Wed Apr 26 16:30 2017 NZST
Run: 646.9nm (1170.9km)
Weather: Blue sky and no wind

Our last full day at Kawau island for the season as we will reluctantly weigh anchor tomorrow.

Wed Dec 7 19:02 2016 NZDT
Run: 603.4nm (1092.2km)
Avg: 241360kms
24hr: 5792640kms

Wed Dec 7 19:02 2016 NZDT
Run: 90.8nm (164.3km)
Avg: 9339.4kms
24hr: 224146.3kms

Wed Dec 7 19:01 2016 NZDT
Run: 0.5nm (0.9km)

Sun Dec 4 8:57 2016 NZDT
Run: 1.5nm (2.7km)
Weather: Partly cloudy about 18C

Finally at the Auckland airport gate for Norfolk Island. Up at 5 am as the shuttle was to arrive, and he did, at 6 am. Fortunately he knew we had to not go to the international terminal to find the Police to check pistols and he took us to the cop shop half way between the two terminals. We rang the bell, talked to someone at Central casting and about 10mins later a young lass arrived with a Glock in her holster. I dont think she knew how to shoot it as she did Not know what sort it was and had to be helped as to what sort of ammo it was loaded with. But she did know it was a Glock. Anyway all our pistols were checked and off we trundled to the air NZ check in. Well, we had previously advised we had guns and ammo so when we tried to do the automatic checkin we got a slip to go to a real person. I had spent 25 mins on the phone with airnz so knew all the data was there. Well no it was not. I had also asked for a reference number at the end of the 25 min phone call but was told that was not necessary as it was all loaded. The info that is. So we held up the line putting all the gun and ammo detail in the system and then had to take the bags to the oversized and fragile section for loading. That turned out to be a good thing as all the instruments for the Norfolk Island jazz festival were in line and one man gave me the program. Yippee. Then a very long walk to gate 16 to board the tiny B737 for Norfolk.

Sat Dec 3 17:08 2016 NZDT
Run: 91.5nm (165.6km)
Weather: Lovely

We are sitting in the foyer of the Heartland Hotel at Auckland airport. We are waiting for the shuttle, $120 back to home. Our booking was cancelled in August as the company we booked through went bankrupt. cancelled the booking at the hotel but did not bother to tell us. We had to be at the airport really early tomorrow for checking pistols with the Police, and busing to the plane. Seems Auckland is bursting at the seems. Should have taken Chameleon to Auckland as much more reliable.

Fri Nov 25 19:13 2016 NZDT
Run: 227.9nm (412.5km)
Avg: 4.7kms
24hr: 111.9kms
Weather: Rain

Drove from Taupo to Whangarei today. A bit hungover and so did not enjoy the stop and go for an hour getting through Auckland. Rain from about half way and lots of stop and go at various road works. David stopped for a Whopper at Tokoroa Burger King but Patricia just had a milkshake. We arrived with peak hour traffic in a very wet Whangarei but a coup,e of cyclists I talked to when checking in at the Holiday Park said they had come from Russel in mostly dry weather.

Wed Nov 23 18:19 2016 NZDT
Run: 120.6nm (218.3km)
Weather: Glorious. Clear skies at last

Last day of the Gulf Harbour Radio net and off we went to Taupo. We felt really guilty as there are about ten boats left in New Cal but we have lots on the next few days. We went to the pistol club first as we have not been able to shoot at our Auckland club due to a noise complaint. We are off to Whangarei on Friday for the north island ISSF championships. Tomorrow we take the GGRILA to the track and try out the new brakes and sway bar.
Scenery all the way down was fantastic as you can see for miles today.

From Twin Peaks motel, Taupo
From Twin Peaks motel, Taupo
Lake Taupo
Lake Taupo
Sun Nov 6 15:52 2016 NZDT
Run: 69.1nm (125.1km)
Avg: 4.4kms
24hr: 104.5kms
Weather: Damp due early morning rain but enough wind to dry the track reasonably quickly. No significant rain all day.

