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July News

We’re reaching the midway point of 2023,

quite surreal how fast the year is accelerating along.

The economic climate is volatile, the weather is

unpredictable, things are seemingly getting harder

for the everyday person.

Resilience though is underlying and Kiwi’s continue to have this amazing attitude in the face of doubt and uncertainty. We must keep pushing the boundaries and tracking forward, she’ll be right mate…we hope…

In the coalpit of the current climate, organizer’s stick to their guns and forge ahead with event progress. In return, people keep turning up on event day, testament to our grit determination and drive. We triumphantly assemble at driver’s briefings and the day hasn’t even started yet.

Race budgets are always delicate, make those dollars count guys and gals and get out there are get into what you can. The club events are still green for go and supporting club events are a win win for both competitors and clubs.

Tarmac is sneaking into the rally scene more, YES we love gravel, I know I know… Give it a whirl, it’s the same feeling, just a little less sideways.

Reality check though, you might have to swap the Vogel’s for a loaf of Tip Top, make a coffee at home to take in the car instead of procuring your most delectable flat white at the local café, just some of the sacrifices that need to be made. The jubilation at event day of a clean take-off, hitting apex’s perfectly, still having the ‘clench’ moment and sailing through to the finish line with absolute focus and determination – is just a very small snippet of why we do it, our hobby, our fun, our sport!

I’ll eat 2 minute noodles if I have to get to the start line on race day.

Mixing and mingling with some of NZ’s most reputable and respected driver and codriver teams cements the social element to this sport that brings many diverse people together. Listen wisely as the knowledge gained from informal discussions is invaluable to developmental aspects.

We’ll pit together, race together and share laughs on the day. We’re a humble lot and despite the tough getting going, the friendly faces of racing will stand united and support the delicate card house in prevailing winds. 

RIP Another Legend

Rodney Atchinson

RIP 25.10.1951 – 7.6.2023

A racing face, a mate, a legend, Rodney Atchinson left us recently following a quick stint in hospital which led to a diagnosis with a terminal illness.

If ever you’ll meet a person who’s incredibly giving, at the same time just humbly goes about their life without realising how much they give back, well Rodney Atchinson was this person.

Following his death, the amazing words from people and pictures that have come out of the woodworks, it’s pretty neat getting an insight into his life, which clearly he had one hell of an innings.

Rodney was a founding member of the Club and instrumental in the construction of the clubrooms, still standing today and enjoyed by our members.

The VW Beetle…….Rodney purchased his VW Beetle in the early 60’s and went on to compete in predominantly gymkhanas, grasstracks, hillclimbs, rallycross and sprint events, and the odd clubman’s rally, right up to 2022. His driving style was admired by all and this iconic car really made its presence in the racing scene. The car has a very distinctive sound, and no one could miss it when Rodney was on full noise on the track.

He also did a bit of co-driving for the likes of Max Irwin and Hugh Munroe to name a couple.

Rodney’s dedication to the sport went far beyond competing, he’d serviced for many crews including Warren Hull, Stumpy Holmes, the Nissan Rally Team and Possum Bourne, and probably many more.  

Great stories are relived when talking about times servicing, the antics, the laughs, a great bunch of mates helping each other out in the local rally scene.

Rodney was an avid member of the Awhitu Volunteer Fire Department, living rurally and supporting his local community and helping out where need be.

He thoroughly enjoyed touring around the country on his motorbike with friends. This saw him go far and wide. He had a Honda Fireblade road bike and even an army Indian in his collection, and his mini museum was admirable.

I’m disappointed we never got to do a club night in his shed, it housed the very heart and soul of what racing is all about. I was humbled to attend the shed gathering, it was testament to many special things in a working career that has spanned decades.

Cars, tools and bikes, rum, hats and trophies, a collection of years’ worth of priceless pieces, all with their place and relevance. I laughed when I saw container after container filled with gawd knows what, saved for that time when you need one of those ‘things’. I’ve been into many a shed that is filled to the brim with trinkets, this shed had real character and life and made me dream for a shed of my own where I can proudly display all my life’s applicable things, like Rodney’s museum.

A huge attendance was at the funeral, bloody sad having to farewell a friend.

