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South Canterbury Car Club Rally

26 October 2002

Back from another successful rally - Timaru. With Kirsty tied up helping at Targa (Paul is also co-driving there), a huge thanks needs to go to Rocky Hudson for enticing Sue France of Christchurch into the co-drivers seat. Mum, Dad and our new crew member Blair from Timaru were servicing along with my cousin Peter Boyce who helped at Levels with the tyres.

Started off in a bad way, had to pick the car up from Garry (who was fixing the carbs), got that at 11am (and managed to score some REALLY great sticky (with a cool pattern) racing tyres off him!). Then found the gearstick knob had disappeared from the car. Had to go buy another one, get that modified at the garage so it'd fit. Ended up leaving Nelson at around 12, with an 8 hour trip to Timaru and had to be at auditing between 7-9 !

Eventually got there, was annoyed to find that they had 'randomly selected' me to get my car audited. After a slow 8 hr journey and no food I was NOT a happy girl. Anyway went to start the car to get it off the trailer and it was DEAD! Not even the fuel pump was going. Had our new service crew member (Blair), Dad, Rocky, Deane, Royce and a few others helping trying to find the problem. Thought it was the battery terminal and finally got going again, went through auditing etc.

Next morning comes around, luckily the car started and got it down to the start. Drivers briefing etc. again luckily the car started for the rally start. Got going and was getting into the groove of things on the first stage, gorgeous roads - very fast, very flowing but lots of tricky brows to keep you very much awake on some of those fast parts. 1st stage went with only a few problems, the car felt as gutless as could be on the straights, would only rev to 5000 in 3rd - not good when you had HUGE straights and the car would only do 120km/h!

Stage two, arrived to find Westy at the start, he came up and had a chat and found out that they were around 2km in - gearbox probs, not good. So we went in, it was a 25 odd km stage, was really enjoying this one (apart from our annoying speed problem!!!), was going so well. THEN at the end of a long straight i went to JUMP on the brakes, to find out.... oh sh*t WE HAVE NONE!!!! not a nice feeling, pumped them a few times and got them back ever so slightly, enough to slow us down a bit, luckily it was a pretty flowing corner! just drove through the rest of the stage, nearly overshot a few intersections when the brakes wouldn't work...spectators must have thought it was a laugh.

Then to find out at the end of the stage that something was making a VERY bad noise. drove 33 odd km to service. There our service crew worked hard core to find our problem. Eventually found our rear brakes were steaming, which lead to us looking at the front pads. The front left pads had come out!!!!!!!! We only lost 37 secs in that stage on our closest competitor with no brakes! The pins were lost but sooo lucky for us the pads were still in (we were lucky to not have a fire). Our great service crew improvised and got us back out there with some wire holding the brakes in for a temp fix till the next service.

Next stage - 3 SOOOOOOOOO great to have brakes!!!! Thought we were quite slow on this stage as still wary of brake failure (cos it was only a temp fix before we got to the next service). Alas, we caught the guys in front of us and the dust was sooooo bad that we had to basically come to a stop, wasn't nice but we still managed to do a very good stage time and come 28th out of the 34 finishes which I was quite stoked about, esp with our engine probs.

Stage 4. 24 odd km long, from memory it was nice and flowing (as all the Timaru Roads) but not too much to report, It was a very quick road and had a really good feeling for the roads now, had my foot ABSOLUTELY flat in ALL gears but to no avail, the car just bunny hopped along. At service we found part of our gutless problem, the throttle return spring had fallen off along with some bolts on the top of the carbs. So that's why my foot was flat but we weren't going anywhere quickly!!! Mum suggested hairclips to hold the brake pads in, very offensive just cos its a females car! but she bought some from the shop just in case.

Stage 5, had a few moments on this stage, couple of near spins etc - usual stuff. But we struggled through, engine was slightly better (was going 140km/h on straights now).