The position reported is from our great seats in the stand. K59 and 60. We had hoped to make more Nomads reports but found that the combination of iPad screen and polarised glasses was not helpful. And on Sunday the cell phone signal dropped to two bars as many were tuned into the All Blacks game in Chicago. We arrived by 7.30am as we wanted to spend time in the pits but the gates did not open un 8 am despite what Mr Google said. We did in fact walk the Pits but were not allowed too close and really did not get to ask much as all were busy.
We went back to the stand to watch the Toyota cars as by now we had come to appreciate the great battles going on and there was some great driving from these young drivers. We had not got into the Aussie Racing cars so went back for the Garth Tander signing session. Thankfully David wanted to meet Garth as we have watched all of his Utube HSV handling videos. I say thankfully as by now there was a very long line behind the desk of Gisbergen and Wincup who had been at the lead of the Supercars all weekend. Fortunatley these two from the Red Bull team get on really well - not like the F1 Mercedes team! Red Bull spend 30% of profit on marketing and really seemed to have faster cars. Then again these drivers are very talented. Gisbergen certainly had the kiwi crowd for support and a great roar went up when he miraculously found a way passed Wincup.  They seem to have been given the go ahead from team mangament to go for it indiviually as long as they did not wreck the cars. All went well until the first race of the day. SVG was just ahead at the hairpin with Wincup breathing down his neck. They both entered too fast, Wincup tried for the pass but hit and they both spun at the same time - it looked like syncronized swimming on the screen as they were so close.  SVG recovered to work his way amazingly trhough the field of around 26 cars to end up third at the checquered flag. The other interesting battle was between Garth ander and Pye - who has replaced him at Holden Walkinshaw next year. Tander started at No11 on the pole in the last race and was definitely going to get ahead of Pye by the finish. Great aggressive driving, and he achieved this and came in 7th. 

The driving we saw was just amazing and David commented he would like to be out there. Not me. It is a dangerous, evil track with bumps and concrete walls and difficult corners! I would not even do a fast lap with a professional driver! Next year it is going to be upgraded so we will see what they do. Viewing is great as you can see quite a bit from your seat or move around. There are about 4 screens that cover the corners although it took a bit of working out where they were filming. Some more aerial shots would have enabled us to see the lines cars took around corners. They certainly covered the mishaps well. One of the most spectacular was a Toyota car failed to take a corner , started to roll, then rolled faster, then went end over end and jumped over quite a high fence before rolling again and finishing upside down! The young man walked away from it! 

The final Supercar race was a bit ho hum as the Red Bull drivers must have been given a strong word! They did of course lead by quite a margin. Mark Winterbottom in his Falcon had raced away in the earlier race so a Holden win was very necessary. We left just after it finished and had positioned the GGRILA for a good getaway. All was well on the freeway until we got to Papakura and the bottle neck got us. We had planned ahead though and ate the left over pizza from the night before! There is a little food area by a BP station not far from the freeway entrance to Puke and if you dont want McDonalds there is a little Korean supermarket with dumplings and an Indian restaurant with a takeawy menu that includes pizza! Before you gasp, the Italian pizza was pretty good. Indians do find out quickly what customers want. A stunning weekend and although we felt guilty about leaving all our cruisers without info we really have got the bug and will be back next year.

Garth Tander and fan
Greg Murphy and fan
Garth Tander Holden Commodore VF, no 2
Gisbergen Hokden Commodore VF, no 97
Damp finish line early Sunday
Paul Manuell , v8 UTE champ
Sun Nov 6 0:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 69.1nm (125.1km)
Avg: 4.8kms
24hr: 115.3kms

Sat Nov 5 9:37 2016 NZDT
Run: 135.7nm (245.6km)
Weather: Damp track and black clouds around

We were very fortunate to have been given platinum passes for the 3 day Virgin Australia ITM Auckland SuperSprint event at Pukekohe. The last time Patricia had been here was in January 1978 when she flew some (very heavy) men up from Palmenrston North in a C 172.  In those day you were allowed to land a fixed wing in the centre of the horse racing track. Nowadays it is only helicopters that come in from the air! 

