Reports

November 2006:
The cars have arrived in Christchurch and are unloaded by the crew of Upper Classics. New Zealand customs have carefully inspected the cars for any bit of seemen, sand, agricultural left overs, just to make sure that the rally is not going to poisen the island. We now need to get the cars out of customs, the competitors in rally mood and off we go.

Leg 1 Christchurch – Mount Cook 

After the traditional welcome by the Maori’s the Kiwi Trial has started. The town crier amused the public and competitors with his announcements of the cars and crews. Almost immediately after the start Patrick Daniels Lagonda played up and had to be brought back to Upper Classics to see why the overheated engine could not be cured along side the road.
Wim and Joep de Ruiter also had their bit of problems. The fuel filter was totally full with all sorts of dirt blocking the fuel inlet.
The first day of the rally could not start any better. Blue sky’s high temperature and a hard dry wind blowing from Australia set the right sort of atmosphere. The drive to mount Cook is hard to describe. Stunning awesome, fabulous were the words heard by all the competitors.
The leaders on day one in the Club Class are German crew Pit Lindner with Alexander Buck and the Trial Class is led by the Roberts.
Much to the regret of all crews Richard Fenhalls and Heather Milne Taylors car did arrive in Christchurch but the crew could not make it to the start due to business matters.

Leg 2 Mount Cook – Wanaka. 

The morning could be used to go sightseeing. Hiking on the glaciers fo Mount Cook or a helicopter tour onto the mountain. The helicopter ride was a little to rough for our film crew. We will se how the pictures look later on. So the rally today started immediately after the lunch. Beforee lunch they had time to go out and walk a glacier or see the lakes. The beach boys, Joanthan Turner and Adam Hartley wanted to drive the Bentley to the edge of the lake and got stuck on the beach. There was no help at hand so they had to shovel and push the 2.5 ton car obviously witout result. A local 4 wheeel drive helped them out, they raced to the start and just made it in there minute. A beautiful regularity with lots of timing points kept the navigators busy. And best result for the day was only 24 seconds for equipe 16 Harvey and Jan du Cros in the Healey. Also extremely good is the result for Nigel and Christine Gray in the thr 1925 Vauxhall.
The best Club class result is for Edwin and Petra Hatenboer in the Ferrari with only 45 seconds.

Leg 3 Wanaka – Dunedin. 

After a beautiful route through winding hills in the morning, a few cars missed the junction that mapman Mark Appleton had in mind to bring the rally on gravel roads to the coffee stop in Barksley a small town where in our minds the cowboys and Indians could have chased each other on their horses though “main street”. Herman de Jong and Vera Dufay in their Bentley, who also missed the junction, had a short encounter with a motorist who wanted to point out the right track to them but couldn’t hold his cycle upright while he was telling them where to go. He broke of his mirror and Herman jumped out to rescue this man’s properties. They came last at the control, where a little late with but had a great story.
After that the regularity for only the trial class brought a lot of confusion amongst the navigators. Follow the shortest route between the letters A to B to C to D etc. Seems simple but for most crews it was not. The route after lunch, over one of the last gravel passes in the world without any guard rail made quite a few of the crews shiver. Much to everybody’s surprise it was the 1925 Vauxhall taking the honours of the day. Perfect navigation work from Christine Gray brought them to the top of the leader board. Also Nicholas Pryor and Lesley Stockwell were doing very well ( much to there own surprise ) The Jaguar however did not quite cooperate. A part of the frontwheel suspension needs work from Nicholas himself and the ever present Upper Classic Mechanics. Back in the group is Daniel Patrick and his nephew Philip Robinson with his Lagonda. The recently bought radiator turned out to be full of rust and other materials so it needed a thorough cleaning operation. Anyway Daniel is happy motoring again. Boulder beach was the last TC of the day. Here everybody took the opportunity for a photo shoot of the incredible boulders that seem to grow out of the sands on the beach.
Again the route is difficult to describe, again the words stunning are heard continuously. Pit Lindner is still leading the Club class and it goes without saying that the German is  very proud of himself. Another victim of mechanical problems is Arthur Reddering’s Jaguar E type. For unknown reasons the front brakes are blocking, making the car immobile. Another Job for the Upper Classic boys. Gerard Mestemaker and Jan ten Hoor were best on the regularity,  Jan arrived in the hotel to check in to the room  but forgot to hand in his timecard so the good 30 second result was thrown away and became a 17 minute penalty instead.

Leg 4 Dunedin Invergargill

On the parking lot during the lunch at the Lanarch castle above the harbour of Dunedin New Zealanders were looking at the car of Pit Lindner. They decided that is once was a taxi in Germany, that still had the taximeters inside. A mistake by the till now so perfect Christine Gray made them drop quite a few places. New leaders now are Nicholas Pryor and Lesley Stockwell. Gerhard Mestemaker had a bet going on were he said he would be the best in the regularities today and so he was. Stephen Williams MG managed to pick up a big nail in a tyre and wrote of one wheel, while Arthur Redderings Jaguar got   repaired by the upper Classics boys. So all cars are back in the rally. 

