2010 Energywise Rally - Day Four Blog by Geoff Bryan
The final day of the 2010 AA EnergyWise Rally and as all drivers were due to start the conversations were still dominated by the first session of day 3 that had wound its tortuous way through those Hawke's Bay hills.
Along the way yesterday I had passed the world's most meaningless road sign, which read "Winding road - next three kms", as if the previous 120kms hadn't been exactly the same..! As was mentioned to me over dinner last night, some of the straight bits weren't even as long as the car.
By now, the final results of the competition were being eagerly anticipated by many, with the announcement almost meriting a puff of white smoke.
Having missed that day at school when they taught calculus and statistics, I was not among those desperate to get at the results each evening. However, no-one was more surprised than I was (because the print was so small, it might as well have been in Arabic and you needed the intellect of Ernest Rutherford to make sense of it all) when Honda team-mates pointed out that my co-driver Michelle and I were actually doing much better than expected. This could, of course, be directly related to the original expectations being lower than Rodney Hide's poll ratings.
Honda as a team overall, were very excited by the way the results were shaping up with just one day to go.
So to day 4, and perhaps the route organisers had taken pity on us after day 3 - because the final day was the most straightforward of all.
A run from Rotorua to Tauranga and then on to Auckland.
The cloudy, overcast conditions soon gave way to steady rain and Michelle did a great job of keeping our "litres per 100kms" well down over the hilly section.
I took over at Waihi to bring the Honda Accord back to Auckland - I must confess I was concerned about getting into time trouble after the previous day when I was hit with a penalty for being a fraction late into Napier (a gentle note to Official Car drivers - I still think three hours 44 was a bit stiff as the set time for that stage..!)
And now it's all over - four days of lifting the foot as you approach the brow of a hill and allowing the momentum to carry you over, four days of making sure the windows were up if we were going at more than 50kmh to reduce drag (thank goodness it wasn't hot), four days of remembering to coast up to traffic lights, and slip it into neutral while sitting there.
When the suggestion was put to me that I might like to drive in this event, it was stressed to me that it would be good fun tied into a good cause.
Was it competitive ? Only in the sense that Michael Schumacher was competitive.
Was it taken seriously ? Only in the sense that Ron Dennis would not have scrutinsed the result sheet any harder than many of those taking part.
At the time of writing, the final results of the AA EnergyWise Rally are not known.
Therefore, whether there is a blog tomorrow depends entirely on how well we do...! To be continued (fingers crossed...)