We drove down on Friday in torrrential rain but it cleared before we got there and apart from a sometimes wet track, racing was not affected Saturday or Sunday - but did slow things down when the rain came. This event is the largest trans - Tasman sporting event so a good bit of rivalry pervades as well as the historic Ford v Holden competition.

It is not just the Supercars to hold your interest. We particularly wanted to see the NZ V8 Ute racing events as Paul Manuell who owns Eastern Automotive (where we often visit to get work done on the GGRILA) was racing in his very eye catching ORIX sponsored Ute. Holden of course. A great vehicle to watch and as the weekend progressed the results were a new lap record, 2 wins and and a third from reverse grid. (The race laps were reduced following an incident in this reverse grid race so he did not have  sufficient time to get to the lead). The orange art work is really easy to see and has been there for 8 years - well ahead of the likes of McLaren! He has been a V8 champion and really drives the Ute amazingly - finding gaps where none seem to exist. It was exciting watching the rest of this group jockey for position. When 4 utes approach the fast first turn side by side you know that one will not make it and others will lose their rear vision mirrors!

Also of interest for us were the BNT NZ Touring cars as we had got to know young Tom Alexander when doing some training with Mike Eady. This is his first year in his new car. He previously did very well in the Toyota Finance TR 86 series, in fact won it last year I believe. Now 21 he has been mentored by a NZ racing guru Kenny Smith, since he was 17 and lives and breathes cars and racing.

Friday was mostly practise and qualifying for all events. Saturday saw the start of racing for all events. The Utes do 8 laps of the 2.9k circuit. The BNT N Touring cars do 12 laps, and the Supercars do 35 laps. All races are reduced if there is a mess to clean up. Both days went pretty much to schedule.

The only downside were some pretty grim food options and - trying to leave the car park took 1.5 hours as some idiot had decided to close off all but one exit because of pedestrian traffic! Plenty of cops around who could have helped but I guess it was not in their job descroption for the day. The GGRILA does not like to idle so we just stopped after getting nowhere for a while, and planned how we would handle it on Sunday!




Paul Manuell and No 1 Holden VE UTE
Tom Alexander preparing his Holden Commodore
The video screens were great for replays
Tom Alexander
A nipply day for some!
A great read
Sat Oct 29 8:00 2016 NZDT
Run: 138.2nm (250.1km)
Weather: Chilly 15-20 SW wind but dry.

Hampton Downs race track for the first 101, meaning 101 laps, on the extended track. Amazingly the rain was all but absent although when we arrived cars were on blocks waiting for a decision to be made as to whether to put the slicks on or not. The pits were open before the races started at 8.30 so we were able to wander around the wonderful cars and chat to the drivers and crew if we wanted to. I will let the pictures tell the story. Saturday was a day of sorting out pole positions for both the Australian GT cars and the Central muscle cars . Also a day for deciding what we would buy if we won Lotto. It ended up between the McLaren and a Ferrari. Hard choice eh? Sadly during the Sunday race one of the Ferraris had an 'incident' so probably was going quite cheaply after that. All the Audi R8 LMS did fast times but were nowhere near the finishing line after 101 laps. The first three home on Sunday were a Lamborghini, a Porsche 911 GT3-R, and the Maclaren 650S GT 3. Patricia would settle for a 570!

Amazing organisation and a very enjoyable day although a bit chilly . We mostly sat at the hair pin and were itching to get in the GGRILA after watching all the different techniques for attacking it. One car lost its hood just at the apex which was a challenge as you cannot see the exit from the entry point as it drops about 8m. 

