First practice report

18 05 2013

The first practice session completed without incident, but shortened due to weather conditions delaying events.

It was raining heavily with very slippery conditions and at times minimal visibility due to spray. Occasionally all that could be seen ahead was a wall of spray.

The car feels great – very responsive and very powerful – a little too much power coming out of corners had the front sledging wide – using a slow in fast out approach very definitely in these conditions. Especially on the Nordschleife as there were streams of water running across many parts of the track.

Getting the car back in one piece was my goal and that achieved now I feel much more relaxed – looking forward to qualifying in about an hour.

 





Pictures Update from Thursday

17 05 2013

 

 

 

 

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Scirocco GT24 – the original car driven by Carlos Sainz and Hans-Joachim Stuck in the 2008 24 Hour with a CNG powered engine – placed 1st in class and 11th overall. Now with petrol engine and much more torque. The preparation of this car is exceptional!

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Sonja and Dieter Gotz:

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Some pictures from around the paddock. It’ mind-blowing some of the team setups and cars here!

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Update Thursday May 16th

17 05 2013

Had great practice session this morning with driving course. 13 laps getting faster and more confident each one. Really needed it. The last 2 laps were wet, wow so different, very slippery in places, others not so bad. A lot of new tarmac.
First session in car tomorrow afternoon. Probably only 2 laps before qualifying tomorrow night. Forecast is showers……

Otherwise relaxed day finishing documentation and having gear checked. All passed ok. Only slight hiccup was I discovered I’d brought Matt’s HANS by mistake, and it has fixed tethers rather than sliding. Now he has sliding tethers at my expense, 70 Euro!

Caught up with some other Kiwis here. Maurice O’Reilly, a 15 times veteran, and Michael Eden. Wayne Moore also part of that team, has been here 20 years running! Amazing record. I think age will stop me catching up!





Update Tuesday 14th May

15 05 2013

Had a tourist day today, went to Koblenz and visited the Ehrenbreitstein Fortress.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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Ohakune Giant 1000 hillclimb cancelled

29 03 2012

This event has been cancelled at the last minute by the organisers because of safety concerns after local iwi, via the Ngati Rangi Trust and their spokesman Che Wilson, stated they would hold a picnic on the road to disrupt  the event. They have been strongly supported by Ruapehu District Council mayor Sue Morris, despite her council giving approval for road closures to hold the event. The underlying theme to objections seems to be the desecration of the sacred mountain by racing up the road. I have been unable to perceive how this event engenders such desecration when many other activities, such as ski-fields, adventure tourism and commercial activity does not. There seems to be a particular snitch about this event by some local iwi, who have used unfair and unjustified pressure to halt the event. Here is an open letter I have written to the Ngati Rangi Trust:

An open letter to the Ngati Rangi Trust

 

RE: Cancellation of the Ohakune Giant 1000 event.

I write as a competitor who was entered into this event, and not in any way as a representative of the organisers of this event. My comments are mine personally, and mine alone, although I suspect they will echo the thoughts of many others.

Your Trust (or at least one or more influential members of your Trust) has opposed this event and now at the eleventh hour, despite repeated advices and notifications to you without response, a threat to disrupt has been issued. This action by your Trust has caused the cancellation of the event, to the dismay of organisers, competitors, spectators and local businesses. A significant economic benefit to the Ohakune district has been lost.

Such action will engender a reputation that will make it more difficult for the District to attract other events that might possibly fall foul of Trust feelings.

In your media release you detail four reasons for your opposition.

1 -Desecration of sacred site – Mount Ruapehu is the spiritual alter and burial ground for Ngāti Rangi

I am sure you are aware that there are 3 ski-fields operating on Mount Ruapehu, as well as many other activities of a commercial and/or recreational nature. Desecration is not measured by degrees. There is either desecration or there is not. If there is no desecration by ski-fields how can it be argued that this event is a cause of desecration? If there is desecration by the ski-fields it begs the question as to why that is tolerated where this event is not. This reason does not stand up to the most cursory scrutiny. 

2 – Noise pollution effects and accidents – impact of rally on avifauna and damage through accidents to the national park – check out http://www.youtube.com for the evidence.

Again, the effects of noise pollution and accidents from other activities would far outweigh any damage from this event. This reason does not stand up to the most cursory scrutiny.

3 -Access to the national park – the Ohākune Mountain Road is the southern access road to the Tongariro National Park and the rally restricts freedom of access

It is common practice for public roads to be closed from time to time for events, including, but not limited to, motorsport events. Local councils approve these closures on a regular basis. Freedom of access to Tongariro National Park is a vital consideration. In the context of an event of this nature, most people would consider it not unreasonable to allow a closure for several hours over 2 days to be put in place, particularly considering the economic benefits to local communities and businesses.

