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Bayswater Subaru Rally of Hawkes Bay

26 & 27 July 2002.

COOL EVENT !! Very, very muddy conditions - rain, fog, wind - yuck. BUT, we came away with the best result yet and have developed a great Team spirit and understanding.

The car went really well thanks to the wonderful service crew consisting of Michelle, Ian, Mum, Dad & Caity, and the great job done by Gary O & Guy (at Victory Automotive) and Gary G (at Gary Grant Engineering). All that was needed at each service park was a refuel, total check over (tyres off, brakes checked, tyres checked etc), a huge clean (thanks Caity - bet those hands got cold) and for mum to force feed driver and co-driver.

The roads were VERY tricky, demanding great caution in the muddy, slippery conditions. One mistake meant stranding in deep mud !

The ford (river!). Photo courtesy of Rick O'Neill PhotographyThe Friday night saw us using lights for the first time in a rally (first time with lights last weekend for 4km only). This proved to be much better than we thought it would be, with us taking 70th place (out of the 100 starters). Our placing would have been in the 50's, but we ploughed through a ford that was deeper than we thought and ended up drowning/flooding the engine. It took an agonising 1 minute for Datsta to spark into life again - costing us dearly. BUT, a victory in that we passed a couple of cars !!

I must thank Colin Knapp for lending me some lights to go with my Rally 2000s. They worked really well and I'm now a great fan of night driving.

A dry stage !! Photo courtesy of Rick O'Neill PhotographyThe two night stages saw us finish day one in 70th place, next day we worked up to 68th before losing ground on a couple of short fast stages (sorry Datsta, ya need more porridge for breakfast). Great thing was being able to stay ahead of or if they passed, not lose sight of our new friends in a Mitsubishi Evo 3. She managed to pull away on the straights, but we stuck to them on the twisty bits.

Things were going great until the second to last stage, a re-run of the tricky Gwavas stage. We sped around a corner, bounced out of a huge rut and into the thick mud on the side of the road. The car ended up almost on its side - making it impossible for Kirsty to get out. I had to run back down the road with the safety triangle. We finally managed to extract Datsta from the mud (leaving us looking muddier than the car) and continue, but we lost around 15 minutes in the stage time and then received a time penalty as well.

While it was a pain, it showed just how great car.co.nz's coverage of the event is. Mum was sittingNo, not us, Mark Tapper showing how you tackle it in the mud! at the finish line waiting for us when she got a phone call from my grandmother in Nelson asking if we were alright as our times hadn't come through for stage 8. Mum then phoned Lance who was doing the results and he was able to track us down!

Favourite stage was the last stage where we sped along a muddy river bank. We got airborne a couple of times ! Then off to the finish line - so happy to have clocked up our fifth finish in a row.

Thanks to the Hawkes Bay Car Club for running such a neat event. Thanks also to the sponsors - especially the Bayswater Subaru guy who was very supportive , chatting to us at the end of the stages - and he liked Datsta's bullet holes !

HIGHLIGHTS.

  • Love driving in the dark.
  • Times much better than we expected.
  • Kirsty and I have a neat working relationship developing in the car.
  • Service crew were very professional and anticipated every need.
  • Conquering my allergy to banks.
  • Clamp mucking up the TV coverage of the finish line (you'll have to email me to get that one out of me !)
  • Kirsty's husband who was also co-driving (for Bruce Sollitt) getting us lost in Napier when we were looking for the documentation venue (glad he was co-ing it for the opposition)
  • Datsta's fake bullet holes causing heaps of comments.
  • Getting text messages asking for our progress from Michael in Germany as he was co-ing for Richard Burns !

LOW POINTS.

  • Absent friends
  • Driving past Deb & Jamie Kibble on stage one after they'd had an off :(

And that's it for low points. We had a fabulous weekend and are finally starting to get the results we know we can.

Sara.

Thanks to Rick O'Neill Photography of Tauranga for allowing us to use the photos

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