We left Auckland at 5.30am on Wednesday, got to Palmerston North around 12pm. Checked into our Uncle’s place, chilled out for a bit then went to bed early to catch up on some zzzzzzz’s for our assualt on the South Island. Up at 5 again we headed to Wellington to catch our ferry which departed at 8.30am. Getting onto it was a mission in itself, we had to climb up a few levels and the ramps arent very drift car friendly!
Then we headed on to Christchurch, highlight of that drive would be coming out of Kaikoura. We were driving along when heavy rain started coming down, then it turned to hail. Then all of a sudden the road became greasy and we were driving through snow!!!! Its the first time I have driven on snow let alone in our loaded up drift car with 10x wheels/tyres on board!!! Handled it mint though.
After we got to Christchurch and checked in to our motel we headed out to the racetrack for scrutineering. After waiting in line for the check for around 45 mins they get up to my car and exclaims that he wouldnt do it because the racks on the car and it wasnt track ready, he wouldnt even check it over and fail it on the rack(which is track ready, more to come about that later!!!). I was so annoyed, the guy was just being an arsehole. We left the track as there was no point lining up again only to be turned down when he stopped scrutineering in less than an hour. So went went back to the motel and got smashed!!!
On Friday we got to the track, Unloaded the car and took it through scrutineering, had to put some padding on the rollcage and insulate a battery terminal, all things that could have very easily been recified the night before if he wasnt such a power tripper!!! The first practise session was pretty average, I was struggling to get my lines sorted through the track. After we missed the second practise session due to not being told when it was, we got to got out on some passenger hot laps, I started getting some better lines and was linking the whole section. Next came qualifying. I had 2 5 lap sessions which they took the average of each session from. First one I didnt push it too hard, but came off the track on one of the laps. Second was went ok, still wasnt really pushing it hard enough. I ended up Qualifying 10th.
My first battle I was up against Karl in the Fast Cars Laurel. I was really still getting the hang of the track on my first run, he entered alot later than I was, so I followed his line. He pulled away and left a rather large gap between me and him, I felt I hit the clipping points a little bit better than him. On his chase he was right behind me for most of the way, again I think I had slightly better lines, but I thought he had taken it out because he was so close behind me!!! Judges called a re-run. This time I tried to push it a little bit harder, he still pulled away through the middle part of the section, and I close the gap towards the end but ran up the ripple strip and hit it under the car. On his chase there was a bit more of a gap this time, but my lines were a bit off. The judges called it even and ordered another re-run. I decided to take my 5 min rule and go into the pits and check under the car as running up the ripple sounded like it did some damage! After checking the car it was good to go, but Nick(team manager) told me to take it a bit easier and not push it so hard, after all we did have to drive it over 1200km’s home! The next battle I didnt push anywhere near as hard and had a few straight lines, basically giving it to Karl!
Karl won the battle, props to him! We had the car on show on Saturday, so many people were checking out the wheelie rack! Ben Watson, the Owner of Slipway ended up coming second, he will be the one we need to beat this season, My money is on him to win Rookies overall! Went to the afterparty and it got pretty messy, my memory is kind of blurred by this stage of the night!
On Sunday we left Christchurch and headed to an abandoned gokart track in Kaikoura, meeting Ben there. This place was cool, definately had the most fun at this track. We took the tyres off the wheelie rack but left it on the car, It was the first time we had drifted with it on the car and suprising it handled pretty well!
We jammed the track for about an hour. We were staying in 2nd gear around the whole track. Ben was chopping 4th on the long straight manji, was insane to watch(even went for a ride in his car, although he made it look easy there was so much work going on inside the cabin!)
Then we headed onto the ferry, back to Palmerston North for the night and up again at 5am to get home by 1pm on Monday. All in all it was a good weekend, ideally I would have liked to have placed in the top 3 of rookie although it was an achievement in itself to drive the car from Auckland to Christchurch, compete and then drive back. We clocked up over 2500km’s!!!! We will be making some changes to the car for round 2 in Manfield, It will be interesting to see how it goes.
The next event on our Calender is Powercruise at Taupo raceway Nov 20/21. Nick will be driving the car. The race is on to get it ready!