A Porsche with Walkinshaw. Weird.
Klark Quinn's McLaren, son of Tony
The unfortunate Ferrari - before the race
The Audi Control Centre - pit lane
A good use for Steinlager cans - in Gary McKelvie's Holden Monaro GT
The hairpin drops about 8m
Thu Oct 6 11:56 2016 NZDT
Run: 0.7nm (1.3km)
Avg: 13.5kms
24hr: 323.4kms
Weather: Very wet and windy

Hampton Downs skid pad. A million dollars of a continuous concrete pour. Sadly the new owner has brought the concrete walls closer so the run off went from 3m to 1m.
Not much need for the fountains and sprinklers today as we got torrential rain making it very slippery. We had the GGRILA in performance mode for the first time as this gives quicker accelerator pedal response than in sport mode. The idea was. To learn how to slide around the corners. Lose the back end and correct. Good fun and we sure learned how to quickly stab the accelerator and then use the arms to take control without spinning. Well we did that a few times. But the real expert frequent spinner was the little Mazda sports car. 1500cc rear engine, 1100kg. It just loved the figure 8s!

Hampton Downs skid pad
With fountain and sprinklers on
The Tracktime Mazda cars
Thu Oct 6 11:53 2016 NZDT
Run: 112.7nm (204km)
Avg: 6.2kms
24hr: 149.5kms

Wed Oct 5 17:47 2016 NZDT
Run: 2.7nm (4.9km)
Avg: 30.5kms
24hr: 731.3kms
Weather: Very lucky as no rain yet


We are staying in a motel at Pokeno which is just north of Hampton Downs so very convenient. We would never get to the track from Gulf Harbour by 8.30 because of the commute traffic.
Pokeno is a very tiny country town but much visited by those that love pork products or ice cream. There are three ice cream shops and the one shown has about 40 different flavours but the big draw card is the price. $2 for a huge scoop but we went for the $3 two huge scoops. Rum and raisin on the bottom and maple fudge and walnuts on the top for me. David sticks to chocolate but had a choice of four different types.
I also stocked up on bacon, pork schnitzel, lamb and beef. They will keep it in the cooler for me to collect tomorrow.
I don't know how we are going to have room for the steak and eggs and salad and chips and mushroom onion sauce we will have at the motel later but we need our energy! And we will have a good talk to the motel manager Gary who happens to be a super8 driver running a Holden Monaro. When he Is not at the motel bar. It is a very popular motel as Pokeno also has a huge truck stop across the road. And if you want a quick takeaway meal the Pakistani ex teacher who runs the little dairy cum supermarket across the road prepares good curries and other traditional meals. 

Did I mention the spa bath?

Pokeno Ice cream shop
Pokeno butcher shop
Pokeno motel
Wed Oct 5 17:42 2016 NZDT
Run: 5.1nm (9.2km)
Avg: 124.9kms
24hr: 2997.6kms

Wed Oct 5 17:39 2016 NZDT
Run: 1.8nm (3.3km)

Well we were on our way south to Pokeno then Hampton Downs for a skid pad day but David discovered what Patricia had been complaining about when she drove the car a week ago. Our around home car is SuzieQ, the little yellow Suzuki Swift Sport, so the GGRILA gets to rest in between long trips. The brakes sounded really grim so back we went to Easter Automotive, which happens to be on the way south. Off comes the left front wheel and " O wow" says the young lad when he sees the nearr totally gone metal disk that goes between the brake pad and the rotor. Oh and the rotor is stuffed too. You guys must really heat those brakes. Even the office girl was rude enough to remind us that we had only just got them fitted!
Fortunately they had a set of HSV pads and we are going to get a whole new set of 6 pots and new rotors in a couple of weeks anyway.
The stop was quite short and in about half an hour we were on our way again. I think we should charge them for the entertainment we provide.

Up on the hoist
Oh wow
The disintegrated brake pad spacer
Waiting for the new pad
Mon Sep 19 19:59 2016 NZST
Run: 4.2nm (7.6km)
Weather: Great all day but rain at 8 pm.

