Being part of the APRC, Whangarei rally starts are always a colourful affair and Friday night was no exception. Held in the centre of town 53 contenders crossed the start ramp along with glorious sound of high lift cams and straight cut gearboxes……. Brrrr gets me every time.
Saturday morning dawned to a bright sunny and yep potentially dusty day, and us here with a narrow wet weather tyre (being a Aucklander you would think I would know better than to listen to a weather forecast) tyre wear was foremost in my mind touring out to stage one.
15.05km of very fast flowing gravel full of 6s & 7s a great way to get your attention and a good indication of what was to come. But what really got my attention was the brake pedal hitting the floor at about the 10km mark losing front braking and making for some pretty spectacular entries into tighter corners. The mighty jaffa had felt great the new engine and suspension improvements were a success and my confidence was high so it was a real disappointment and still 52kms of special stages before service. Rallying is all about managing your losses so the next two stages were an awesome display of team work, pedal pumping and more than a few but clenching moments for Paul and I to get back to service, dropping only 16 seconds to the competition.
The guys leapt into action, as predicted the tyres were toast and with time for only tyres and a quick brake bleed they got us a pedal again. Unfortunately the somewhat erratic nature of the last 67kms had taken its toll on Paul, by now he was feeling really unwell so notes were no longer an option. The rest of the rally would be blind.
More brake gremlins over the next 70km and heavy dust from catching a slower car put paid to any chance of clawing back the deficit and we were ecstatic to bring it home for the two night publicity stages in Whangarei and claim a legendary 2nd place in NZRC5b, class win in the Top Half Series and a top five Top Half Series result. Not bad given how the odds stacked against us.
The mighty Jaffa showed once again it has the speed and dependability and the team the professionalism to manage a situation for the best possible result, leaving us heading into the next round tied for 1st place overall in the Top Half Series . Paul and I can’t wait to get back out there.
Jaffa Sport proudly supported by ……. WHAT……. Jamex……. AWS……..Gull NZ …..