Day minus 2 - Sunday 21st.
Jackie and David Smith arrived out here at 1500 afetr a 28 hour journey that was no problem and time seemd to fly by (pun intended). A bonus was stopping in Fiji for 2 hours - that's saved me 3 grand going there some other time ! Much last minute preparation work being done on the Montego Turbo. At least it has been rolling roaded and is running well.

Day minus 1 - Monday 22nd.
Working on the car again in the morning, finishing off the extra switchgear, fitting all the sponsors decals, fitting rally rubber, etc. The car had to be in the scrutineering hall at Turners Motor Auctions by midday, about half an hour south of Auckland city. We arrived there with 2 minutes to spare. The car sailed through scrutineering with absolutely no problems - a big smile all round for a job well done. It is so easy to slip up on something silly - as some others did. Things like loose seats on a Primera and lack of rear brakes on an MGV8 Sebring replica spring to mind. We were able to remove the car again at 5 pm and return home for a few last minute adjustments. Also had a rush Monday evening in getting hold of the borrowed service vehicle, we were still loading up tools and spares at 11 pm, and in the pouring rain too! Just hope it is fine for the Prologue day tomorrow. The Prologue is a sort of 'training' day - 6 short tarmac stages taken flat out, but really the idea is to allow all competitors to learn the road book and the style of the event, the results of this day do not count towards overall results or positions, however they are used to seed the starting order for the rally proper. All went well on the day, with John driving pretty much on sight while Gary was getting used to the tulips in the road book as it was his first ever competitive event as a navigator or driver ! Yes it did dawn dry and sunny which was a great relief, and the car ran well if a little hot. The rad fan over-ride switch kept blowing fuses so we rewired it completely at evening service. When the seedings were posted in the evening JD had moved the MG 10 places up the board which we were all pleased at. If nothing else it means an extra 120 minutes in bed in the morning as the starting order is 'slowest first' - this way the rally keeps tight and does not straggle out with slow latecomers bringing up the rear. Let's see how it goes when the rally proper starts on Wednesday morning.

Rally Review - John Dalton
Sorry for no reports during the rally but it has been rather hectic going!
As already said we got past scrutineering OK last Monday. Gary and Daniel had done a great job on putting the car together - it had just taken more time than ever envisaged.

There were still a few things to sort on the car and the electric windows packed up driving back to Auckland.

Tuesday was Prologue Day.
This was timed practice over 6 stages, but not counting to the rally. On the first stage the bonnet that Gary had 'lightened' lifted and distorted enough to break one of the bonnet pins. We managed to tie it down with a ratchet strap. It was a hot day and around lunch time the rad fan packed up and we almost cooked the engine, but we got away with it. The fan was fixed by wiring direct to the battery, and we we got some new bonnet pins for Day 1 on Wednesday. We had a steady run in damp conditions and finished the day 46th overall. One hiccup was when the radiator cap was left off at service and it fell down taking off the oil light wire and that stopped the fuel pump.

Day 2
This started OK until we got to the 1st stage and the car had no electrics. We push started it and managed to get thru the stage where we drove into a local garage and got the alternator changed. The car was now running much better after richening a lean mixture and we started to set some good times, ending the day 36th overall and 6th in class.

Day 3
We went onto harder pads but the brake pedal travel was still too long - needs rear discs for such fast stages where we were averaging 80mph and on the last stage saw 225kph on the clock. Finished the day 26th overall and 4th in class. By now the Monty was earning a little respect from those who doubted we would survive day 1.

Day 4
It's now Saturday and early on the engine starts making a howling noise and the power goes flat and we are consuming oil - looks like the turbo seals are on the way out. We keep up a reasonable pace and end the day 24th, 6th modern and 3rd in class, the Porsche 911 having gone off under the pressure! Day 5 on Sunday and the weather changes for the worse - pouring rain, and the vent fan has packed up so the screen is misting badly, but Gary has got the windows working again.
I spun the car at the spectator point and we appear on the nightly news coverage of the event on national TV, but the Beemer and Porsche are now just seconds behind. Then we have another off taking out the board at the flying finish of stage 48 - well I am trying.....
Then on stage 50 out of 51 the oil light came on and the fuel pump stops. Its not just a lead come adrift and we cannot get the pump going separately so thats the end of our rally.
We got towed by a local to a garage where the guy diagnosed a problem in the wiring via the inertia switch. He was able to to rewire the pump and it burst into life and we drove back to the finish somewhat late but I think we have been classified as finishers and we got our finishers medals.
A great event and I certainly would like to do it again.

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