Being an honorary member of the Old Rand Renault Club I am delighted to give you a piece of our doings and screwings in NZ. The articles will be in chapters as it happened since I arrived. This is part one and I hope you will find it interesting.
Some useless info – members from the RRC in NZ are as follows:
- Me, Frans Cronje
- Harry Thiart
- Johan Van Heerden
- Jan Venter
- Theo Senekal
- Hennie Nel
On my arrival here in July 2001 I was introduced to a NZ'er Ross Webster by Harry Thiart. They met coincidential through Ross' son when he saw Harry driving in his R10. That was the beginning of a very good friendship and at that time Ross was busy building a Dauphine for racing in clubsport.
The Dauphine was intended to get a 1100 R8 motor transplant. This motor was out of a boat that was in a class of boats raced in NZ previously. All had the same 1100 engines with a single Weber Sidedraught carb and a bit of a branch as well. I managed to talk him out of the 1100 and into a 1400 and then I got the job to build the engine as well.
Armed with some RA5 cams from SA I set of on the motor build excersise. This motor turned out to be a great success and with on going development it finally got the Dauphine to do a 0-100 in 7.6 seconds. Now that is not a bad time for a non-crossflow motor. Reliability was very good as well.
Ross entered the Targa NZ Rally (I think it was in 2003/4) and he got a 4th in Class that year. He entered again the following year and moved up to 2nd in Class. Then he entered a series run by the Fiat Club called the Toyo Tyres series that was based on a championship of all rounders. It involved Hillclimbs, Gynkhanas, Sprint, track and a quarter mile drag. He came 2nd overall the 1st year, liked it so much and entered again the following year where he got a 2nd again, only to be beaten by a Honda V-Tec the first time and another 16 valver the next year. What made this car so exceptional was the fact that during the 4 years of racing all events entered were completed. On the last event entered in the 2nd Toyo Tyre Series, on the last run and the last corner he rolled the car and it was written off.
The Targa NZ is an international Tarmac Classic Car Rally that accepts some modern entries as well. It stretches over 6 days on the most fascinating and scenic roads you can imagine. Do yourself a favour and Google it to get more facts about it. It averages around 55-60 special stages that adds up to around 600-700kms of racing and then additional to that are the touring in between stages that adds up to a total of 2400kms. It is unequalled in the world and very much a tough endurance race as well.