It was the first time the Shitbox Rally was held in New Zealand and an Aussie couple helped keep wayward participants on the road.
Regular rally participants, Michael Cole and Leah Flowers of Fishermans Paradise travelled over the ditch to offer their services as a super support crew for the first NZ event.
They took in magnificent scenery and traversed sealed and dirt roads in a seven-day round trip from and back to Auckland on the north island.
Michael said the pair was used to travelling in a beat up old car, so it was a pleasure to be travelling in comfort with the support crew.
A mechanic, he is often called upon to assist other participants in the Aussie outback events, however, he said there were fewer problems in New Zealand, with only four cars towed during the week.
“The need of support teams was very limited and overheating cars was the major issue caused by cracked radiators, split hoses or blocked radiators,” he said.
“There were a few flat tyres and a car that hit an embankment on dirt road in the rain and needed the front pulled back out bonnet straightened and radiator repaired.”
“Every car that over heated made it to the end and only one car died – a Peugeot - when its automatic transmission died.”
Michael and Leah were one of seven support crews that travelled with 62 teams, two medical support teams and production crews.
Michael said the first stopover was Inglewood with a view of Mount Taranaki, while day two saw the rally head along the Forgotten World Highway.
“It took us through some fantastic mountain passes and spectacular scenery as well as a visit to Horopito motors, a wrecking yard set on acres of land,” he said.
“It was a time warp back, with vintage cars and parts as far as you could see.”
Following an overnight night stop over at Woodville on the river, day three saw the ralliers head to the east coast to Hastings, along some narrow winding dirt roads.
Day four was superhero dress up day when the group headed back to Rotorua along some winding mountain passes and dirt roads with a visit to Huka Falls.
The group then took winding mountain passes and dirt roads to arrive at Tolaga Bay for a stop over at Hauiti Marae.
Michael said they were greeted at the Maori meeting ground with a welcoming ceremony before having a tour of the meeting house.
The group headed to Opotiki and into a low pressure system caused by a cyclone passing the mainland and then back to Auckland to the finish line.
Michael said the rally to date has raised $332,409 for the NSW Cancer Council and $58,202 for the Cancer Society of NZ.
Check out the gallery of photos from their trip above.
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