Silverfern Rally 2018

Hi Everyone !!

Silverfern 2018 - Day 0

Pretty good so far.

Out the gate at home at the proper time, documentation, balance of gear pickup at

Rallysafe have given us a tablet this time and, oh joy it is fully charged.
We shall, of course charge it again between our stages tomorrow.

We are safely esconsed at Raglan Holiday Park and have been down to find the actual spot
we have to be at 7 a.m. tomorrow.

All in all not too bad a start. Tomorrow we time SS1 ,(the first stage of the rally, obviously),
then over to Taumaranui for SS6. We stay there tomorrow night.

The weather gods continue to be kind to us so far!!

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Day 1 - Saturday 24th November 2018

There is, as they say good news and bad news.

The good news is that having found just where we had to be this morning at 7.15am, (which
necessitated an 'out the gate' time of 6.30 and getting up at 6 a.m.), we didn't have to do
that stage after all, so a much more sensible 'out the gate' time of 9 a.m. was achieved.

The bad news is that through no fault of the organisers, or the competitors SS1 had, had to
be cancelled !!!

After sleeping in Chalkie and Townie, we had showers at the Holiday Park, 'up and go' for
breakfast - then refuel and pies for lunch - arriving at our next stage SS6 with time to spare.

Just as well as finding our spots on a reduced length stage took just a little while - especially
as our FF (Flying finish) spot had nowhere to put a vehicle with any safety in mind.
We tried a tent (which even when well pegged) would not stay upright so David did manage
to get Townie in to a paddock behind the fence - we thought we may need to tow him out
with the 4WD van but he extricated his van without difficulty.

It was once we were set up that our Fleetlink radio kept dropping out of service.
We could sometimes communicate (badly) other times not at all.

Repostioning the aerial, and even repositioning the van (Chalkie) itself was to no avail.
With several of the best brians being exercised on site - I finally disconnected the radio
enitrely, re plugged everything and repositioned the aerial onto the bonnet instead of the
roof, and lo and behold it has been fine ever since!

It was, however, a very long day - not only were we late starting (no doubt largely because
of us), but there were several very long gaps between things happenning so we were on site
for almost 6 hours.

We are now at Taumaranui, had Chinese for dinner and are at the Holiday park where
plugged into the power point in our cabin we have:

1. The Rallysafe Tablet on charge
2 .My laptop on charge
3. The Rallysafe beam battery on charge
4. The hand held radios on charge
5. My cellph on charge
6. Connor's cellphone on Charge
7. Ethan's cell ph on charge

I think David's is awaiting a spare plug.

Out the gate tomorrow about 10 a.m., but a very quick trip will be necessary between our
two stages, SS11 nd SS13

A couple of what I have called 'titbits', for you to have a giggle over...

Being somewhat pedantic, and always concious of the legal situation,Connor (a learner
driver), had his 'L'' plates displayed for his whole trip (with me beside him of course), a local
wit said 'I hope there are not too many competitors that need 'L' plates !!

Another one:

I was grateful to have a Rally Safe tablet at Finish control, rather than the 3 line display
we usually get. HOWEVER, the 3 line display needs NO setting up, it truly as a 'plug and go'.
We tapped "FINISH' on the tablet but it didn't seem to work (no times for the first few cars),
so back to reding instructions and finding that with the Tablet we also need to select the stage!!!

Bingo and it works. Reporting success was met with an incredulous ' You mean Warwick
has actually made a mistake': - Bugger, what a reputation to have.

Till tomorrow then !!

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Day 2 - Sunday 25th November 2018

Hi All,

Well, after a good nights sleep, and fully charging pretty much all the batteries in all our
devices we were out the gate by 10.a.m. to time our first stage of the day, refuelling both
vehicles and bodies on the way.

All went swimmingly except that the stage did run a tad late- which would normally be no
real problem, except that we had a VERY tight timeframe to get to our next stage well over
an hour away a bit after Ohura - wow.

We were , of course, late!

But wait there is more, our Fleetlink radio decided to misbehave again and although other
officials seemed to be able to communicate we really could not.
We have checked the aerial thoroughly, repositioned it, repositioned the vehicle etc,etc,etc.

Because our spot tomorrow is virtually the same as today, we are camping out. David has
organised the troups, Ethan has cooked the sausages, and after looking still harder at the
radio problems we shall (again) sleep in the two vans and face the new day tomorrow.

If all goes well we shall get to Raetihi tomorrow night, in cabins again.

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Day 3 - Monday 26th November 2018

Hi again,

Well roadsaide camping actually worked quite well. Although it rained, we were all quite
comfortable sleeping in the two vans (Chalkie and Townie). Spagetti for breakfast was o.k. too.

This morning we still could not get out Fleetlink radio to work, even though our start crew
who came to see us had no difficulty! It is no unrepairable after David was a bit TOO rough
and yanked the aerial cable out of its socket. We were provided with a satellite phone so I
did have communication back to base.

