Sixty four veteran vehicles were entered into this event hosted by the Waikato Branch of the Vintage Car Club of NZ. It was encouraging to see nine entries from the South Island which included the only motorcycle entered in the rally, a 1911 Singer No 1 from Invercargill, and one entry from Australia – a 1909 Darracq RR. The other 54 entries travelled from all over the North Island for the four day event which preceded the Prince Henry Tour.
Four fine, sunny days of perfect rallying were organised by different plotters each day. From 10am Wednesday 19th March Rally Packs were available for collection from the Rally Headquarters at the Te Awamutu Sports Complex. Entrants were welcomed by a team of Waikato members with Devonshire scones and tea & coffee.
That night the Welcome Dinner was held at Rally Headquarters. With tables suitably decorated with tussy mussy arrangements the scene was set for the great event which followed.
Thursday 20th, the first day of rallying, our destination -Cambridge. After entering Cambridge through Leamington, we assembled on the south side of the Waikato River at the approaches of Victoria Bridge which was undergoing repairs and was only open to one way traffic travelling from north to south and we wanted to go south to north!! However, arrangements had been made for the bridge to be closed to modern traffic between 10 and 11am to allow us to cross. For those of us travelling on the Auckland VCC’s 1915 Renault Charabanc, it meant off loading and walking across the bridge as we (the Charabanc, that is !!) were over-weight. While the veteran vehicles were parked on display on Victoria Square until 2pm, transport was provided for entrants wishing to visit the Waikato VCC Branch Clubrooms and parts shed, the new Velodrome (Avanti Drome) and Noel Yearbury’s Tractor Collection. Of course many familiar faces were seen exploring the Cambridge shops.
After a short run we were treated to afternoon tea at the Don Rowland Centre at Karapiro Lake while a NZ Olympic Rowing personality gave a short address and we admired the wonderful lake views.
Friday 21st, the second day of the rally - Today’s destination this day was Otorohanga. After an 8.30am start, we rallied from Te Awamutu, through Kihikihi. Jan Officer welcomed us to morning tea on a farm in the Wharepapa district. Travelling through lovely Waipa countryside through Parawera we arrived at Otorohanga for lunch. Several people checked out Habib’s Menswear where you can still buy Swandri and other NZ made products.
During our return journey to Te Awamutu we visited a private collection of vehicles and memorabilia. A large lawn covered with numerous large trees made for a park like setting to show off entrant’s vehicles which created a great photograph opportunity.
On our arrival back into Te Awamutu our vehicles were put on display at Selwyn Park behind the Te Awamutu i-Site. This drew a large number of local public who were very interested in our cars.
Saturday 22nd, the third day, and only competitive part of the rally was held; the rally took us through Matangi to the timed section on our way through Tauwhare and Scotsman’s Valley to the Showgrounds in Morrinsville where a picnic and public display was organised. We were joined by the Vintage Tractor & Machinery Club who also put their machines on display for the day.
During the day a gymkana was held, and this, together with the timed section gained a winner for the rally.
The Antique Store at Ohaupo was a popular port of call on the return trip. There was always a honk and wave as vehicles passed each other.
Sunday 23rd , the final rally day. A run through pleasant Waikato countryside to Hamilton Gardens for our final display. After a Devonshire morning tea we were given instructions which took us on a “walking rally” through the themed gardens. These were certainly well worth the walk and are a credit to Hamilton City.
Delicious hot lamb & mint sauce rolls were served for lunch – a grand effort by the cooks on the day.
That afternoon many entrants visited the Hamilton Classic Museum before returning to Te Awamutu.
The Awards Dinner & Prizegiving was held at Rally Headquarters. We were entertained by local artists, two VCC ladies who ‘restored’ a vehicle in a matter of minutes. I don’t know why you fellows take so long to do the same job?? The guys weren't to be outdone either and had us in fits of laughter.
Congratulations Waikato VCC. This was an event to be proud of, the members of the HCCNZ were happy to be part of it.