Rally of the North
12th September 2015

For the last few years we have supplied ROTN
(based as you could expect at Paihia, with stages up toward Kaitaia)
with a goodly number of 'block marshalls', between 3 and 9 in fact most years.

In fact, last year we were asked if we could perhaps also provide an experienced
Stage Finish Timing Team too, and perhaps we could do a Stage Start as well !!!

This year we were initially asked if we could 'do the same again please'
but the reality was that this was no longer really be possible
I did offer a 'van full' of block marshalls of say 10 people.

I left it to Devon (our Post Chief in training) to get the numbers, which could include myself just as one of his team.
This he did really well and ended up with some 13 or so people - double ups coming up!!
Yeah right

Just over a week before we were then asked to PLEASE at least do a stage finish !!,
This meant a real 'scramble' for me to get a finish team together.

I leaned on everyone I could think of, called in all my favours and pulled
myself and Tara R out of Devons list of willing helpers.
Effecively all the boys have to work now, so although 'my team' could leave during the day on Friday,
the 'van full' would not get away until 5 or after so a Paihia arrival of 11 p.m. was on the cards.

This meant that by now I had a finish crew of 6, and Devon was down to 11 or 12.
Pretty good going actually.

The actual final crew make up appears later.

Whilst in Hamilton collecting Tara (R),& Rimu, with Myself, Brian (from Christchurch), Kevin (from Whitianga)
- I told you I had leaned on people from far and wide -
I also mangaged to get Tara T to join us so we were going to have a finish crew of 7 - ideal!

Then disaster.

A message from Devon that 'they were short'.
Yep, short all right - his 11 or 12 had dropped to 5. Six or more when the van arrived
to collect them had decided not to come. I WAS NOT AMUSED - and STILL AM NOT AMUSED.

The reality is that block marshalling is IMPORTANT, on the long stage for which we
were supplying 10 of the 14 marshalls required, without marshals it may well need to be cancelled.
This caused consternation, and pandemonium as can be imagined!!.
The upshot of it was that we lost two of our Finish Control team
(so down to 5), the chief marshall amanged to find another few at VERY short notice
I still get annoyed at the thought of what might have ensued.

We were first to arrive, in Chalkie, for Finish Control
then Ben on his own car for Flying finish (thanks Ben)

There was no staff training, but when the van (with Zac driving - thanks Zac)
Arrived we allocated team members, the marshalls being out the gate about 5.30,
The rest of us 7 a.m. or so.

And guess what Rally Safe worked a treat. we had Ben and Rimu at flying finish
and Tara and Tara in the van at Finish control.

Once the Flying Finish beam was broken the Surface Tablet positioned
between the girls popped up with Start Time, Finish Time and Stage Time.
Just like it is designed to do

We also 'did a board' - something we always do (not all finish crews do though).
This shows each competitor the stage times for every car in front of them.
This does seem appreciated by the vast majority
of competitors.
We id not need a 'pink slip runner as we had our own big radio back to Rally Control
It would be true to say that on the whole we were extremely happy with
how everything went, well if it wasn't for those rude people who let us down at the very last minute.

Now, a few words about Rallysafe.
Most will be aware that we have probably been one of its harshest critics, at least to date.

I really should say that
the system 'worked like a dream'. High praise indeed from a highly critical crew.

It always used to be that even with the Surface fully charged, the only way to make it last
had been to have a 12v/230v inverter in each van, then to keep charging it 'from the wall socket'
However from what I can learn the battery drain problem was really because of all the background 'crap'the Surface was running.
Once all these unnecessary tasks were stopped the battery life trebled.
As I say, for us it worked like a dream

That night the 4 adults went out for a meal and the teenagers
'entertained themselves' Yeah right.

Sunday we headed home 9 am or so, regrouped at Happy Days, Manukau (our favourite restaurant)
where they kindly put us in a special private room.(again)

I took Brian to the Airport so he could fly back to chch - we were late so Brian has his own tale to tell

we then headed home delivering people various homes including two of the girls and Rimu to Hamilton

The teams were (Adults names in CAPS)

Tara (T)
Tara (R)

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