I have competed in Motorsport since joining the Manawatu Car Club in 1979. My first car was a MK1 Escort 1300 sport. I caught the rally bug in 1980, when I competed in the Levin Car Club rally in a 1760cc Ford Anglia 105e with twin side draught Weber carbs. This also started my interest in tuning performance cars.
In 1982 I bought my orange 1300cc Escort which did lots of events and educated me in car preparation. The Escort grew over the following 27 years from 1300 to 1600cc pushrod then 1600cc BDA. 1983-1987 it did all Central Region rallies, most Jensen series hill climbs and Manawatu Car Club events (Motokhana, Sprint , Autocross, hillclimb etc.) From mid 1982 to mid 2001 I competed in most Manawatu car club events winning the MCC championship 14 times including a stretch of ten successive years.
The orange Escort did the 2008 Daybreaker rally and the 2008 Eight day Silver Fern rally, where we finished 3rd in class after an engine problem occurred while we were leading the class.
Here are some videos from the Silver Fern Rallies. Thanks to my co-driver, Wayne Reed, for the footage for 2008.
Silver Fern Rally 2008 Breaking a Gear box
2008 Silver Fern Rally SS Nevis
2010 Silver Fern Rally SS19
Day 4, the second half of a typical, faster and more difficult to read South Island road.
2012 Silver Fern Rally SS5 Piakonui Road
Skip to 5 min 57 sec to see us (Car 25) have our 'mishap'.
Then came the yellow Mk2 BDA. I bought this car off Tom Mason in May 1987. I used this car for the 1987, 1988 and 1989 Central region rally series. It was powered by a 1600cc BDA had 5 speed ZF close ratio gearbox and fully floating atlas axle. I won the 1988 Central Region Rally series outright in this car and did numerous rallysprints in it too.
The next step was purchasing the 1988 National Rally championship winning Ford Sierra XR4x4 off Brian Stokes. I attempted the 1990 National series but gave up after the first three rounds as the car proved unreliable. I did get 22nd overall in the WRC Rally of NZ in 1990 after a solid top 20 position was stolen by a broken accelerator cable.
After 3 years in the Sierra, I managed to sell it and for 1992 bought half of a Nissan Pulsar GtiR (Geof Argyle owned the other faster half). I used the orange MK1 Escort and another mk 1 Escort of similar spec (yellow ex ‘farmer’ Hunt’s) for rallies.
Then in late 1992 I bought the ex Brian Watkin Legacy RS that he had won the 1990 and 1992 group N Rally championship. I rallied the Legacy extensively till 2001 when children slowed down the amount of competition that I do. I did Rally NZ 4 times in this car, and most of the central region rallies over the 17 years and do occasional events in it now.
Around 1999 I wanted to do Race to the Sky hillclimb at Cardrona, near Wanaka and Queenstown in something reasonably competitive, it had to be 4 wheel drive with a good power to weight ratio. I considered the lightweight motorcycle engined special and high power GTR Skyline etc, but liked the simplicity of the V8. A car would have to be chopped up too much, so I decided a spaceframe would be easier in the long run so I purchased an ex TraNZam car to make a hillclimb car.
I wanted to start from nothing but didn’t know where to start and couldn’t afford the cost. I used the centre of the space frame, body, gearbox, heads and gauges etc from the TraNZam but made it independent rear suspension, 4 wheel drive, right hand drive, 2 seat etc. I designed of the front suspension, brakes, 4wd system etc, chose the gear ratios etc.
I learned lots about car design and admire anyone that can make a project car from nothing. The project took three and a half years but after doing 11.7 seconds standing ¼ mile at a wet Laws Road near Dannevirke for its shakedown and getting 12th overall at the 2003 Race to the Sky I was happy with my work. I did 5 Race to the Sky’s in this car for 12th, DNF (puncture), 10th, 8th, and 9th overall. This car sits in storage waiting for an event worth getting it out for.
From Dellorto side draught carbs on the Pushrod engines in the MK1 Escorts, Webers on the BDA’s. Kjetronic injection on the Sierra, Link ECU and turbo on the Pulsar, Chipped ECU then PossumLink in the Subaru. Fitting MoTeC throttle bodies and complete electronic injection to the V8.
I still have the acceleration figures from the 1980’s for the Escorts when we were testing different things to make the cars faster. I did an average of four runs timing every thousand rpm from 3000 to 8000rpm and averaging the four times. Dyno’s make this job a lot quicker, safer and law friendly.
There were always problems to solve, and in solving them I learned a lot and wanted to use my knowledge to help other people. I looked at various dynos, choosing the Dynapack for its repeatability as there is no tyre slip and no effect from different tyre size sand pressures.