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S a r a - u p  c l o s e  a n d  p e r s o n a l

Sara's Philosophy in life:

' When you have gone so far that you can't manage one more step, then you've gone just half the distance that you're capable of.'

Full Name:

Sara Louise Randall


Nelson, New Zealand

Age & Birthday

20 - 11th January


5' 6"


Never ask a lady that (but its 45kg)


Mum (Bev), Dad (Nigel), Becky & Caity (sisters)

Rallying Goals:

To get to the top!!
Most Memorable Achievement:

Got to be 2004 Rally of Rotorua where after being stranded in the Motu with a broken down recce car for the night, we came out on the second day and blitzed the 2wd field to win the final stage. Wow, what a feeling - the car just glided around the roads.

Rallying Heroes:

WRC & International - Petter Solberg, Tommi Makinen, Richard Burns, Michael Orr

NZRC - Chris West, Carl Rabbidge, Deane Buist , Deborah Kibble, Jamie Kibble, Jeff Judd, Hugh Owen, Lloyd Owen, Richard Mason, Mark Tapper, Rocky Hudson, Stumpy Holmes, Wayne Muckle, Heaps of others !!! (alphabetically by first names - to be fair!)

Best Advice: Its not going to just leap out and come to you, you have to make it happen yourself - you've got to want it so bad it hurts and then you must have the strength to do something about it!
Admires in others: Honesty and the courage to stick with it if you believe in it
Greatest Influence: Field Marshall Montgomery - learned about him in History & really admire his attitude. Also Deb Kibble, who I watched win over those who doubted her
Favourite Music: Lots of favourites here - depends on my mood
Favourite Car: Subaru WRX (PLEASE SANTA)
Favourite Food:

Chocolate & Lollies (they help me study, honestly!)

Favourite TV Show: Monster Garage
Favourite Movie: Gladiator (wonder why it should be this one <g>)
Weaknesses: Don't like waiting round for things to happen - would much rather be making them happen!
Greatest Bug:

People who think that just because I'm a young female, I shouldn't be taken seriously!


How did Sara first get into rallying?

She was only 13 years old when she turned on the TV to see Tommi Makinen slide his Mitsubishi Evo 6 into first place to win the World Rally Championship. From that day on, her only goal in life was to compete in the World Rally Championship.

With all her earnings saved, she purchased a very tired, 1974 Morris Marina to use as a paddock car - learning how to change gears all by herself. Lots of practice round the paddocks saw poor old Morris die an undignified death.

Two weeks before her 15th birthday, she was given a Datsun Sunny rallycar for a combined Christmas/birthday present by her parents. Christened Datty, the car had been lusted over by Sara for months prior to that as it was owned by the local service station owner and was often parked at the station when we stopped off for petrol.

On Track

Datty and Sara quickly became a team. Her car control skills improved with help from members of the local Nelson Car Club - especially that of Rob McKee (Mainland series 2wd champion). Rob had given Sara a few runs in the silly seat (co-driver) and also spent several sessions both in the paddock and on the track coaching her.

Sara entered a few hillclimbs and gravelsprints. She heard about a rally school and wrote on an internet list asking if anyone in New Zealand knew of a good school near Nelson. This was to be a turning point in her 'career'. The query was answered by someone who was to become a very important part of the team - www.car.co.nz motorsport journalist Lance Hastie.

Lance organised tuition with Palmerston North driver Sam Murray to be followed the next day by competing in the Trentham Rallysprint in Wellington.

He also introduced Sara to some of the people she had seen on TV and read about in the motorsport articles - a dream come true. The tuition was awesome - the event was awesome - it was a great weekend and we all came home fired up for more.

Lance became Sara's manager and as a temporary measure, doubled as her co-driver. They sped through the Redwood Pass Hillclimb to be 13th out of 19 competitors - an amazing result for such a short time driving ! - flying over a culvert without touching the road at one stage.

Oops !

Then disaster struck - that which (in rallying) we all know is coming, but hoped it wouldn't be for a while! On 10th June, 2001 while competing in the Whangamoa Seal Hillclimb, Sara (with her dad Nigel as co-driver) sped up the hill, hit some rocks on the side of the road, ripped the tyre off the rim and smashed head first into a bank doing around 105km/hr.

Datty was dead, Sara was injured - a fractured wrist, whiplash, severely bruised knee and a lip that stayed numb for almost a month!

Down, but certainly not out, Sara phoned Lance with the news. No car, a major event in around 4 weeks time (the Hawkes Bay Rally) and a HUGE loss of confidence.

Lance to the rescue

Lance came through. He flew down to view the damage, organised the car to be sent up to Palmerston North (where he lives) and in only two weeks, totally rebuilt the car. We arrived in Palmerston North to help tighten up a few of the last bolts to go in, do a fitting on the drivers seat for Sara, load the car on the trailer and drive straight to scrutineering for the rally.

AND, they finished the rally with the car in one piece. Words can never express how grateful we are to Lance. He worked day and night on that car to get it done and presented Sara with a wonderful new car - Datsta. Our thanks also to a wonderful service crew of Michelle and Ian Barr - totally unflappable at all times, to Darren (Lance's neighbour) who helped in the evenings and to Mr & Mrs Hastie (Lance's mum & dad) for putting up with all the noise, having Lance snore off at the dinner table and feeding us all when we turned up to help.

Back to business

After Hawkes Bay rally, the team competed in the Nelson Rally - once again finishing - although not before they obliterated a signpost when a faulty tripmeter caused them to almost miss a turn. In front of a huge crowd, this certainly has been the most talked about moment during the rally !!

2002 - A New Year

2002 saw an even bigger increase in confidence with the securing of Kirsty Raymer as co-driver and a new lease of life for Datsta with his new engine. The girls tackled the Westland Rally - one which saw 6 cars out on the first stage !! The roads in Westland are very harsh on the cars, but are roads that Sara thrives on. She loves the rough stuff and give her a watersplash and she is in seventh heaven !!

Since All This Happened?

WOW, lots has happened - including a full NZ Rally Championship campaign which saw our young star win her class at the International Rally of Rotorua and then go on to be placed second overall in the 2wd NZ Rally Championship only one point away from the leader (and eventual winner) until Bert's engine blew up and put her out of the 2004 competition.

To follow Sara and her Team's progress, please visit our other pages where Sara provides reports on their events.

Yes, But What About School??

A few a people have asked what all this rallying does to Sara's school work. We are very proud to report that she had a blinder of a 7th form year at school. This includes several sporting award nominations and a Merit Award for her hard work and consistent performance throughout the year. Rallying has given her a huge increase in self confidence and the ability to concentrate, plan and work hard for good results. A huge thanks to all the teachers and the Principal at Nelson College for Girls who support her rallying totally.

Sara finished her High School years with an A Bursary and a Scholarship in Science (top 3% in New Zealand). She is now tackling a joint degree - BBS/BSc at Massey University with great grades and gaining the University Blues award which is a sports colours for excellence in sport combined with full time university study!

Next Page.... Meet the Team


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