The Greg Todd Memorial Rally was to be the first rally of the season for the team and the first rally in 10months due to
lack of funds. Richard was codriving in his first ever rally and it was the teams first time on pacenotes as well.
We were seeded last, out of 54 cars and there were a high percentage of 4wds entered, leaving not a lot
of 2wds and the competition looked tough. There were 9 stages 2 in the maramarua forest that were repeated four times each,
and then the final stage back at manukau super special. Pacenotes were only $100 bucks and we got to do recce on the saturday
as well, which suited us as it provided some time to get an understanding for the notes.
Recce was good as, we got two passes over each of the two different stages at maramarua, but didn't get to recce the superspecial.
On the first pass through we just read the notes and got a feel for how sharp the corners were, on the second pass through
we got a bit of pace on and got a bit more of a feel for the road.
Rally started the next day, we had 1 full set of secondhand rally tyres on, and then one spare well worn rally tyre
and then the full set of bald road tyres that I'd driven out there on. It looked as though quite a few of the competitors
in our class had brought new tyres, but our $80 second hand jobs were the best the team had ever run.
Both the stages had some sections that were extremely rough and cut up on the recce and by the time we went through them
they were even more cut up.
First stage went well, we came out with a bit of pace considering that it was our first run on notes, we were going heaps
faster than if we were driving blind, managed to nearly catchup with the car in front by the end of the stage, but not quite.
Felt pretty happy with that stage, and posted a 9.26. This turned out to be only 14seconds off the pace of the class
leaders which was not bad considering the lack of LSD.
We toured to the start of the second stage but when we got there Nick Marshells 106 (the rally of New Zealand car) was
on fire, and basically burnt to the ground. The stage got cancelled and we were given an assessed time (which turned out to
be way slower than the guys we were competing with.
Third stage was the first repeated and we had a good clean run and improved by 12 seconds to post a 9.14.
Fourth stage was the stage that we missed due to the fire, it turned out to be really slippery through the forest and I
didn't have a good feel for the stage, halfway through I missjudged a corner and we ended up facing the trees, had to hook
reverse and do a 3 point turn but didn't do any damage. Our stage time was 11.33 which we figured must have been pretty slow,
but back at service we checked the stage times and it turned out to be the 21st fastest time! and even with the slow assessed
time we were sitting in 20th overall!
Sitting in fourth in class we figured that we'd push a bit harder and hopefully move up the order a bit. Went out hard
on the fifth stage and caught the guy in front about halfway through the stage, I pulled up right behind him, so close that
i couldn't even see his tyres! there was mud and stones flying up and over the car and we were stuck behind him for about
2 kms before we managed to get past, finished the rest of the stage well and manged to post a 9.09 even with the hold up,
which was the 20th fastest time and 2nd fastest in our class!
Stage 6 was a repeat of the stage we had spun on, but this time it was going sweet. Managed to catch the guy in front about
half way through the stage, we were coming up to a 3 right spectator corner and were about 20metres behind the car in front,
I turned in and had a primo line through the corner but about halfway round the front outer rim shattered! We nearly went
into a ditch but managed to stop in time, had to get some spectators to push us back on the road where we changed the wheel.
It took ages to change and we ended up lossing over 7mins on that stage. GUTTED!
After that we decided just to take it easy to the finish as we had lost to much time changing the wheel. The plan was to
conserve the car and make sure we got to the end. except on stage 7 we got a puncture and having no more rally tyres left
we had to run a road tyre, so on stage 8 i tried to dodge every rock so we didn't get any more punctures but to no avail.
we had a half flat tyre by the end of the stage. this wasn't to good because we had no service park before the long tour to
manukau for the superspecial. By the time we got back to manukau the tyre wasn't looking to good, but we got through on the
half flat tyre and road tyre and managed to finish the rally.
So it was a pretty eventful rally! In the end we scavenged some points for the series and most importantly had lots
of fun and gained lots of experience. The next purchase on the car definatly needs to be an LSD but this may have to
wait untill the driver gets a pay rise!