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Outta the Gate

That’s a Wrap

Off the back of mammoth efforts by the Pukekohe Car Club committee and the greater volunteer base, Maramarua Rally was – a success! Also, the 50th anniversary of the first forest rally run by Auckland Car Club on September 9th, 1973, this was teed up to be an iconic rally return.

The dream has always been alive, the magnitude of the manpower and backing support needed to run this event was overshadowing until a collaborative focus and drive – or push, churned this into reality.

As a team, we can do things mighty. Every person who helped in this event is an absolute champion! Of course, all would like to complete, but the many volunteers that are needed to stich the organisational fabric is endless. The rally family and fanbase waiting in the wings, did us proud.

Event HQ, the Te Kauwhata Rugby Club and surrounding grounds, was a great setting, with touring moderate to neighbouring Maramarua Forest. Sun glistened as the day commenced, a glorious Spring morning to kick it all off, weather gods – check. It was all aligning until panic started setting in with no sign of a coffee cart and dangerously low caffeine levels.

Upon arrival, you wouldn’t have thought the pits could house the full field. Meticulous planning of aerial layouts had even accounted for ‘no park wet areas’, so service areas sprawled out and around and eyes were on rally clocks as the field hustled to depart service for SS1.

Rally sponsors were a driving force in the events success. Proudly sponsored by Winger Subaru Hamilton-Pukekohe, stage sponsors included Hawkeswood Civil, Generator Rental Services, Online Civil Contractors, HMI Ltd, HHD and Goodyear Autocare Waiuku.

Sponsors BNT Pukekohe, Pukekohe Hiab Transport, Creation Space Ltd, South Auckland Motors and iSign It Signwriters, all backing the event.

Neil Allport, Dylan Turner and Horsepower Inn, contributing valuable prizes back to competitors.

The North Island Rally Series driving this clubman’s movement and helping string together these iconic rallies.

It was great to see 0 car Stumpy Holmes bringing our beloved Rodney to the event to get involved, he’s still very much a part of our events.

You’d almost hold your breath as the field departed. There were still sceptics in the wings and those convinced the forest was still too rough. Perhaps after SS1 the jury was still out, but subsequent stages quashed that, reminding people why the forest is the perfect place for it. Of course, the seasoned professional’s, i.e., our staple organisers who navigate event to event, wouldn’t bat an eyelid at the low key event. Club officials held their stomachs in their mouths, watching, monitoring, hoping this big shebang pulled off.

The first winners of the day were Barry and Nikki Gibbs winning the accommodation package donated by Chris Alexander and Kim Raggett from Horsepower Inn in Te Kauwhata.

Club frontrunner Ben Hunt would be on the charge looking to dominate in this local event. SS1 McRobbies, the shorter of the days stages, tested suspensions, I mean rallies cant always be fast, flowing and smooth. The ChrisSport stage description to kick it all off – slippery and lots of rocks.

Hunt laid out a fastest speed in stage clocking 156kms in the 3.96km distance, there were also those who had intimate knowledge of the interior infrastructures and made their presence felt. For all still pieced together ready for SS2 Ridge Road, the test of endurance would begin. At 17.15kms, this stage would start unravelling competitors, some falling victim to offs and mechanicals very early in the day.

Horan took the fastest SS2 stage time and Evans positioned himself 3rd in stage, the RX7 hungry for forest roads. Peter Farrell suffered a broken rear suspension in his RX7, eventually returning to lunchtime service missing a wheel. For most, the enjoyment factor returned and the roads were improving. Forest regulars Noel Miller and Dale Perry were getting the business done and Steve Goodare even enjoying the fast paced speeds clocking up 4th fastest top speed at 159kms.

By 11:36am, SS3 West Block had commenced on time. At 14kms, this stage offered good distance and familiarity, it also logged a string of competitors having more issues. Team Greer/Walker stopping at 100m, Miller/Scott stopped at 8.7kms, team Goodare stopped at 11.6kms and team Andrews stopped at 12.3kms, amongst others. Goodare citing ‘Maramarua rocks strike again’ with a bent steering arm, didn’t have a spares, so forced to call it a day.

Phil Campbell was having a good stoush with Hunt and Horan for a top finish in this stage. Amy Keighley was also mounting a good claw back after receiving a time penalty departing service in the morning with a battery terminal snapping off the battery.

Lunchtime service saw the service park bustling. A humble bbq provided by the local Te Kauwhata Junior Rugby Club hung the air to snag the appetites of all. It’s a great opportunity to support local, working with local clubs during these events. The event may be a little obtrusive to some, but they are generally well received in rural towns. Adding in welcoming faces to interact with people, helps spread the community rally spirit.

