chips for 8 that night, a beer or two for
the hard working
troops, and off to bed.
Sunday morning a regroup in the carpark, out of the gate about 9 a.m., dropping Ben back at Whangarei, then to Happy Days at Manukau for lunch for the rest of the team.
After dropping people at Thames, we got home about 4.30 Sunday afternoon.
A word of thanks to Clive Mosen for driving my Friday
and Grant Brooks for doing the Sunday.
Without them we simply could not have been free to do the rally at all.