I was outside, as the Matakawau Hall was so packed full of people, they played some snippets of Rodney racing, at the end of the clip was a quirky, cheeky giggle, almost reminiscent of Billy T, a giggle just as iconic as the VW car.

It made me smile again. We’ll miss you mate.


Brian Watkin

Our condolences to the Watkin family for the recent passing of Brian Watkin. Pukekohe Car Club was a big part of his life in his younger years while rallying with many trophies won and proudly displayed.


Toyotas Going the Distance

Greg Crene added to an array of competitors at the recent Taranaki Tarmac Rally. Basically, a blind rally, repeating runs of stages 1 and 2 in the afternoon, with nearly 80kms of special stages on the iconic back country Taranaki roads.

Round 2 of the North Island Rally Series, this event really delivered. Keep it on the calendar!!

Richard Leggett was codriver calling safety notes, Richard’s driver profile outlined perfectly post event;


1985: The year of Greg Crene’s rapid AE82 Toyota Corolla FX-GT, which I co-drove in at the weekend. The car runs a bored and stroked 4A-GE engine, modified transmission, AE86 Corolla front splitter and a custom rear diffuser. It weighs around 1,000 kilograms.

2: The number of trailers it took to get the Corolla to the start line. Greg’s car transporter trailer suffered a major wheel hub failure partway through his drive from Auckland to Stratford on Saturday – the trailer wheel parted company with the trailer on the motorway. Scary stuff – luckily nobody was hurt. Big thanks to Mike for the generous loan of his trailer to allow Greg and the rally car to continue their journey.

7: The temperature in degrees Celsius in the service park in Stratford on the morning of the rally. 0.0mm of rain fell during the day – a beautiful clear day. There were still a few damp and greasy patches to take care through, in the shadowy sections of Taranaki countryside where the winter sun never shines. 

79.56: The total special stage distance of the rally in kilometres, consisting of two runs through the Douglas stage (SS1 and SS3, 19.78km) and two runs through Croydon (SS2 and SS4, 20km).

195.6: Our top speed in kilometres per hour at the end of the very long straight in Special Stage 3. The highest speed of the rally was achieved by the Mazda RX3 of Stuart Eyre and Stu McFarlane: 210.6 km/h!

2: The number of large volcanoes we saw while competing in the rally – Mount Taranaki and Mount Ruapehu. With the rally stages located east of Stratford, we had stunning views of both snow-capped mountains – the dormant stratovolcano Taranaki was about 25 kilometres to the west, and the active stratovolcano Ruapehu about 60 kilometres to the east. I only had to remind Greg to keep his eyes on the road while racing once.  

0.0 Litres: the amount of vomit I spilled in the rally car. Is a litre the correct unit of measurement to use when discussing puke, or should it be a CC? Whatever it is, I’m feeling stoked to have finished the day without chundering, having felt pretty green and carsick in some of the special stages and even in the touring stages at times. Navigating in a rally car at high speed over undulating and bumpy roads – while also monitoring the RallySafe unit for information and doing basic maths equations – is challenging! Motion sickness tablets, ginger lollies and Gingernut biscuits helped. I heard I wasn’t the only co-driver feeling unwell.

13th: Our finishing position from 34 starters. Just one tenth of a second behind the Milham/Milham Subaru Legacy RS which finished 12th!

14: The age of Brooklyn Horan, driver of the Big Black Motorsport Ford Fiesta Rally4, who finished an incredible 2nd overall. This was Brooklyn’s first rally. Because Brooklyn is too young to hold a New Zealand Civil Drivers Licence his co-driver Michael Connor had to drive the car on the open road touring stages in between the closed road special stages.

Lots: the number of officials, organisers, timing crew, marshals, scrutineers and technical experts, helpers and volunteers it took to make the rally happen. Thank you to everyone involved. 

290: The distance in kilometres I drove to get home again after the rally. Slightly further for Greg.

Photos: Leon Cast

Things Heating Up

Rally Canterbury 2023 🔥🔥

Ray Wilson experienced every driver’s worst nightmare at Rally Canterbury, things were heating up and not in a good way. Samantha Gray recaps how things kicked off for the team at Rally Canterbury and the come back for Rally South Canterbury.

