Well done Aucklanders and surrounding regions, its been a long slog and we’re all still relatively sane. Pat yourselves on the back, you’ve done good.
Spring is kicking off rays of sunshine and the lead up into Summer. If I listen carefully, I can almost hear race car engines revving away far yonder, my ears are burning, its hard I’ve got to admit. Everyone’s fairly upbeat though, get lemons – make lemonade they say.
The level system to change to a traffic light system. Auckland is at alert level 3 step 2. Parts of Waikato remain at level 3 step 2 and upper Northland is at alert level 2 with the rest of NZ.
As confusing as it gets, common sense prevails, follow the ‘simple’ traffic light system
RED = Stop
ORANGE = Don’t risk it, slow down with caution
GREEN = Rev it up and drop the clutch
The Adventures of “Inky” 2021, owned by Suzie & Craig Tickle.
Well Craig and I have been having a blast travelling the country with “Inky” this year. We decided since we couldn’t go on any major overseas holiday why not holiday in our own back yard and have a few skids while we are at it. So with that in mind we decided to compete in the Central Region Sprint Series that we keep seeing so much about in the “A Little Bit Sideways” magazine.
We managed to twist fellow committee members Brian & Frances’s arm to join us and we had a blast at Hawkes Bay Car Club’s, Tangoio Road. The first round of the series and was run in the opposite direction to how they have run in the past. We arrived at Tangoio Road bright and early but were already perspiring with the heat as the sunny Hawkes Bay really turned it on and there was hardly any breeze to help cool you down. We rock up to drivers briefing expecting to get reece only to be told, “we’ve decided as we have so many entries and we’re running a bit late we will forgo the reece and go straight into practice.” Brian & Craig looked at each other and raised an eyebrow this is a tad different to how we do things up north but hey lets get into it. So off we go with Craig going yeah I’ll take it easy so I could write some notes… yeah well that didn’t happen and he was off with a hiss and a roar with me frantically scribbling down notes as we went. I was so glad for all our practice with the safety notes we get in the Northern Rallysprint Series. Unfortunately the event was cut short with a competitor going off and setting the grass on fire. The organisers got it under control quickly, but decided to call the fire brigade in to wet the area down. The area had a fire rip through a few years ago and didn’t want to be the cause of a repeat to which I can totally understand, and to be honest with the heat of the day we were only too glad to get out of our overalls and down to the pub!!
Our next event was our own clubs round of the Northern Rallysprint Series – Bothwell Loop where Brian heard a strange sound coming from the engine. Fortunately he pulled the pin when he did and didn’t do any major damage. When he dismantled the engine he found his crank had cracked and was only just holding together.
So without our partners in crime, we set of to the mighty Manawatu District for round two at Pararorangi Road just out of Fielding which hadn’t been used for a number of years and what a cool bit of road it was too. We’d seen some video footage and thought it was going to be quite open and steep and not suit our car at all, but it had a really good mix of tight and technical along with fast sweeping corners. We were placed in the first group as there is no return road and I don’t think Craig and I have crossed the finish line and burst into such hysterical laughter before, it was so slippery and the car was all over the place but damn it was fun!!!
Next round saw us heading down to The River City – Whanganui for a day/night event in Fordell. We were quite excited for this event as it’s been years since Craig has done a night stage and I’ve never done one but this wasn’t to be our event. We’d had brake issues at the autocross prior and Craig swapped out both master cylinders with new ones and they bled up okay at home but under reece he felt the pedal getting softer and on practice he had no confidence in them at all, and this road is not one you mess with, super fast, lots of blind brows and unfortunately sun strike as well!!! We tried bleeding the brakes but what little brakes we did have now turned into no brakes at all, so we took her back to our B&B, the beautiful Fordell Homestead just down the road and returned as spectators. This unfortunately meant we would miss the Northern Rallysprint Series, Piakonui Road the next weekend as well.
Round 4 – Dannevirke Car Clubs, Tararua Road and Brian & Frances were planning on coming down but this round had a limit of 45 entries and it was full in only a few hours. Having been down there we can now see why!! What an awesome bit of road, a bit of everything. Video footage makes it look more open than it is, but it’s an absolute blast. The day started off drizzly, a first for this series and this event was the first real tiger test for the new quicker steering box, and what a difference no slop in the box makes!!! To me it felt like Craig was chucking the car around way more than he usually does which was lots of fun, but it turned out our front brakes were still causing us issues so the old girl was getting tail happy. Got to the end of run 2 and decided to bleed them some more and there is a damn air leak somewhere!!! Managed to get a reasonably good pedal back so decided to do Run 3. At the start of the run Craig was super confident as the pedal felt the best it had all day and boy did he go for it!!! I will admit to sitting there thinking WTF as I’m calling the notes but just got on with the job at hand as he was flying and it felt really good. Things started to unravel about 3/4 of the way through when the pedal started to go again and coming in a bit too hot on one corner had the butt cheeks clenched but he managed to wrangle her back in, thank goodness for the quick box otherwise it might of been a different story. Then some sun strike on a couple of corners and a missed gear on the last corner loosing us some much needed speed going onto the fast straight to the finish. But having said that still our fastest run of the day!!
