Two tyres and a Jerrycan
We completed our first rally in 2014 and there’s no doubt that we started small: we had two spare tyres and a can of fuel on the back of our ute! Three seasons on and our rally team has made huge progress. Our mantra has always been to keep on improving the car and the team and we feel we have succeeded in both areas. We’ve earned our stripes in a front wheel drive and couldn’t be happier with the overall performance of the Swift. The sequential gear box made it possible to left foot brake from an early stage and the car’s reliability was certainly a factor in us nabbing second in Open 2 Wheel drive class for NZRC 2017. Our rally team has developed into a tight team of six who work together and have a lot of fun.
When we purchased Lance William’s Subaru WRX STI R4 in July, we were undecided as to whether we would continue in the Swift or open up the shed and get the Subaru out early. We are now pleased we ran the Swift through to the end of the season and gave it a good send off.
The Swift, being such a small car, is certainly very forgiving. Although we had our share of spins and ‘tap and goes’, we were lucky in that we didn’t sustain any panel damage. Meanwhile we have been busy purchasing as many spare panels for the Subaru as we can find. We are expecting that the new car might get a few dents as we get used to piloting a much bigger car!
We absolutely loved the Raglan stages of Rally NZ. Being Raglan locals we felt a real connection to the stages. Did we have a local advantage? While the general consensus was probably that we knew the roads, this wasn’t the case as we don’t have any need to travel on Te Hutewai, Whaanga Coast or Te Akau roads. True story.
Saturday was a scorcher of a day and our front tyres took an absolute hammering. We changed the fronts out at every service and it’s fair to say the Swift was feeling a bit fragile as we made our way over to Tauranga for the 45 minute end of leg 1 service. Having stopped three times on touring, we landed at Bay Park with three minutes to spare! On Saturday night, we made a quick trip back to the Farm in Raglan to deal with a few damaged parts and sorted these out in the 10 minute service on Sunday morning.
The final round was even more special with Hayden Paddon and John Kennard winning the rally. In addition, we had WRC co-driver Seb Marshall and engineer Rui Soares keeping us up to date with stage conditions and they certainly kept us entertained during the weekend with their light hearted banter. This concluded with saturating us with water as we drove out of the final control. Very funny and loved the cooling effect!
End of Season Team Awards:
Worst Moment for Service Crew:
This was tied between,
Leaving the fuel pump and fuel up at Paihia after the remote refuel
Taking a punctured wheel out of the boot at service and replacing it with the same flat tire…. (the call came through ‘don’t cut’)
Best Moment for Service Crew:
It’s all about recovering from mistakes and there was a very quick recovery with the unnamed team member ringing through to Rally NZ and organising for someone to bring the fuel pump/fuel back with them to Whangarei.
Special Joint Award
To Jack for failing to pack the sill stands for the Waitomo Rally, apparently caused by Brenda who tidied up and ‘hid’ the sill stands away in an unusual place.
What a fantastic year – we can’t wait to make some final adjustments to the Subaru and get out on hill climbs and sprints over the summer.
Special thanks to Hayden Paddon who has provided so much support and advice to me during the year – incredibly generous.
Thanks to Rally NZ and all the volunteers who make it happen!
THANKS to our sponsors for their support – Handy Rentals, WDE and Paddon Rally Foundation
Thanks also for the ongoing assistance from the Elite Motorsport Academy
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