Back at the Phoenix Resort Motel and the rain has started again. We were really lucky to have the sunshine today. This has turned out to be a great place to stay as sited on the lake at the start of the Napier Taupo Rd. We dont have to go near the busy town as the Pistol range is about 10 mins Down this road and the Motorsport track is maybe 13 mins away! And the motel like many others In This thermal area has private hot tubs for each room fed by the naturally heated water. The kitchen has everything you want including a little dish washer. And it is quiet with a huge Tv and a firm comfy bed.
And the icing on the cake came when we decided to eat out locally. Less than 5 mins away is a local pub with the most amazing gourmet food. All produced in house from fresh ingredients which for an msg allergic person is great. I asked the owner/ chef where he got his venison from. "I shoot it" was the reply! Service is slow as we managed to be there both nights with a visiting rugby team but it was well worth the wait. And yes, the big groups are in an adjacent room! It is called the Mole and Chicken. No idea what is behind that weird name.

Mon Sep 19 16:50 2016 NZST
Run: 2.6nm (4.7km)

Well today was the big day. We had promised to concentrate on our brake points and drive lines here at Bruce Maclaren Motorsport park.
The day started with the briefing from Playdayontrack organiser, Gary. Just the usual. Pass on acceleration. Let faster cars past. If you go into the kitty litter, stay put and he will come and tow you out etc. it was a perfect day at last. A chilly SW wind but sun and a few artistic cumulus.

After that we all followed the GGRILA around the track at road speeds so that we got familiar with it. David then dropped the tyre pressures as advised. Patricia was first up and as usual took time to get as one one with car. It is a longer more technical track than Hampton Downs, and some faster cars went by as I got to grips with the nasty corners. More tyre pressure dropped  before David went out. 

The entry from the Pitts is at turn one. At the end of the start finish line straight. Like me he had a few things to sort out on his next run. Patricia had another 15 min turn before lunch and in an experimental attempt to do the hair pin in third gear went off the track at the start of the long back straight. Not seen by David. But a good reason for getting a new sway bar which will help the excessive under steer. Maybe it won't help poor driving!

Anyway, this second session saw much better lines through the corners but still areas where an increase in corner entry speed would see improvements. On my return we took off to fill up at the local gas station and on return saw a major problem.

The outside edge of the front right tyre was chewed up. This track is basically a left hand track and with the soft tyres, and they are very good road tyres, the edge got damaged beyond use. The centre and inside was not worn at all. It was a new tyre last week. Continental Sport, and not available in Taupo. One is on the way for us by courier so we will get home tomorrow. Now back to the pistol range to save the day!

Gary, Playdayontrack, gives the briefing
entry at turn one from the pitts
Just how far off the track did you go, Patricia?
Tyre damage. End of track day
David, entering turn 4
Sun Sep 18 14:04 2016 NZST
Run: 52.5nm (95km)
Weather: Light rain to steady heavy rain. It cleared when we left at 2 pm.

The Taupo Pistol Club, part of the Deerstalkers Assoc range facilities on mountain Rd, off the main Napier Taupo Rd.

They alternate disciplines and it was action shooting on steel today which was great as no patching targets in the rain. The first course had 2 square steel targets at 25m, plus 2 small round targets at around 10m plus a central round red steel at 12m to finish. You shot five times and got minus points for misses. The worst round was discarded. Then next door the course was easier. Two square targets to the right, two to the left and a central stop target. Theses were closer, about 8m with the red at 10m.

Taupo Pistol Club
The ISSF range
Sat Sep 17 11:52 2016 NZST
Run: 18.6nm (33.7km)
Weather: low cloud and drizzle

About 35min from Tauranga on the Pyes Pa Rd to Rotorua is a new recreational park for all sorts of outdoor activities from rifle shooting to motorbike riding. And it is so far away from any population and farm land it would never get a noise complaint.  Called All terrain TectPark. The weather did not allow too much exploring and the boss was a bit concerned for the GGRILAs new tyres but it is an amazing facility. A ranger is on site.