Our final round for this series was to be with Levin Car Club and we were looking forward to having our partners in crime joining us. But again it was not to be due to the weather. Huge rain fall in the Manawatu saw the Council pull the pin on the Club using the road which was a real shame. But the guys running the series sorted us out an alternate event. Now this event didn’t count for points and saw us joining in with the Manawatu Car Clubs open day at the Chris Amon circuit in Manfield. Craig and I decided to take the Stratos down for her first real spin. With Craig full of nerves not really knowing how she was going to handle and the track being a bit damp we set off. Under the reece run I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in the car with him, track is so different to what we normally do and we don’t do alot of Tarmac it just all seemed too fast! But once the helmet when on and I was strapped down fully it wasn’t as bad as first thought. We certainly didn’t set any lap records, but you can’t beat a high revving V6 for the noise and when the MiVEC kicks in, it’s unreal! Craig had a grin from ear to ear at the end of the day and she only had a couple of half hearted attempts at trying to send us into a spin.
It’s been lots of fun meeting a different group of like minded people and seeing what different array of vehicles are out there, so many BMW’s!!! Huge thanks to all the clubs and their volunteers for putting on such awesome events and Peter Weir who does an outstanding job promoting and helping run the series absolute hats off to that man!!
Will we do it again next year??? Hell yeah if we still have a dog sitter at home!!
The COVID-19 Protection Framework is being rolled out and implemented. MotorSport NZ continue to observe mandates or guidelines put in place by NZ Government, the ‘Back in Motion’ plan evolving according. MotorSport NZ continue to ask questions to provide feedback to the Member Clubs, volunteers & competitors to seek guidance on how the framework will affect motorsport events in future.
As the Government makes further announcements, MotorSport NZ will continue to communicate how motorsport can operate under each set of restrictions.
Pukekohe Car Club Committee meet monthly via Zoom to discuss pressing issues, amongst other things.
Digital meetings have now taken precedence our favored clubroom meetings, however all the usual banter remains.
We envy the southern clubs able to run events and look forward to gaining clarity on when Auckland and the greater regions can get out and amongst it.
“No worries, she’ll be right” –The Urban List, 75 of the Most New Zealand Sayings Ever, #55
November is traditionally our Speed Weekend where we descend on the Port hills to burn rubber, compare results from previous years, discuss car set ups and talk all things cars. This is still not off the cards and has a new date that requires more waiting time.
Mt Smart Stadium was teed up for December and was looking to offer another day of autocross fun but it too fallen victim to this ongoing Parc Ferme.
It’s been great to see the bunch of motorsport enthusiasts that attend our motorkhanas and autocross events, not necessarily the same people we see out at hillclimbs, rallysprints and rallies. You guys have really shaped the way we conduct these events, they’ve evolved and can almost run out anyone’s back yard now.
Christmas is just around the corner and there are still lots of things left on the list to do.
The focus shifts now is on stocking up the fridges ready for the festive season, the leadup to the annual festivities not quite the same as it usually is, the show however must go on.
Shop local and stock up on all the necessary Christmas supplies, for the Christmas table, for your significant other, for the family, for the kids and for the race car.
Maybe if we’re all good, we can go out for a skid soon.
I don’t think there is ever enough thank you’s that go back to the volunteers for their attendance at events. They are an imperative part in running any event.
You can find them nestled in precarious places, they literally ‘go bush’ sometimes to man posts, they do it for the passion and form the important structure in running any club level motorsport event.
If you not a seasoned professional, on the ground training is provided where you learn the base fundamentals, experience comes from time at numerous events.
Volunteers man the marshal points, the start and finish lines, pits area, radio comms, timing admin and general admin, sweepers, recovery vehicles, officials, they are everywhere!
They give their time at events, some have been volunteering for decades.
Volunteering and marshalling at motorsport events is for anybody who is interested in and wants to be involved in Motorsport. You don’t need any special skills or qualifications to start, just common sense and a reasonably developed sense of self-preservation.
WITHOUT VOLUNTEERS, THERE WOULDN’T BE MOTORSPORT – MotorSport NZ
Hats off to you, you do a bloody good job!
Xmas is looming and we have caps available for purchase that would make for the perfect gift
Order yours now – limited stocks