‘Back in the Subaru again with Ray Wilson Rallysport, unfortunately it was all over before it really begun.

1km into stage 1 we started losing fuel pressure, we slowly carried on for a few hundred meters until we could smell fuel. The moment we came to a stop the flames appeared, reaching a meter high above the bonnet and everywhere else they could escape. As soon as we jumped out we realised this is actually a really big fire in the middle of a commercial forest and we hit SOS immediately. A massive thank you to the four cars, James McDonald, Josh Edwards, Dave Ollis, Gemma Thomas, Sheldon Bell, Jacson Edie, Nick Marsden and Peter Calvert who stopped and assisted us with the fire you guys were straight into action and were absolutely outstanding, thank you to rally HQ for pausing the stage to send in fire crews to assist and tow us to a safer place. Luckily we got the fire out after five minutes and used roughly six fire extinguishers.

There is as expected a lot of damage, melted parts and wiring looms. We are straight into trying to get it repaired and going for next weekends South Canterbury Rally so fingers crossed we will make it! Thanks to Canterbury Rally for awarding us the breakdown trophy 🤣.

My day didn’t end there I ended up jumping in the co-drivers seat in the zero car with Chris Hughes  as my dad wasn’t feeling the best. Which only lasted 30km’s when the clutch gave up, so not every day you have two permanent DNF’s in one day 🤦‍♀️.

Thanks again to everyone who helped us during the day and fingers crossed we can get the car going for South Canterbury.’

South Canterbury Rally 2023 ✅

After ten days of repairing everything burnt and melted on the car from Canterbury Rally two weeks before, we were excited to actually make the start line, but to finish the rally with not one issue or fault all day was absolutely fantastic.

Just about every electrical component in the engine bay had some damage from the fire, so we had a lot of work to do fixing and tracking down new parts. Thank you again to everyone that was apart of this quick rebuild.

Now to the rally… it was mix of everything, fast and dry, wet and slippery, tricky and icy, sunstrike and thick fog. Luckily we have no off roads moments to report back, a few more than we hoped side ways moments down icy roads but we managed to gain control and carry on.

In the end we finished 4th overall in the Allcomers rally and 3rd in the 4WD class! A big thank you to Ian and the Silcock team for servicing for us and standing out on the cold all day! I have a couple months off rallying now but have some interesting events coming up later in the year…

Thanks for the photo Andrew Humphrey

Clubman’s Rally in our Back Yard

Maramarua Forest 9th Sept

We’ve been plugging the conception of PCC running a CLUBMANS rally. We’d had a big meeting back in 2020 with big dreams of this event. Covid put a stop to the event progression at that time, BUT it’s back! The organisers are a flurry, there’s a lot to do.

Admittedly, it’s been a while since the clubs last clubman’s rally. This is the pinnacle though and we’re in boots and all. This is kind of a big deal!

The route is looking good, the finer details are falling into place. We are finalizing all the details and reaching for the megaphone ready for formal announcements.

The Club is incredibly excited at the prospect of delivering this event, although the organizers may admit the stress levels are running slightly higher at present.

It’s going to be our highlight of 23′.

Listed boldly as the next kid off the block on the NIRS website, big breath in, we can do this!

The date for the rally is 9th September so lock and load that date and keep posted for communications. We were a little bit nervous with the announcement of the Daybreaker Rally being held shortly after our event, on 23 Sept. Two rallies in one month, pfftt better. Serious contenders now have the opportunity to enjoy the spoils of Maramarua, a shakedown, then into Daybreaker, nice!

We’re working our …. differentials… off to make this clubman’s event happen, so all members, we call on you to support our event and bring your steeds out or your volunteer hats. The success of this event falls on the organizer’s ability to deliver an exceptional day for its competitors, also we need the numbers to contribute to it being a success.

Don’t think about it, just sign up when entries are open and share this day with us.

We want to support the push to bring clubman’s rallies back to the north. The intermediary level from rally sprint to national level is on the doorstep, let’s take rallying into the future and get cars out of sheds.

Last newsletter, we added a button for people to express interest to HELP US. Point A didn’t quite connect with point B and I received a few emails back with strange computer lingo, no comprende…

Let’s give this another go.

CLICK HERE, SIGN UP to support us.