Leg 5  Invergargill – Te Anau. 

In Dunedin some of the competors took advantage of the very rare chance to fly out to the icebergs which can even be seen from the coast.
Close to Invergargill is situated the most southern race circuit. Her competitors have to drive 3 full laps and an outlap. The idea is to do all laps in exactly the same time going not slower than 55 and not faster than 90 kph average. Stunning to see how difficult it is to make sure that you drive over the start and finish line 5 times. Not less than 7 crews managed to get this wrong, resulting in a 3 minute extra penalty. On the other hand three crews, Pit Lindner, Nigel and Christine Gray and Cherian and Stephan Roberts managed a 1 second penalty. The leader board shows Lindner/Buck still leading the Club Class whereas  the Trial Class is led with a 1 minute 14 second gap by Nicolas Pryor and Lesley Stockwell over Stephan and Joyce Hall.
The started with heavy rain this time. Just before the circuit Frank Leeman hear nasty rattles coming form his rear axle. One of the bolds holding the wheel turned out to be completely loose. The Upper Classic boys decided to check all wheels and found all nuts being loose. Also Terry Maunder had his share of problems. The wheel driving the fanbeld and the dynamo of the MG engine had come off. Since most of the route to the hotel is downhill Terry decided to carry on and made it to the hotel. Tomorrow is a day reserved for sightseeing in the Milford Sounds. This is said to be the most beautiful part of the islands. We will report on it tomorrow.

 

Leg 6 Te Anau – Queenstown.

The first regularity of the day confused the leaders of the club class completely. A two minute timing mistake means that at lunch time they have lost the lead. John and Jean Noble are now leading but there is another regularity to come. Dick Burge found a farmer that told him he was the first car he saw this weak and looked at the tulips to help him out. Well he never something like that so he said, sorry mate you are lost. Best result for the day went to Gerard Mestemaker and Jan ter Hoor in the Jaguar. The second regularity did not confuse the leaders in either Class. So winners of Sector one are Jean and John Noble in Club Class and Nicholas Pryor and Lesley Stockwell in Trial Class. Herman de Jong and Vera Dufay’s Bentley stopped only 10 kilometres before arriving at the finish. The Upper Classic service team detected fuel filters that are blocked so the car will get attention during the first rest day in Queenstown. Time to reshape the cars, go bungee jumping, jet skiing or visit the Lord of the Rings film site.

 

Leg 7 Is the Rest day in Queenstown.

Queenstown – Frans Josef Glacier.
Rafting, power boating, helicopter flights, quad drives and mountainbiking from the top down were just a few of the many possibilities that the crews had on the rest day in Queenstown. Willem Vermeulen and Jan ter Hoor tested the 9 degrees warm water during the raft trip.

The marshals were on a shootover powerboat, got soaking wet and were very exited when they came back. Part of the group went on a Lord of the Rings 4x4 tour to explore the sights that were shot of this beautiful movie in Nw.Zealand.
A quiet day today. A wonderful ride through landscapes you cannot believe so beautiful along lakes, winding roads through rainforests and along high cliffs at the sea. The few time controls were merely there to provide the competitors of some coffee and food, however 2 crews hasted out of the time control in the town called Haast and gained 6 and 12 minutes each. The sun decided to be out today and a lot of very nice pictures were made today.
David and Rachel Blacklidge had a little coming together with a nice local lady driving out of Queenstown. The little Yellow Lotus Elan is damaged in the back of the car but can still luckily proceed.
Everybody save and sound at the Frans Josef Glacier. Tomorrow is another day of competition and the second day of the second week.

Leg 9 Queenstown – Frans Josef Glacier.


Rafting, power boating, helicopter flights, quad drives and mountainbiking from the top down were just a few of the many possibilities that the crews had on the rest day in Queenstown. Willem Vermeulen and Jan ter Hoor tested the 9 degrees warm water during the raft trip.

The marshals were on a shootover powerboat, got soaking wet and were very exited when they came back. Part of the group went on a Lord of the Rings 4x4 tour to explore the sights that were shot of this beautiful movie in Nw.Zealand.
A quiet day today. A wonderful ride through landscapes you cannot believe so beautiful along lakes, winding roads through rainforests and along high cliffs at the sea. The few time controls were merely there to provide the competitors of some coffee and food, however 2 crews hasted out of the time control in the town called Haast and gained 6 and 12 minutes each. The sun decided to be out today and a lot of very nice pictures were made today.
David and Rachel Blacklidge had a little coming together with a nice local lady driving out of Queenstown. The little Yellow Lotus Elan is damaged in the back of the car but can still luckily proceed.
Everybody save and sound at the Frans Josef Glacier. Tomorrow is another day of competition and the second day of the second week.

