Destination Cambridge, for the National TR rally. Neil Manchester in his recently restored 1958 TR3 and Margaret & Russell Dale in a 1967 TR4A.

Met Neil in Temuka for the drive to Picton, but along the way received a message that because of cyclone Gabrielle all ferry crossings had been cancelled for the following day! Decided to go on standby for the 2 crossings that evening and were thrilled to get on the second one. Cancelled our accommodation but after sailing out into the sounds the Harbour Master turned the ship around so had to phone our accommodation (after midnight) to say we were returning. Luckily our beds were still available.

The Interislander were amazing and allowed about 30 passengers sleep in the terminal, fed them from the ships canteen, brought fish & chips and had a barbecue going for sausages in bread plus tea and coffee. Our accommodation lady made us cheese scones for morning tea, brought someone a birthday cake to share and the following day produced a pavolva. She even allowed extras to sleep on the couches. Can highly recommend the Piwaka Lodge.

After spending so much time in and out of the Interisland terminal where the staff were so good, Russell went out and brought a couple of boxes of icecreams for them. After some more standbys finally arrived in Wellington a couple of days later at 4am in pouring rain. As we had missed our next 2 nights accommodation decided to drive directly to Cambridge that day.

With driving through the pouring rain and lights on Neil’s battery gave out at the lights in Levin. Luckily for him a police car arrived at the same time and the officer (what was he doing out at 5.45am?) gave him a push off the road!! We waited for McDonalds to open at 6am for breakfast then the weather cleared and had a good trip north.

Triumph TR Rally 2023 - North Island

For the next 2 weeks we had beautiful hot sunny days with almost all the roads cleared from the cyclone that we were to go on. There were about 60 TRs on the rally (4 from Christchurch gave up trying to cross the strait). A meet and greet the first night where Neil met up with one of his relations, also on the rally, then the following day was the concours judging and public display.

There were 4 classes and Russell entered in the Standard class which was for cleanliness, condition, finishes and originality. He entered mainly to find out more about the car, which he did. Was told that if he had brushed out the dust and dirt from under the bonnet he could have had a 1st instead of the 2nd he received.

Had a lovely lunch at the velodrome cafe and then were lucky enough to see the NZ cycle team practising. Friday night were taken to Ross Bros museum that had a collection of muscle cars, vintage trucks lots of memorability and very large earthmoving equipment. Most interesting.

Dinner was at a centre that had landscaped gardens to wander through and self serve food stations. Saturday was the tour day – enough fuel for 200 miles. Narrow winding roads with some great scenery and bush. Apart from a times sections we also had to spot the gumboots and records the names or coloured tops. Quite tricky when they had 2 or 3 close together. Neil was lucky to have a local navigator so unlike us he didn’t take a wrong turn! A lovely picnic lunch at a country school and “throw the gumboot close to the marker”. Mine went as high as it did distance! Also a photo competition – who would know what the inside of a car ash tray looked like.

Triumph TR Rally 2023 - North Island

The evening meal & award presentation was at Lake Karapiro. A beautiful setting. Sunday had a great lunch at a property near Te Awamutu where the owner had a collection of vintage cars then it was off on the start of the after rally tour. This took us from Raglan to Thames, Coromandel, Whitianga, Whangamata and Taupo.
This was a free wheeling tour so pleased ourselves between evening catchups. We visited Hampton Downs raceway and the racing driver Kenny Smith’s workshop, and were privileged to see his private collections of trophies and memorabilia. What a nice man. Said he was having his last race this month at 81.

Also visited another workshop where the chap was making cars and inserting large horsepower motors in them (I think for people who have too much money!). Also watched some young boy racers racing/drifting on a wet track – great skill. Did the Eyefull Tower rail trip in Coromandel which was great. Took a side trip the Athenree to visit a cousin and stayed the night with my sister in Paraparaumu on the way home. All in all a great trip and amazing to see how quickly the roads had been cleared from the cyclone. As holidays go it was over all too quickly.

Margaret Dale