I’m waiting poised for your emails. We need every mighty volunteer to come forward to conquer this quest!!!!

NOW .. let go right back to 1995, where Pukekohe put on a rally. The footage is old, but the grunt is real. This footage put forward by Stumpy Holmes in recognition of Rodney Atchinson, who features in this compilation.

MSNZ’s New Platform is Here

The MotorSport Online / Sporty project change over date is in motion. July 6th is when the new platform is ready to go.

Sit tight for now, when the new platform is ready to go, you’ll get an email with your username and a link to set a password and activate your account. 

MSNZ has launched a dedicated support website, support.motorsport.org.nz, which will be populated with on-demand videos and quick guides for all aspects of the system upon launch. 

The MotorSport New Zealand team will also be available to help users every step of the way with any guidance they may need to help them transition to the new MotorSport Online platform.

If you have any questions at all relating to the new MotorSport Online platform, please contact Jordie Peters, Development & Marketing Executive, via jordie@motorsport.org.nz or 027 479 1510.

MSNZ Online Sporty Support Article

Competitor Information at Your Fingertips

A competitor resources page is now available on MSNZ containing important information.

Check out the Competitor Resources page under the “Sporting” menu on the MSNZ website.

Officials Training Courses

Training courses for new Scrutineers, CROs and Clerks of the Course. 

held online via the MotorSport New Zealand Training Hub, an online platform that enables you to complete the training at your own pace, at a time and place that suits you over the duration of the course.

The online course is followed up with a ZOOM session with the Head of Department to reinforce the course material and answer questions and allow discussions.

All three courses will be held from 3-30 July 2023.

If you would like to take part in either of these training courses, please contact Aaron Johnston on aaron@motorsport.org.nz 

Handy MSNZ Safety Tip

MSNZ have come across several helmets at rallies where the helmet is cracked around the microphone boom. 

This part of the helmet is not a carrying handle. You should not carry your helmet or hand it in the car from the mic boom. Please ensure undue pressure is not put on this area to avoid cracking and invalidating your helmet.

If a helmet is cracked, it is no longer useable and will be rejected during Safety Audits.

See below a couple of recent examples.

Knowledge Corner

Selecting Heavy-Duty Engine Oil for Improved Fuel Efficiency and Performance

The EPA/NHTSA’s jointly issued GHG (Greenhouse Gas – CO2) Phase 2 Requirements in 2021 and these requirements will tighten in 2024 and 2027. These requirements reduce GHG by increasing fuel economy, thus burning less fuel, for medium and heavy-duty trucks. The Phase 2 requirements also tighten NOX (Nitrogen Oxides) limits, which should help reduce smog. The Phase 2 requirements will not only improve the energy efficiency of the nation’s fleets but will also reduce petroleum consumption in the United States, lower greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

One way engine manufacturers are striving to meet the Phase 2 fuel economy requirements is through the strategic selection of engine oil viscosity grades. The harder your engine works, the more fuel it burns to compensate for the energy lost through heat and friction. Furthermore, as an engine works harder, it’s increasingly susceptible to wear and overheating, which can affect engine performance over time. The right oil will reduce friction in the engine by optimally lubricating contact points so components don’t require as much energy to run smoothly. The result is improved fuel economy and a protected engine, which can save a company major costs in the long haul.

Factors for Engine Oil Selection Heavy-duty engine oils need to perform at increasingly higher levels to meet evolving demands. Today’s engines are lighter and smaller than they’ve ever been, yet they produce more horsepower and are often subjected to longer drive times and heavier loads. At the same time, operators expect them to work harder and last longer with less maintenance.

When selecting an engine oil that promotes high performance and fuel efficiency, there are several elements to consider, including oil viscosity, formulation, performance classification credentials, application, and the driving environment. If we properly consider these factors, we can choose the correct engine oil to help engines run longer and more efficiently, which can help lower costs. Viscosity Viscosity is a measure of a fluid’s resistance to flow – in other words, it’s a measure of a fluid’s thickness or its resistance to objects passing through it.

The higher the viscosity, the thicker the fluid. During operation, it takes less energy to pump low-viscosity oils than high-viscosity oils. Picture two swimmers racing each other, and one is swimming in water and the other is swimming in maple syrup. Which swimmer is going to expend more energy? The one swimming in the thicker fluid. When we consider engine fuel efficiency, lower-viscosity engine oils can have better pumpability and lower energy losses.

