2010 Energywise Rally - Final Blog by Geoff Bryan

Energywise Rally - Final Blog - Friday 15th October
By Geoff Bryan

So we didn't win our class and while I might have hinted yesterday that non-recognition in this area might force a re-think about whether I should write a blog, it would be churlish of me not to put in the finishing touches just because we might have depressed the accelerator once or twice too often in covering 1,763 kilometres over four days.
 
The glittering prizes were handed out last night at a function in Auckland that was expertly held together by TV3's Shaun Summerfield and those who were most fuel-efficient were rewarded. If you had suggested to Michelle, Jake and I on Monday morning in Auckland that by the end of the rally we would be in the running for an award, we would have laughed at you....if you had made the suggestion on Monday evening after we had hauled ourselves through some appalling weather on the way to Wanganui, we would have assessed you as certifiable.
 
However, from day two it all started to fall into place. For a trio of novices, we were delighted to get close and (Honda - please note) now all we want is the chance to put into practice what we know now when the next rally comes around in 2012.
 
It was the best of nights for Honda with The Supreme Award, which was for the car that cost the least to complete the Rally, including fuel and user charges, going to the new hybrid vehicle, the Honda Insight S, driven by Honda employees Ronnie Cheung and Erin Kelly, with a total cost of $147.83 which, after a quick calculation in my head,  works out roughly to 8.3851389 cents a kilometre. Their reward was a very early start this morning to appear on TVNZ's "Breakfast" show, which they did at 8:20 - I was delighted to see that they followed my informal media training session with them last night to the letter! Well done guys - isn't it great to be able to go to work and not have to say that awards don't matter (and what does it say for the Honda work ethic that Ronnie didn't get a day off, even if she was a star of the event..!)
 
Graeme Meyer, Honda NZ's Head of Marketing was delighted for two reasons - the win was a result for all the hard work to develop affordable vehicles for everyday use and it helped to off-set the considerable flak he was taking for having ended up in Dannevirke in day three - their embarrassment not helped by Gull's Dave Bodger - who is to understatement what dolphins are to mountain climbing and who announced the results each night - describing their detour as the biggest mistake in the history of the rally....although perhaps my recall is hazy and the word "mistake" is not the one he used (Memo to Honda - next time don't put an actor and a marketer in the same car).
 
My memories in the end are of the challenges to be overcome and how addictive the whole process became, and of the camaraderie between crews. To my Honda team-mates, and those drivers and crew members from the other teams that I spoke to, it was a pleasure to share four days with like-minded people who just enjoy cars and driving and trying to do the very best they can do with what is put in front of them.
 
My appreciation goes to the sponsors - AA, EECA and Gull - long may Gull be the only sponsor I can think of that is involved in an event that encourages people to use less of their product.
 
And my grateful thanks to Honda for the chance to try something different.
 
Roll on 2012.

Click here for Final results

Day Four images: http://www.flickr.com/photos/54679986@N05/