Certainly lots of mud and gorse whacking but it was the gorse that saved the day as we slid into a bank on special stage six.
To be honest we don’t have a lot of experience with forestry stages and haven’t competed in the Canterbury Rally before so understandably we were a bit apprehensive. The recce confirmed what we suspected and we knew we would just have to focus on each stage and move on. There are very few reference points on forestry tracks and we knew we would have to be very careful so we didn’t miss an unmarked turn on touring.
We tried to ensure our pace notes dealt with the inconsistency factor – eg some places had good traction but without notice you’d hit mud and start sliding followed by quicker faster corners. We needed to keep adjusting our pace within stages to stay on the road but also trying to save valuable time wherever possible – I think we achieved this.
Our Subaru went like a dream and although it took an absolute thumping over the day, it is a very robust car and stood up to the challenge. We completely lost the hora flaps on the last loop.
The night stages were interesting to say the least and as you would expect very one dimensional. On stage nine we had problems with a misting windscreen. We have a long handled wiping system that we use in such emergencies. This can be operated by the co-driver however as Brenda was trying to stay on notes and operate the manual system, I was inadvertently hit around the head in the process! With the rough road, darkness and a lack of visibility, this stage was certainly a challenge.
It was a bit gutting to see Regan and Samantha out so close to the finish of the rally but we managed to keep focused and finish the final stage with a top 10 stage time.
Overall we were very pleased with our finish of 13th overall and 10th in the NZ Rally championship.
It was a real bonus that it didn’t snow during the rally and the itinerary made it quite manageable for the service team being based in Rangiora with no remote refuelling. Great work team – thanks to Brenda for helping to keep the car on the road, and thanks to Glenn, Jared and Steve.
Thanks to Hayden for his ongoing support and to our sponsors Handy Rentals Hamilton and Williamson Design and Engineering.