As the oil is pumped throughout the engine, more viscous (thicker) oils take more energy to pump. Viscosity is one of the most important factors to consider in engine oil selection. A viscosity that is too high requires more energy to flow and a viscosity that is too low can cause wear and friction. The heat from friction can contribute to oil oxidation, which can lead to varnish and sludge. The right viscosity will maintain an effective oil film between parts, but not too thick a film to cause excessive energy loss.

Engine Oil Formulation Engine oil is comprised of base oils and additives. Base oils constitute 70-90 percent of the total and can be mineral, synthetic or a blend of the two. Additives round out the remaining 10-30 percent and may include the following:

• Dispersants

• Detergents

• Anti-wear additives

• Friction modifiers

• Antioxidants

• Anti-foam additives

• Corrosion inhibitors

• Viscosity index improvers (polymers)

Engine oil works to lubricate engine parts, reduce friction, clean, cool and protect engine parts. Today, modern motor oils are a complex mixture of base oils and additive components designed to perform a variety of additional tasks including enhancing fuel efficiency, protecting the emissions system and providing engine protection across a wide range of temperatures. Engine oils require a well-balanced formulation. Over-treating with additives to address one area such as anti-wear performance can potentially cause another area such as corrosion protection to suffer. That is a major reason why after-treatment additives are not recommended since they can alter properly balanced engine oil chemistry.

Performance Classification Credentials The American Petroleum Institute (API) currently has two heavy-duty diesel engine oil performance categories, CK-4 oils, which are backwards compatible with previous API classifications such as CJ-4, CI-4, etc. and can be used in both newer and older engines, and FA-4 oils, which are typically for newer (2017 and later) engines, but can also be used in some older engines depending on the manufacturer. Both CK-4 and FA-4 oils have better oxidation protection and aeration resistance than previous generations of oil and FA-4 oils have lower High Temperature High Shear (HTHS) viscosity, which helps increase fuel efficiency. Besides API certification, various engine manufacturers offer approvals such as Cummins CES 20086/20087, Detroit Diesel DFS 93K222/93K223, Volvo/Mack/Renault VDS-4.5/EOS-4.5/RLD-3 and Ford WSS-M2C171-F1.

It’s always best to check your owner’s manual to determine the appropriate engine oil requirements. Most over-the-road (OTR) trucks are currently factory-filled with either CK-4 or FA-4 SAE 10W-30 engine oil, depending on the manufacturer. Off-road manufacturers tend to fill with either CK-4 SAE 10W-30 or 15W-40 engine oil. If recommended by the manufacturer, SAE 10W-30 engine oils can be used to save fuel in off-road applications. Application and Driving Environment Consider your application and driving environment when choosing an engine oil. OTR fleets may benefit from a fuel-efficient FA-4 SAE 10W-30 engine oil, while off-road equipment may need a CK-4 SAE 10W-30 or 15W-40. If you are looking to extend oil drain intervals (ODI), driving conditions like stop-and-go driving, driving on dusty, gravel or salty roads, driving in extreme temperatures or towing may necessitate a shorter drain interval. Engine manufacturers typically have several oil drain recommendations, usually based on the vehicle’s fuel economy in kilometer per Litre (KPL). OTR applications with high KPL usually have the longest ODI, while low KPL applications like heavy loads or stop-and-go driving have a shorter ODI. Always follow the engine manufacturer’s ODI guidelines and if looking to try and extend drain intervals, it is recommended to use oil analysis to monitor the condition of the oil between oil changes.

Benefits of Choosing the Right Engine Oil When application and environment are thoughtfully considered while choosing an engine oil, the result can be a cleaner engine operating efficiently. That is the key to unlocking major savings through engine protection and improved fuel efficiency. Although other measures can be done to improve fuel efficiency (maintain tire pressure, avoid excessive idling, etc.), switching to a lower-viscosity engine oil is one of the easiest tactics. If properly formulated, an engine oil can provide an average of 2-3 percent annual fuel cost savings, while helping to reduce emissions and maintaining the health of your engine.

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