John Bouzaid and Ian Thornton. Photo credit: Dee Byrne

Tauranga Clubman’s Rally from a different perspective

By Dee Byrne

Motorsport Bay of Plenty promised us a fantastic day out at Tect Park for the Tauranga Clubman’s Rally.  And they didn’t disappoint.

It was great to see a double page spread in the local Bay of Plenty Times on the Friday night before showing what it was all about, who was competing, and where spectators could safely stand to follow the event.

Photo credit: Dee Byrne
Jake and Dylan freezing on the sidelines.  Photo credit: Dee Byrne

Unfortunately for me, it was wet, cold, and miserable.  And having two boys who were frozen cold on the sidelines didn’t help.

Jase had armed me with a camera and asked me if I’d take photos of the start line at Stage 1.  The boys and I turned up at about 8.40am at the start of Mangatoi Road and got out ready to go.  But that was when we met Rob.  He was one of the Marshalls at the start of the road and had been told in no uncertain terms that there were not to be any spectators at the start.  I guess this was due to the fact that parking was at a premium and if there were heaps of cars, then the competitors couldn’t file into the road.  I may be wrong.  However, as much as I might try to convince Rob that he should let us in so we could take photos for the site, the answer was still no.  I take my hat off to you Rob.  You did a great job looking after the start of Stage 1, and I have full respect for you.  :o)

Jase had also asked me if I’d photograph Stage 3 at the spectator point, so I figured I’d go there instead.  Problem is, my car decided to head into the Service Park.  I don’t know why.  I figure I must have been on auto pilot.  Even Dylan asked why we were heading that way.

I took the camera in, wearing my Little Bit Sideways shirt, feeling like I could conquer the world.  I was going to put my big girl panties on and take photos of everyone in the Service Park.  Yeah right – I chickened out!  It can be quite daunting going into a place where people look at you and wonder who the hell you are, and what’s that camera for?  Maybe I’d do it later in the day after they’d seen me walking around a bit and talking to people.  I’m sure I’d feel more comfortable then.

Much to my delight, there was finally a coffee cart at the Service Park!  I had my Eftpos card ready and after waiting, waiting, waiting, asked for my trim mocha and then handed them my card.  They didn’t take Eftpos as they can’t get coverage up there.  “But it says you take Eftpos on your blackboard.  Best you take that away!”  Luckily my knight in shining armour came to save the day – Andrew Shrimpton, you’re the best!  Thank you for letting me have my caffeine fix.  It was bloody good coffee too!  It’s my shout next time.

I’d been around to see a few of the crews waiting on their drivers to come back into service.  Gee those guys and girls are dedicated.  They’re like well-oiled machines!  I hope you drivers fed or watered them well after the event, because they deserved it.

Photo credit: Dee Byrne
Photo credit: Dee Byrne

We then went into Stage 3 for a go at taking these photos.  After all – how hard can it be to push a button on a camera?  John Bouzaid, Chris (Chevy Coca-Cola), and another gentleman were on hand to make sure everyone stayed safe and we jumped across the road and into the trees.  Those cars are amazing to watch.  Everyone seemed to be in control and were going pretty fast around the bend.  I have to mention both Jonesy and Woody though, and their commitment going into the corner (and any corner really) is fantastic!  You guys never fail to entertain.

Back at the Service Park I ended up meeting some new people thanks to a friend of mine who had come to the event to meet up with them.  My friend is from Dannevirke, and it turns out it’s quite a small place where everyone knows everyone else!  It was great to meet you Tena McLean and Ian Stewart (Bradley’s Dad).  And thanks too for the positive feedback regarding Jase’s site.  It was great to be able to tell him that you enjoy it.

While walking through the park, it was sad to see the aftermath of Chris Tregilgas’ car after his crash.  It was a mess!  Jase has told me though that he’s already got it in the workshop and it’ll be good as new again in no time.

The main reason for going back to the Service Park was to try to take photos, but once again, it didn’t happen.  I chickened out.  I always tell Jase that it would be great to see more service photos – you know, showing the people behind the scenes who work so hard to keep the drivers and co-drivers safe.  Maybe next time!

So thank you again MBOP for an amazing event.  Everyone appeared to be having a blast.  Spectators seemed happy, and things looked like it went smoothly.  It’s a real credit to the organisers, the marshalls, and everyone else who worked tirelessly behind the scenes before and after the event.

Just one thing to note though.  When I was in Stage 3, I did see one spectator getting quite mouthy with one of the marshalls.  Guys – the marshalls are volunteers.  They’re drivers who know how these cars work, and how quickly they can lose control.  If you’re asked to move away from a particular area, they’re not doing it to piss you off – they’re doing it because it’s for your own safety.  So please don’t disrespect them.  If it weren’t for these wonderful people, there’d be NO rallying for any of us to watch!

NB:  Oh, and in case you’re wondering why there aren’t any of my photos on the site – it’s because they’re crap!

Jase, I also take my hat off to you.  There’s a truckload of skill that goes into taking decent pictures, and the ones you take are amazing.  Please don’t stop doing what you’re doing!

Full gallery of Jase’s images can be found here

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