Larry does Taupo

Larry and the Team at Taupo 1000 off road race 2013

As Pete would say it’s there to be done so we did it again!!!

Larry in full flight...

Well the team members were Norm, Brendan, Murray, Kayla, Laura, Sam, Kurtis and me (Glen) plus Mike Holmes (South Island).  Also can’t forget Larry The Land Rover.

Well in a race like the Taupo 1000 there a million jobs to be done, we replaced tightened and straightened anything that looked like it needed to be done. First up to help the handling we put twin shocks on the rear to match the front we fitted a sway bar to the rear as well.  This proved to make a massive difference for us and the truck. Secondly we fitted a second fuel tank which carried about 60lts so with that all up about 140lt so we only had one fuel stop. The big debate was how to get the fuel from one tank to the other so we came up with a ball valve on a choke cable.  This cable was pulled on the third lap which worked bloody well.  Great Kiwi number 8 wire stuff.

Thursday

First up when we arrived we had a team effort to put up the Hella tent.   It was the wrong way around then too close to the boundary so this little pitching exercise went on for a while but we finally got it sorted. Then the big drive around the course in my Disco 3 on directional tyres and it rained for the week prior which may not be have been a great mix. Well we just about got stuck about 10 minutes into the course with about 50kms to go drifting wheel spinning all around the circuit this took about 4 hours long trip. Tried out a few buttons is the Disco so was happy.

Then scrutineering time came.  One guy checks all paper work the second guy checks seat belts fire extinguishers our race suits, helmets.  We also need to carry food survival blanket.  Then it was brakes then our new fuel tank, which failed on not having the right breather so we had some sorting to do before the hot laps on Friday.  It was nice to see that a few other entries also failed in this area.

Friday

As you do, watch team NZ race on Friday morning then off to Repco for more breather pipe we decide to also put a 20lt washer bottle on to assist with the windscreen duties, then roll out to the track for the recheck and the practice and the hot laps. On arrival we find that three spectators have been injured due to an accident during the hot laps by the start and finish line. By the time we went back to scrutineering for the recheck we missed the practice laps, so we waited for the hot laps for class 2. Out we go for our hot laps we had 15 minutes to produce a fast time but not to be.  Our result was 12/15 hey but there 1000kms to catch up.  During the top ten shoot out 1 buggy didn’t finish and were already out before the race even started.  Two vehicles in our class also got moved out of our class due to modifications.  So we are up 3 places already.  We also saw a demo on what not to do on the huge jump at the start finish as one buggy flew rolled and all four wheels detached.  Great Youtube footage! As they say in the movies. “White men don’t jump”.  This now became, “remember Larry, Land Rover’s don’t jump!”

Saturday

Well we started 113/130 on the grid; we had to be all belted in and in position at 7.30am.  Lots of the other class 2 trucks were close by.  The start was a bit hairy, as you’re trying to pass as they are trying to pass you without hitting anyone, not an easy feat but we did it. There was bumper to bumper traffic and hard to get going it took till about the 5km mark before the entries started to separate out a bit.

 I did the first 4 laps with some massive carnage to be seen with cars in trees some completely upside down broken suspension no wheels etc this must have been 10/15 out on the first 4 laps.  Two of the top vehicles were out by lap 2. So the first three laps were stop and start as in some place no passing areas.

Then with a quick chat to Kurtis about taking over the driving I made the big call and bailed and let Kurtis drive and Brendan navigate for the last part of the race.  I have been told that I did a fair bit of pacing during this time.  The boys did really well; they did often remind me that they set a faster lap time. As one radio broadcast through the RT said to Kurtis as a reminder “big Land Rovers don’t jump!!!” as we watch with horror the big Dodge Ram was getting so much air time over the jump and on landing we saw a huge amount of smoke come out, then it rolled to a halt on the track.  We found out after the driver had knocked himself out and bent the chassis up 150mm. All over for the Ram.  Another place up!

 The boys brought Larry home in one piece a quick look found the hub seal leaking grease and the gear box making a strange noise, so in to the Hella tent and off with the wheel, hub etc source a hub seal from Brian from the good old Land Rover Club.

Sent the girls off into town with a shopping list to see the very helpful man at Repco.  Then we dropped the oil in the gear box replaced with some new oil and Moreys additive, clean the truck, refuel and all ready for Sunday. Off back to the house for tea and another early night.

Sunday

Well we moved from 113 to 56 on the grid as a lot of the top contenders were now out Ranna, Tony Mc Call just two of the top contenders. So we headed off for the final day, me driving and Brendan was the navigator. The scary part on day 2 is you end up with some really fast trucks that have been fixed overnight behind you.  Our plan or idea was to try to keep a good pace and to try and complete 9 laps. Refuel once, have fingers crossed that we have no issues.

 Same as Saturday slow start but as things sort themselves out we were getting quicker and quicker even to the point of passing a few cars and some buggy’s that were actually moving and we also used our horn to let them know that Larry’s coming though. On the end of our 4th lap on the road section as we took our foot off the gas and Larry lurched sideways, not a nice feeling.

On the way we called the team (yes we had phone reception) to advise them about the problem and that we were coming in for a check and refuel. By now Marcel had turn up from Mamaku 4wd (Land Rover mechanic extraordinaire) who was waiting to also to lend a hand. While refueling they found the trailing arm bush had blown itself to bits.  With a quick meeting and summing up that we won’t be able to handle anything with speed it would be a good idea to change it. This took about 15 minutes.

 We change the navi to Kurtis and set off trying to get to 9 laps but unfortunately we fall short by 7 minutes.  So we brought Larry in for a well-deserved rest.  The event was done and dusted and we were a very happy team.  We did what we set out to do and that was bring it home in one piece.

When we put the boy on the trailer (Larry not Glen) we were lucky we didn’t get the 9th lap in as we spotted the shock turrets were cracked at the front on both side.

At prize giving we did miss out on the trophy part of things, but that’s how it goes but we did finish our second Taupo 1000. We did get nominated for the best presented team and made the final 3 not bad out 130 teams!

Saturday started 113/130, Sunday started 56/130, final result 41/130 and 7th in class.  Pretty humble when you looked at some of the trucks that were on that start grid.

Top speed 129kph average 54kph fast lap 47minutes. 

I would like to thank all the team for all the hard work they put in over the event and prior weeks. We had a great weekend and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Also like to thank Land Rover Spares, Mamaku 4WD, Auckland 4x4 and Mainland Rover for all their help.

~~ From Larry’s Dad -  Glen