Stage 6, everyone had warned me about this stage, apparently lots of blind brows. But I REALLY enjoyed it, whether it was just the fact that I had Levels next and was trying to enjoy all the gravel I could - it was great. Caught up to the guys in front again, but had to slow way down again due to dust, only ended up getting 5 seconds on him. but still grinning!!! :)

Ok now by this time we had left the car running ALL day, didn't turn it off for even service or before a stage or anything cos there was a huge possibility it wouldn't start again.

So we arrived at the Levels service, had some absolutely GREAT tyres from Garry and Guy, they were just so awesome (gotta remember now that this is only my 2nd time on a circuit and 1st time with proper tyres!), geez it made a huge difference. BUT not good, me having a mind block and thinking of the circuit not my car, turned the damn car off for the 1st time ALL day, went to try start it and NOTHING!! Sh*t !!!! With about 5min service left, tyres on ready to go, pressure good etc the car still wasn't going. SH*T wasn't all that was being said now, but all that can be printed ! Luckily, at the last minute dad found the problem - ignition switch wires coming loose. Started the car and BOY WERE WE HAPPY!!!

So stage 7, was The Levels Raceway circuit. The guys were going nuts and fully enjoying this stage. We went out (with my great tyres) and just had lots of fun. Thanks to some instruction from Paul we tried our hardest. Didn't brake at 100m board, left it much later (we were having prob with the engine still so we didn't
get much speed up, which was a huge shame ). But those tyres were just amazing, you go around the corner way too quick and two wheels off the ground, feels like its going to sledge so you just heave the wheel and boot it and it wiggles and comes right! good fun. Ran over the ripple strip a few times to wake us up (as Garry puts it) great great fun.

So we ended up 28th out of 31 finishes (with 42 starters). Not bad considering our problems, it was just great fun. Love this rally, definately on next years list, just with a faster car it'll be even better.

Huge congratulations to Hayden Paddon, who finished 18th overall and first in class B, he's just passed his restricted licence and it was an awesome drive!

Another HUGE congrats to Hugh Owen & Carl Rabbidge of Blenheim for winning the Mainland Series 2002 overall and coming third in this rally. Also to Dean Cameron & Dean Schroder from Blenheim - 16th overall & 1st in class E. Also to Brendan McKenzie of Blenheim winning class A.

Congratulations also to Deane Buist & Rocky Hudson for taking out the 2wd Mainland Series 2002 class. Awesome consistently great driving & navigating !

Gutted to see Team RFR (Andrew Reid & David Fletcher) standing beside their broken 'Bob' on Stage 2. Bad luck guys !!

Now prize giving, boy was that just GREAT! Got a results sheet, walked up to Chris West and got him to sign it, he wrote "Sara bet Chris West 26-10-02, WELL DONE!", then went up to Juddy (who won the rally) and wanted him to sign that he'd beaten me - he wrote "Juddy beat Sara, go harder next time" although he felt bad about being made to do it !!

It was an awesome night to end an awesome rally, great great fun. Even had some dude come up to me and say 'So I'm told you're the next Deb Kibble'.

So just got home today after an interesting trip in the snow !

Datsta needs a good rest and a serious butt kicking (but he did come through in the end... kinda!). Got some great advice from the likes of Brent Buist and Juddy. so car needs some serious work, I need a good rest to get over these wild rally parties. This was meant to be our last event (wasn't planned until 2 weeks ago!) but now we've got one on the 16th Nov (Taylors Pass in Blenheim) then the weekend after in Cheviot, so its all hands to pumps & a tappet re-adjustment for the lad.

If you're wondering the order of finishers Jeff Judd, John Giltrap, Hugh Owen, Nigel Beck, Dermot Martin, Leigh Marston, Deane Buist, Paul Dickson, Mike Verdoner, Dean Milligan and Glen and Brent Buist rounding out the top 11.

Thanks to Ma, Pa, Sue, Blair & Peter for a great weekend, can't wait for the rallies next year - we'll be bigger, better, more experienced and after this weekend a HELL OF A LOT FASTER!!!!! :)

Sara

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