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Taylors Pass Rallysprint Blenheim

18 October, 2003

Mark & Sara discussing tactics

Take a fired up, determined teenager, add a superbly prepared Toyota (thanks Carl), bind together with one of the top young drivers in NZ rallying, and you have a recipe for a great day of rallying over one of the most technically challenging roads in the South Island.

After a busy week at school which culminated in a 10 minute live radio interview (on her favourite sport of course), Sara was more than ready to get out in Bert and have some fun. First a birthday dinner for Caity (just turned 12!), then we left for the airport to pick up our secret weapon - and co-driver for the event - Mark Tapper of Auckland. Mark kindly offered to fly down and give Sara some tips and this has proved to be one of the most valuable experiences we've all had. Not only for Mark's expertise, but also for his awesome personality! Lets just say, the 2 hour trip from Nelson to Blenheim the next day proved to be an enjoyable and informative experience and we saw and heard the side of Mark that would slot him very nicely into being an honorary 'Owen Brother'.

Onto the event. The first run up the hill saw Sara and Mark an incredible 3rd overall - with a time of 5.21, just behind the Evo 4 of Paul Nicoll & the Impreza of last year's winner Don Urquhart - and first in class B. Second run involved Sara putting into place what Mark had suggested - and Mark with his hand on the gearstick so she couldn't change out of fourth for the number 6 corners!! The time, although slower, still had them in 7th fastest time with a 5.30. Third run was quick again at a 5.22 and built on the training from the run before - pushing them into 6th fastest time. For the fourth run, Mark stepped aside to watch from the outside of the car - giving up the seat to Carl Rabbidge. Although slower on this run, they still put in a time of 5.26 for 10th fastest time.

So, the overall result saw them 7th overall and 3rd in Class B. An awesome result which has left the whole team feeling really excited and looking forward to our next event - Westland Rally.Bert in motion The cumulative time is not only 5 minutes faster than last year - but an incredible 15 minutes faster than the first time Sara competed in 2001!

We'd like to thank Mark Tapper for this awesome experience. This lad has great talent and attitude and it was a pleasure to spend the day with him. For him to give of his time so generously was an indication of the real sportsman he is.

Well, time to focus on exams - with time out for the Nelson College for Girls Sports Prizegiving next Wednesday which has seen Sara nominated for awards (first time motorsport has been represented!).

Team Mum (cos Sara is studying for Bursary exams!)


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