Leg 10 Greymouth – Nelson 

The drive today along the coastline of the Tasman Sea was probably the most scenic drive the competitors ever drove. The first time control gave the crews plenty of time to visit the famous pancake rocks and its blowholes. But the competition has to go on and the field had to conquer two regularities today. There were 4 water fords that needed inspection first. Two weeks ago during the last route inspection the water in the fords was to high. Even our 4 wheel drive marshal vehicles could not pass, but today, thanks to the lovely weather in the last week the fords were passable. Well for most crews that is. Two Jaguars from Arthur Reddering and the XK from Tony and Monique Goedmakers managed to stop right in the middle of the first ford. Competitors and marshals saved them both. That was great for the camera crews of course and a good laugh from the competitors.
The second regularity today was very straight forward, great for the drivers, who were sliding the cars around the numerous bends. The day ended in a beautiful car museum at the entrance of Nelson. For the lady there was a exquisite display of extravagant evening dresses.
The Club Class is won again today by Pit Lindner / Alexander Buck with on a firm second place Gerard Mestemaker and Jan ter Hoor.

The Trial Class has fierce competition, at this moment we have three crews leading. Richard Clark/ Ann Clark  Wim De Ruyter / Joep De Ruyter and Cherian and Stephan Roberts all have 23 seconds penalties.
For full results go to the result page.

Leg 11 Nelson – Abel Tasman Park.

Today the frontrunners have separated each other from another. Briljant timing from the youngest co driver in the event Joep de Ruyter has resulted in the first overall in Trial Class for the father and sun team. Bad luck today for Hudson team Willemse / Straathof. The drive shaft bolts have come loose and the bad sounds made the car come to a standstill. The ever present mechanics of Upper Classics, Dave and Tim, went right on the job and Cees could put the Hudson in motion again.
The free afternoon was by most crews used to take a water taxi into the park. One of the boats met an enormous amount of Dolphins, which started playing behind the boat as soon as some speed was build up. An unforgettable sight. Mark Grenside and Kirsten McDonnel always do something different so today they decided to go skydiving for a change. The sad news is that Herman de Jong has a serious problem with his back and cannot drive for a couple of days. He is transported to Hanmer Springs were the rally will arrive in a couple of days. We hope that he is better by than.

Leg 12 Nelson – Blenheim

Blenheim is the centre of the wine production in New Zealand, but before we go there the rally visits a lunch halt in St Omer. A 65 kilometer drive on the most winding roads of New Zealand of which 25 kilometer on gravel, so an ideal regularity run. The 5 timing points made sure there were plenty of penaltys to be collected. Best of the day were Roberts / Roberts in the Merc. Only 10 seconds for the day is quite impressive. But also Ellen en Willem Vermeulen are doing extremely well with 16 seconds they are second best for today. In the Club Class Pit Lindner and Alexander Buck continue there best of day results. The car however is showing brake problems. In fact Pit was loosing all brake pressure. They hope to fix it overnight. Terry Maunders Mg is also showing signs of fatique. The engine mounting needs attention, whilst John Noble’s exhaust needs welding. The Ferrari of the Hatenboers stopped in the middle of the regularity due to ignition problems. A Ferrari specialist needs to see whether he can get the car going again. So again the Upper Classic service crew was working on cars till late in the night, to get everybody moving again. The crews in the vintage cars were seen as the hero’s of the day. Driving cruel mountains on gravel, at least 2300 curves said Jan Meester as he did a careful count.
Jolijn Rietbergen has caught a virus and had to spent a night in Hospital. Fortunately it was only a matter of getting an infuse to repair the dehydration. This morning she is bright and shining again.

Leg 13 Blenheim - Hanmar Springs.

The Ferrari from Edwin and Petra Hatenboer is driving again. In a local shop for motorbike spare parts an electric Benelli item was found that got the car sparks and going again. Also Maunders managed to get on. The problem turned out to bee a shortage of fuel getting to the engine, but Terry was up under and over the car to repair it. Two regularities through waterfords again did not cause to many problems. Nicholas Pryor is slowly climbing up the ladder now taking third overall.

Leg 14 Hanmar Springs – Christchurch.

The last day, so all teams expect it to be extra difficult. Just by thinking this they in fact make it difficult for themselves. So the last regularity with an overload of timing points is sorting out the final order. The result is more penalties today than in the previous 10 days combined.
The Roberts loose there chance of winning the second week completely and so do the father and son team Wim and Joep  de Ruyter. Much to every bodies surprise the best Dutch today are Marc Straathof and Bert Kersten. They also win the spirit of the event award, which of course is due to the spectacular Sinterklaas performance. The sympatic team of Patrick Daniel and Philipe Roberson are the winners of the against all odds price, now named the pissing against the wind trophee.
Overall victory goes to England in the Trial Class. Nicolas and Lesley Pryor are the best on the last regularity. Lesley has recovered from a virus infection and is proving her quality again.

The prize giving party ended in a very happy athmosphere and competitors started to make plans already for the next event on the calendar. The Himalaya Challenge in 2008.