Another day of two stages, with a really tight time between them. Particularly in that we had
to drive a stsge (the same one we did yesterday) and with an allowance of 2.5 hrs, it should
have been o.k. !! Yeah right - both our Navman and TomTom said 3hrs 10 mins !!! Here we
go again.

Yep, we were late, for our second stage!!

We are, however now happily esconsced at Raetihi Holiday Park and once again, have 7 things
all being charged. We will probably end up with Fish and Chips tonight, possibly chicken.

Only one stage tomorrow (where we should expect a replacement radio and aerial - which,
could then have us smiling) , then on to Feilding holiday Park.

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Day 4 - Tuesday 27th November 2018

Hi All.

Well here we are at Feilding. And just to get the priorities right, with not TOO much
difficulty I have managed to track down some lovely Ngahere Gold. Don't worry Lisa I
have only had two (so far anyway!)

Only one stage today, out of the gate at a reasonable 10 a.m.. Connor drove to the stage,
where once more we had no comms, but a satelite phone almost sufficed.

A bad crash, just before flying finish showed how important 'start orders' are - and they do
HAVE TO BE CORRECT, so we can tell if anyone is missing.

I understand we did, actually, have problem with at least one official car, but both Chalkie
and Townie continue to perform adequately.

We have another 'easy' day tomorrow, so after burgers for tea tonight we don't have to be
'out the gate' much before noon tomorrow, hence my Nga tonight !!

I am quite impresed with Connor's driving, and Ethan's overall ability, Dave and I have
known each others quirks for well over 30 years !!

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Day 5 - Wednesday 28th November 2018

Hi All,

Well here we are, camping out again, this time somewhere out the back of Masterton on
Route 52 (not Route 66 as you may well imagine).

I really must put on record just how good the two teenagers (Connor and Ethan) have been.
I was sitting down to write this report and a knock on the door had a sausauge and bread
handed to me, then a few minutes a mixture of spaggetti and backed beans likewise. I have
just been told that both vans have now been converted to comfortable sleepers, all without
my having to even ask - let alone speak forcefully. Well done boys.

We were out the gate this morning by 10.a.m. but had only one stage to time, so it really
was 'a piece of cake'.Connor at Flying Finish, Ethan doing Road, Dave log writing, criss
cross sheet and drivers cards, and no I wasn't poncing around like Captain Peacock, I made
myself useful by doing a 'mini stage time board'.

Connor has been doing most of the driving (with his 'L' plates up of course, drove out to the
stage this morning then ll the way here (including over Saddle Hill Rd) to Woodville.

As I say, we are in position for our first stage tomorrow morning, where we have to be 'on
site' no later than 7.25 a.m.. WE ARE ALREADY HERE !!

We then do a second stage later in the day, and then on to Napier. Staying once more at
Kennedy Park, and I'll shout the troops dinner at Restaurant Indonesia, in return for all the
work they have done and continue to do.

More tomorrow night!

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Day 6 - Thursday 29th November 2018

Hi all (again),

Here we are at Napier!

Working backwards, we have all been out to Resataurant Indonesia in Napier for our
'Special - night'. For those who think it is not so good I am happy to report that all of MY
team think it was well worth while!!!

Unfortunately ( for those in the know) we were so late that the boys idn't have to 'climb the
steps up to my place; - bugger!

David was our 'sober driver', so you can just imaging the rest of us !!!

Anyway, as indicated last night,we slept 'on site' in the vans so we were 'ready willing and
able' in plenty of time this morning and comms were not a problem!

Getting to our next stage was also 'not a problem', with our ariving in 'plenty of time'.

However during the afternoon we did, however. have a rallysafe problem which seems to
eventually have been sorted .

A word about a board- WRC required it, and SBT always endeavour to provide similar service.

What this is that each competitor is shown ( by means of a board - whatever) the stage
times of everyone in front of them.

It is not required for NZ rallies, but is really appreciated by pretty much all competitors,
and is something that SBT pride thenselves on being able to deliver.

Earlier in the event we just did a 'mini board', i.e, the 'previous' times written on an
A4 sheet of paper and shown to competitors.

More recent stages, a proper 'WRC style" much larger board to be more readily read.

Anyway we have an 'out the gate' time of 0830 in the morning - up to Tuai Power station
then heading for Gisborne afterwards. Then two more stages on Saturday beforfe heading home !!

It looks like some 1500 Km since leaving home - Connor driving well over half of that in
Chalkie, and David most of that in Townie.

Ethan is still not keen on relaying his experiences to his school assembly peers, despite my
clear instructions of how necessary this will be.

More tomorrow, probably sleeping in the vans again!!

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Day 7 - Friday 30th November 2018

Hi All,

Well here we are at the Doneraille Camping ground, at Ruahaka - between Wairoa
and Gisborne which is where our first stage (SS44) ends tomorrow morning.