SS4, the reverse run McRobbies leg was run post lunch time service, however rallysafe issues resulted in a stage cancellation with no stage times recorded. Disappointing, as everything was progressing so well, you take it on the chin as you get these things on the big jobs. Fortunately, being a shorter stage distance, it wasn’t missed too much and competitors went on seamlessly to attack SS5, the re-run of Ridge Road.

Starting at 1:50pm, just slightly behind schedule, 0 car Stumpy Holmes had some misfortune in stage loosing a wheel, suffering permanent damage, organisers having to deploy Plan B fairly promptly.

Rick Aubin and John Whooley re-joined, Rick unfortunately stopping again in stage at the 6km mark. Hunt had reaffirmed a pole position on this stage and Horan and Campbell were still fighting the fight. Perry and Liston also established themselves in the top 10 and NIRS sponsor Clinton Cunningham launched a good solid attack on the frontrunners but was pipped by forest legend Charlie Evans to get into the top 4.

Event stage sponsor and club member Nick Speedy was having an excellent day with Taylor Speedy sitting as co-pilot. Quite the slight to watch, we enjoyed the stage to stage progress the Subaru Impreza was making, with it’s impressive stance with large rear wing. Miller and Perry were titt for tatt with an equal 153km fastest stage time, Perry ending with the stage overall place advantage.

Final SS6 was the re-run of West Block, the competition now sitting at 30. With the cat now almost in the bag and the horizon finish nearing, a big day of fun and games, battles, moments and victories inched closer to end. Concentration imperative, small lapses of focus can lead to ultimate disaster. Horan experiencing just that as he went wide at the 900m mark and beached on logs. He did get going again however stopped at 4.9kms with a damaged radiator.

Competitors made their way back from the forest, from a job well done, ready for a cold beer and hot chips.

Congratulations to event winners Ben Hunt & Tony Rawstorn and to Phil Campbell & Brianna Little and to Charlie Evans & Dayna Kiekebosch, rounding out 2nd and 3rd placings.

Charlie Evans also winning the Winmax Brakes Drive of the Day trophy and a set of Hooiser rally tyres donated by Dylan Turner, just to ice that cake a bit more.

The lodgings of the Te Kauwhata Rugby Club were in good abode from the previous nights hosts, the North Waikato Young Farmers TK Bark Up, where only a broken window and disorientated young farmer arriving in the morning looking for lost car keys gave indication to a big night, the night before.

The club was an absolute gem for space, outlay, bar & kitchen facilities and general overall venue, to house the days proceedings, then accommodate the masses at the end of the day.

The bar line was long, the conversation was good, the outlay was a room of awesome people celebrating after a big days racing. Organisers, competitors, volunteers, spectators, whatever piece of the puzzle you were, it was humbling to sit down and engage in a humorous off-the-cuff prizegiving mc’d by club president Noel Miller. We like to do it together then sit down and have a bit of laugh afterwards, it’s casual, it’s fun, and it’s light.

Grant Liston walked away with the Neil Allport voucher towards some new overalls, great prize, and spot prizes made their way around to numerous recipients, these all donated by our generous sponsors.

As a club, we cannot thank you enough, all of you, every single person who contributed to this event to make it as special as it was. The experience and calibre of all our favourite event organisers and volunteers, the services – just everyone, hats off to you.

Watch this space friends, as discussions have ensued about another, great rally adventure.


Well, where do we I start!!

Life is somewhat quieter now the rally is over, the phone’s stopped ringing, emails have reduced to a dull roar, the housework’s all caught up! I’ve even had time to join Colin on his hikes and reflect on the first rally the club has run in the past 17 years.

Firstly, I’d like to thank every one of you who came out to help on the Rally.  We seriously could not have pulled this massive event off without you.  We had over 100 volunteers out on the stages/around pits and in control all helping run the event. I hope the competitors appreciate what you have all done for them, you are our unsung hero’s!!

We’ve had some time to digest what was accomplished and while we had a few minor hiccups (cough cough Stumpy losing a wheel in Zero Car) it wasn’t due to poor planning. 

The feat of pulling off an event that nobody on the committee had done before and all within a 3 month timeframe is something the Rally committee should be proud of.  My hat goes off to Jeremy, his meticulous planning and lists kept us all on track.

Brendan McFarlane kindly popped a Matchbox Stratos car in the ranger, which was a lovely surprise after a hectic day.