4 – Role modeling – approving the rally may encourage reckless driving

This reason is nonsense. On that basis motorsport would be banned completely. I suspect that the author and driver of your policy would like to see that happen, however it is sad that such sentiment should be allowed to drive Trust policy.

Indeed many would argue to the contrary: that official motorsports events provide good role modeling and promote responsible use of motor vehicles in a controlled environment, especially considering the safety rules under which these events are managed.

In summary I am deeply disappointed at the cancellation of this event particularly considering the spurious reasons given. The local council had given approval, and authorized the road closures. The cause of this cancellation is the action of your Trust.

I have put the reasons behind your decision to pursue this action in context. They fail utterly under scrutiny.

However one or some in your Trust have managed to have their personal views prevail and the result is an action which puts your Trust in a bad light in the view of the wider New Zealand community, and has also done significant damage to your local community.

Finally, after considering the above and this quote from Che Wilson on stuff.co.nz: “People just wanted to take their gas-guzzling machines onto the mountain. It’s just boys and their toys”, I am drawn to the inescapable conclusion that there is a strong anti-motorsport sentiment driving the Trust policy.  (For your information it’s not just boys – there are several women entered as either drivers or co-drivers, one of whom is in her 80s!)

Allowing the proponents of this sentiment a personal victory has been at the expense of the Ohakune community as a whole, and has damaged the Trust’s reputation as a responsible guardian of Mount Ruapehu.

Greg Spark

Hamilton

cc.

Sue Morris, Mayor, Ruapehu District Council

Ian Bowater,  Taupo Car Club

Max Hodder

Radio New Zealand

Fairfax media, stuff.co.nz

TV3 news





Ngutunui hillclimb 2012

26 02 2012

Ran in the Hamilton Car Club’s superb Ngutunui Hillclimb yesterday, in perfect conditions apart from a little smear of drizzle early in the day.

Main aim was to serve as a shakedown for Targa bambina in 3 weeks time, so the pressure was on not to bend the car. So as we all know, in these situations the sensible driver backs it off a bit 😉

Was accompanied by my new co-driver for Targa, Derek Batchelor. Derek had a good day and was determined to find out if car sickness was going to be a problem so consumed about 5% of his body weight for lunch just before a run up the hill – no problem! – Well done mate, was a great day except for team leader forgetting the intercom lead………

The other major thing we wanted to check out was how the new Targa compulsory Federal tyres would run in road conditions – they are designed as a circuit tyre and I have had very mixed reports from Targa drivers about them. These range from “downright dangerous”, “only time I’ve spun on dry tarmac” (this latter one as we were lining up on first run!) to “they’re fine, not quite as sticky as the Dunnies, but get some heat into them and they’re ok”.

My experience yesterday was more of the latter view. Time up the hill (unofficially as yet) was 3 sec slower than the previous year on the Dunlops, but watching the footage side by side there’s absolutely nothing in it. And they felt a little more progressive on the breakaway and more controllable in a drift than the Dunlops. So from my perspective, on DRY tarmac they are pretty much as good as the Dunlops. In the wet though………??

Since the rebuild after the Ohakune crash the car has run 2 events perfectly. It is definitely as good as prior to the crash, so big ups to my service guru Andrew Johnston,  and rebuilder Ken Braun Panel and Paint.

Video is on YouTube here: Ngutunui Hillclimb 2012

Thanks to the organisers and all the marshals who made this event possible – well done, without you guys we’d all be parked in the garage at home. This really is an excellent event and always run around this time of the year. This year it is part of the National Hillclimb Championship





INTGRR repaired, prepped and ready to roll!

11 09 2011

After my mishap in Ohakune in the Ohakune Giant 1000 Hillclimb,  INTGRR has been beautifully repaired by Ken Braun Panel and Paint, and put back together again by the brilliant Andrew Johnston. She’s looking better then ever and ready for the next event, the Golden Cross Rallysprint above the Karangahake Gorge, on September 18th .

Wheel alignment booked tomorrow followed by scrutineering – usually a formality, but with the rebuild I hope all is well…..

Feeling a little more pressure than usual as the last 2 events (Ohakune and the Nurburgring 24 Hour) I’ve had a crash – hope it’s not a sign my fortunes have changed permanently! I’ll certainly be feeling my way carefully for a start as the first leg is the downhill 8.5km run from the Golden Cross mine headquarters and early morning there is usually damp if not actually raining!

Got a rookie crew coming as Andrew is competing in the final round of the Motul Cup (good luck mate, the Gods are smiling on you after a “mixed” series so far with 3 engine rebuilds). Jack Williamson and friend Ben are two young guys keen as mustard to sample the rally scene and it will be great to have them along for the ride – literally as co-drivers are compulsory for this event.