A marathon indeed.

After a good night 'dinnerwise' last night and and even better night 'sleepwise' last
night, we were out of the gate at 8.30 a.m. to head for Tuai, well over 2 hrs away.

Yes, indeed, we were well and truly on time, comms were fine, but no Spark cellphone
coverage, but strangely Vodafail did actually work (and I actually was able to make a call!!)

Our problem here was that our beam unit at Flying Finish was 'iffy' to say the least, the
spare unit which was delivered, was able to be kept in reserve, because all times came
though correctly. Bingo.

We did a full sized board, which seemed to be much appeciated by competitors.

Having bypassed Wairoa on our way to site (David??) it was then necessary for us to have
'late lunch' there and buy more sausages, bread etc for tea tonight and to eat cold for lunch
tomorrow (the last day - oh joy).

As mentioned above we do two stages tomorrowSS44, here (for which we, once again have
no cell ph covereage, and no real comms either!!! We then go up to the mighty Motu for SS
47, then once cleared head for home, possibly via Rotorua.

We have been working on nicknames, none of which are really repeatable.

However it looks like
Warwick will remain Wazza or Boss- not so keen on wrinkly
David will be Chief (from his navy days as CPO)
Connor is simply Helpful
Ethan is Smart eh? (or Smart A..if you prefer!!)

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Day 8 - Saturday 1st December 2018

Hi all,

Well we did it

Fulfilled all our obligations

A marathon indeed.

Home a bit before nine tonight. Tired but happy.

Two VERY tired teenagers, two almost as tired 70 something men

Two quite tired vans!!

Connor (Helpful Henry) has driven almost 1000 km, and David (Chief) pretty much the
entire 1800 km.

Anyway - onsite at 7 a.m. this morning, just as well we slept there overnight!

Connor set up the (replacement) beam with little problem (after all we had tested it last night
anyway), but once more no Fleetlink Comms,no cellph coverage - so satellite phone to the
rescue (once more)

We had been given 2 hrs to drive to our next stage to which my comment had been , yeah
right. However, we actually did it in 1 hr 45 - miraculous!. Left over sausages for lunch!

But joy, oh joy, not only did we find our marshals awaiting us but we had full Fleetlink
coverage, to both Targa Base and our own 'Stage Manager!

Once finished we were not game to 'drive the mighty Motu' but opted instead to come back
through the gorge. Connor drove from Matawai virtually all the way home - well done boy.

Chinese for tea at Opotiki, handed our Rallysafe equipment to another Post Chief to return
to Buck and we headed home, as I said above tired but happy.

Was disapointed to see when we got home that Slingshot had let us down and not fulfilled
their promises ( a fairly rare occurrence I must admit) and also that Spark continue to let us
down - a much more regular occurrence, of course.

We plan to return all our gear to Targa on Wed 5th, have a 'birthday lunch' at Happy Days
and put Dave (Chief) on a plane back to Christchurch that afternoon.

An epilogue in a couple of days when we have all recovered.

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Silverfern 2018 - Epilogue

As I said when we got home - we did it.

Fulfilled all our obligations

Dave, Connor, Ethan and myself really did make a pretty good team

Out the gate at Duck Creek on time Fri 23rd, final gear pickup and briefing at Hamilton then
on to Raglan for the night - slept in Townie and Chalkie at the camping ground.

SS1 cancelled unfortunately so only one stage on Sat, stayed at Taumaranui in cabins.

Sunday we had two stages, the time between them not really sufficient to cover the distance
(and no Toby, I didn't get the tracker into the red zone).

Stayed the night on the roadside at Kotare (where we also had to be 1st stage next

Monday another two stages, staying the night Raetihi (in cabins again)

Tuesday, at Feilding - a very nice unit, we all had individual bunks and with only one stage
next day quite a civilized out the gate time !!!

After our 1 stage on Wednesday we looked at staying at Ekatahuna but instead opted to
stay roadside again so we were already 'onsite' for our 1st stage of the day on Thursday

Did our two stages on Thursday then back to Kennedy Park Complex in Napier and our
'special night' for the team.

Friday just one stage nearly at Tuai, and after a late lunch at Wairoa stayed at Doneraille
Camping ground which again was to be our 1st stage of the next day.

After doing our 1st stage of the day on Sat we then headed past Gisborne up to Matawai
when we did our last stage of the rally, Chinese at Opotiki then home - Tired but happy - a
bit after dark.

Returned our Targa gear on Wed 5th, and took Dave to the airport after a birthday lunch at
Happy Days.

A real Marathon - makes me feel tired just re-reading what we did.

8 days. (Actually 9 if you count the Friday)

A different place every night just under 2000km in each of the two vehicles.

A really good crew, but now I suspect we are all into recovery mode.


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