Everyone’s question has been “will you do another one next year?” If you’d asked me straight after the event I’d have said “NO” but like childbirth you start to forget the pain, and I’m slowly warming to the idea.  My proviso is if we are to do one the planning needs to start now!

We now change focus to planning speed weekend and what events we want to do next year.  I’m looking forward to a low-key speed weekend this year where the emphasis will be on having fun and we may even try and twist some of the locals to come along and have a go at the Motorkhana/Autocross on the Saturday.

We also will be having our AGM coming up, if you’d like to join the committee and have a say, lend a hand please think about it, many hands make light work and we always try to do everything with a smile and laugh.

Until next time



BNT Pukekohe Club Account

BNT Pukekohe, one of our valuable sponsors from Maramarua Rally, is behind the club and looking to provide further discounts to the member base.

There’s a dedicated club account for members to use to receive further discounts on products.

Pukekohe Car Club Account No. 58019

Validate account usage by showing your membership card

AGM 1st November

It rolls around faster than subscription time.

The annual wrap up, the financial snapshot, the night were we need our members to come forth and attend. The club relies on its membership base to deliver the current years summary, appoint the committee for the proceeding year and to gain feedback from members to help paint the palate and aid with directional guidance to transition into another years worth of planned events.

There are exciting things in the pipelines but without your voice, your feedback and your support, the committee plans ahead accordingly.

Jot down some agenda points and come along to be a part of the discussions. Add to the mix and join the committee where you can add value with event planning and management, support our existing committee members and even deploy younger generations, to support the drive of rallying into the future.

Committee positions involve an array of different tasks; communication and event management, marketing/social media and digital management-website, PR-dealing with the membership base and supporting the rapport with members, sponsorship opportunities-communications and prospective external support options, many of the skills required in running a successful motorsport club.

Daylight savings has brought the light and we’ll have the barbie churning, so come along to the upgraded clubnight that is AGM and let’s look towards a prosperous 2024.

SPEED WEEKEND 18th & 19th November

With a slightly different format, PCC are looking to do an autocross and motorkhana on Saturday 18th, followed by our Limestone Downs gravel hillclimb on Sunday 19th November.

The gravel hillclimb will count as a round of the Interclub Hillclimb Series – a series run between the clubs.

This event is gaining in popularity, this gravel course absolutely delivering on what drivers want from hillclimb course characteristics.

Event planning is developing and we once again, look forward to delivering a full weekends event format.

‘Hotel de Limestone’ opens its doors again to a Footrot Flats outlat where competitors are welcomed to stay on Saturday night. Yarns, bbq and good times are had, then Sundays event is right at your doorstep.

More details to come, keep an eye on faceBook.



The transition to the digital platform hasn’t gone without its challenges, but ongoing platform navigation and using this technology frequently is key to making it work for you.

Make sure you can:

  1. Log on
  2. Check your profile and ensure it all looks correct
  3. Have your car added
  4. Practice entering events online

Nifty trick – if your going to an event that may not have internet and you rely on accessing your Club license and Competition license digitally, make sure you log on and take a screen shot of your licenses and save them down to photos before the internet disappears, this will create ease at documentation.

Or you can drive down the road holding your phone to the air cursing at no reception.

Upon competition license renewal time, you can also request for a license to be posted to you, this will have a QR code printed, so event organisers can also scan your license easily at events.

Are you prepared to work with technology to make it work for you?

Work smarter not harder people.

On the flip side, Motorsport NZ has provided numerous webinars and training sessions to help club organisers toggle technology on, they provide the same level of support for competitors so people PLEASE, take the time to skill up, watch the help articles instead of throwing out the instruction manual at Christmas time thinking you know exactly how to assemble that unit. A quick tour will save you the hassle.

Below is a link to valuable instructional videos on exactly how to… take the time, follow along.

My MotorSport NZ – Competitor Tutorials

Rally New Zealand Co-Drivers Academy 2023

On November 3-5, the Co-Drivers Academy hosted by Alex and Rhianon Gelsomino from OzRallyPro, returns to New Zealand.

Six successful co-drivers will be selected, to learn about all aspects of co-driving at a professional level.

This is the 4th academy scheduled in NZ from the first academy being held back in 2017. There have been 18 NZ co-drivers trained through the programme with multiple success stories that have followed.

Applicants must have experience with safety/pace notes and ideally at an NZRC or higher level.

Applications close on the 6-October, to apply send a PDF CV of your current co-driving experience along with a covering letter detailing your future goals why you should be considered for the Academy.

Applications to be sent via email to “The Chairman Rally of New Zealand”  info@rallynz.org.nz

Remember to get your motorsport exercise in

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