TECT recreational park, Tauranga
TECT Allterrain park, Tauranga
Pistol ranges
Shooting ranges
Tauranga Pistol Club
Tauranga Pistol Club
Thu Sep 15 16:53 2016 NZST
Run: 63.8nm (115.5km)
Avg: 3.1kms
24hr: 75kms

Overnighting in a hotel in Tauranga so as not to pass on our bugs to good friends. By the way we diverted on route to the little town of Paeroa to get the best hamburger meal in NZ. The friendly Asian man does a roaring trade. Jokers cafe is on the northern end of town and definitely worth a stop. 

 We are now into a new regime of medication. Patricia has a cough medicine which is 20% alcohol! And is trying olive leaf! Don't take notes as nothing has worked so far. Chicken soup, hot chocolate, rusty nails, decongestants, cough lozenges, Jamesons, ...., even lemon drinks with honey and Whisky.

Jokers cafe Paeroa
Wed Sep 14 20:27 2016 NZST

A fantastic day for the Mike Eady and Tracktime Driving Academy open day at the Hampton Downs track. Started with a wet track and light rain but it dried off. Lots to report which I will do later. The circuits with Paul Manuell were very interesting. Paul owns eastern Automotive where we get our GGRILA work done and actually volunteered to drive with us. Martin wished him luck as we left the pitts!  Patricia was told she was braking too late. Who me? Petrol head Patricia he calls me. Paul was so relaxed on the circuit that it looked like he was out for a Sunday drive when he took the helm. However when you looked at his speeds they really demonstrated that smooth is fast. 

We ended the day with nothing broken. And only a sway bar on the must have list. I am told it will reduce under steer! That would be good as when you brake too late after the straight, the car does not seem to want to turn the corner on the approved line! It seems that the extra speed you get on the straight is lost when you, just, make a very wide corner.  We both have been advised to stop looking at the speedo and concentrate on using all the track width after corners, and driving the recommended line. Hmm. Hard to not look at lap times as the phone video replays tell you what they are and so of course you compare notes! We were lucky that the track dried off In the afternoon and it looks like we may have a dry day on Monday at Taupo.

By the way we did the first course here with Mike and Martin and this got us hooked on track driving. ( It was a great course and got Patricia in particular more confident about the ABS, ESC, and all the other features of our new grunty car. Somewhat different from our cruising junker. We also did the skid pad course with them, turning off some of the stability features to get the car drifting around the cones. Scary with the concrete walls around it but it really taught me to hit the brakes! The biggest thing to get used to on the track is looking way ahead as in suburban driving you are looking not far from the hood to watch for kids darting out or cars leaving drive ways.  I still need more confidence in ignoring the short view and looking where I want to go and lining up properly. The next track day at Hampton Downs is not until December as there are lots of other events on there over the next few months.

The middle picture shows david talking to Martin (one of the instructors) about corner 1 tactics. 


Hampton Diwns main straight
Start finish line Hampton Downs
Martin chatting to David about corner 1
Mike Eady Tracktime Driving Academy Mazda cars
Corner 1 coming up, fast
Time to brake for corner 1
Tue Sep 13 14:50 2016 NZST
Run: 30.4nm (55km)
Avg: 14.8kms
24hr: 355kms

Hampton Downs motor sport track. Here for a Mike Eady track day and horrors- we are in the fast group. So much for taking it Easy. The pressure is on. Got stopped on the freeway for over 30 mins just prior to the exit. Evidently the police were chasing or looking for some one. Nobody knew anything but it was a very social gathering.

Tue Sep 13 12:47 2016 NZST
Run: 23.4nm (42.4km)

Cannot seem to find the GPS for our new position here at Eastern Automotive 40 Allens Rd East Tamaki Auckland. Here to get measured up for new improved brakes! A pre emotive measure.

The shop we visit frequently to replace broken bits
Our fixit and replace shop
Get the check book out!
Fri Sep 9 16:00 2016 NZST

 Leaving the lovely spring garden behind on Tuesday, 13 th September for an exciting week of track driving  and shooting. Pity about the weather forecast. That will slow us down.

Colour in the herb garden
September is tulip time
Fri Sep 9 15:59 2016 NZST

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