It all started with singing of “we’re on the road again’. Team DOM was heading north once more to do battle with those North Islander’s in rounds 3 &4 of their series, this time in Tauranga.
Due to the longer drive, the 4 of us (Rat, Rob, Ross, Scotty) left earlier Thursday to catch the late ferry to Wellington for a night’s stay so we could get an early start in the morning on the road for Tauranga. Beaut weather all the way through to Taupo where we had lunch. Burger Fuel does a really good feed with a picturesque outlook over sparkling Lake Taupo.
Tauranga eventually appeared probably a bit quicker than expected, but still about 6.5 hrs driving. Well done Mr. Rat. Supermarket shopping is always fun for DOM but Rat had us sorted as he has been practicing whilst his better half has been away in the UK. Friday night is very busy in Tauranga’s strip so after lots of cruising for parking we decided to head back to the local shopping centre for a meal. Really good pub feed too.
Day 1 was up towards Waihi, 40 min north and this was new country even for me who lived in the NI for my first 17 years. Weather was brisk and sunny though there had been rain the week before. Property was mostly a pine plantation with round rock creek for 3 sections. The rest of the sections were in a loop through the trees and with a mixture of dry and greasy. Slippery stuff was really slippery and quite technical in places; more like what we would peg for Intermediate national level. Nasty 2nd or 3rd gear greasy uphills, slippy off cambers with pegs as the obstacle, undercut 3m drop-off. There was one angled wet log at the top off a 2m climb with off camber downhill after; I saw Scotty resting on the ground after this one. So, a tough day for us old bugger’s with Warwick Merriman on his home turf 1st followed by Rat 2nd. I haven’t dropped so many 5’s ever in a President trial with 4 of them. Rob however had a really good day pipping Francis by 2 for 1st place in Clubman. Good stuff!
Back to town for a soak in the thermal pool then same pub again to feast and watch the rugby. Food was good again, but company was over the top with a drunken old git going off. Pub staff had to try and take his keys off him even. We left and finished the game back at the motel.
2nd day was up behind TePuke on a new property with mostly rocky stream sections. Rocks had a bit of an edge to them so traction was less of an issue. Sections 1 & 3 were under trees with bigger rock and TIGHT turns so overall a more technical trial. Results were mixed though Rat was now totally at home on Andy Beale’s bike (borrowed this as his rear suspension link had broken week before) and he cleaned up for the day. Rat was so impressed rumor has it that the cheque is off to John Lawton. Warwick took a swim on section 4 and dropped back to 6th, but still had done enough on Day 1 to take the overall by 2 points. Well done and in the series so far I think Rat has the nod for champ points. Rob had a bit of a bummer and slipped back to 6th.
After prize giving it was back to the traveling; straight through to Wellington for the night. Early ferry and home by dark. A trip of nearly 2000km but really enjoyable and not prohibitively expensive at $500 each. You must have a strong tolerance for smell though as the bot-bot competition is relentless! Scotty seems to win that all the time.