Things that disturb sleep, or,… just ramblings

Here’s one for ya;

I’m heading through Colorado / Kansas.
The freeway is just going forever across the prairie.
There is nothing but recently planted wheat/barley in every direction, not a tree to any horizon, nor house. Just some huge grain silos, but appearing tiny, so far away.
Alongside the freeway is a “county road”, dirt, parallel to the freeway which goes to the horizon ahead, and behind me.
Except that it is green, it is desolate.
On the dirt road, walking, are two guys, with raggedy back packs and grab bags.
At 70mph, I’ve come and gone before it gets thought through.
I have found this to be oddly disturbing.
Where did they come from?
Where are they going?
How did they get there?
There’s no car on the dirt road, no helicopter or camera drone, so it isn’t an advert being filmed.
What would drive you to carry your possessions 20, 30,50 or more kms along a dirt road in the full sun?

Maybe they are hiking.
I’d think they’d find a more interesting hike, but,…… what do I know. Its 5 days ago, but it sits in my mind.


A day or two earlier, I passed a train. Wagons at the back are double size of the ones at the front. The amount of ft/lbs torque for getting this rolling is _________
There were more loco’s at the back, which is some way around the bend.


Musings (of the maniac)

After driving past the Deeth Starr Valley (as alluded to in yesterdays post),  my  highly amused mind went wandering, imagining Mr Scott (Scottie in Startrek), Mel Gibson (as Braveheart), Billy Connelly or Sean Connery (as James Bond, “007 to my frrriendsss”) cast with a part in Star Wars, but playing typecast as their previous famous roles.

Well, maybe you needed to be there!

You know you’re out of Auckland when:
you set the gps for Salt Lake City and the first instruction is “after 832 kilometers, take the exit”. Just for fun, I googled the instruction list for the whole trip, to see how many instructions there were.
Only two lines; exit after 832 kms.
Then;  “at 800 metres, your destination is on the left”

– Driving through Wyoming, listening to the radio and on comes; The Exponents!
– Utah Mountain radio announces the breakfast show, at 12:30pm
– A full size Norman castle, built on grassland fronting a small artificial lake (large pond?), in the Kansas plains. (And painted yellow!)


America: The Emeryson emigration!

The US Tour  (click for a map)

The trouble with looking at maps of the USA is, you need perspective!

Generally, we make assumptions about the distances from place to place based on where we live. In  Utah, there are big gaps between towns.

The Salt lake that  hosts the Bonneville speed event. Its 45 miles in a bullet straight line across the salt (75kms!). Then there is another 13 miles across the flats to the side of the valley. Its bloody MILES and miles on either side to anywhere else. It looked like Salt Lake City was about 10 miles away. Try 114 (175kms)!The 10hrs driving between Reno  Nevada and Salt Lake City Utah doesn’t go through too many big towns.

Winnamucca NV was one , but probably about the size of Taihape or Temuka.

Then there is Wyoming. A MOST beautiful state, but quite a drive to Laramie (remember the 60s series on TV?). Left my Stetson at home but found a cowboy bar anyhow (as you do). You start to get a bit breathless when doing anything resembling work but hadn’t realized that we are about 6000ft above sea level since Reno. The highest pass through the Rockies was 8600ft and lotsa snow still on the ground.


Anyhow, enough of the boring rubbish.

What about this place?


Who d’you reckon lives up there?

(yes, its the opportunity for witty repartee in the comments).

Off I go. More soon.

Cheers and ciao

Well,…… I meant to get on this this a while ago, but,……

I guess motor racing got in the way……..

Jeez, where do we start; quick recap?

Fly, drive, strip car, drive, go racing at Monaco (still can hardly believe that), then drive, race, break, fix, drive, race, drink wine, beer, honey moon my beautiful and much appreciated wife, race some more, and finish off a wonderful year with a fabulous and “memorable for life”  run at Goodwood  and a wild fang in the wet at Spa Francorchamp.


Then bundled up the wee beast to come back to New Zealand for the 5th leg of the 60th Jubilee Tour

6 weekends, 6 race meetings, the length of the country to traverse.

No worries!.

A fabulous contingent of good buggers came from the UK, Denmark, The Netherlands, Italy, USA, Canada and of course, our good mates from Australia.


For myself, it was a brilliant tour.

The Wee Warrior was a bit upset with me from time to time, with lots of tiny items breaking or failing just at the critical moment, but without those, where would there be a story to tell? Disasters read so much more exciting than,…. “got a good start and was never headed to win by 200metres”.

Quite the contrary, Jac Nellerman and I had great battles for race after race, joined by Mike Sexton who was a formidable challenge  before the unfortunate problems that befell the Gemini in the south island.


Long and short, another experience to live for and one I will treasure, and which meant we had to do more.

Yes fans,……. it’s a disease, an addiction (but legal, hee hee).

Onward ho, leg 6. The USA and Canada.

(next episode coming soon)

So,…. I’ve had a rest now.

Well, that is what some would say.
September to April. Birthdays, Christmas, race meetings and matters of import to attend. Dog washed, Ollie shaved, Children paid. Done! Time to go and play again, but first, a recap.

I got home from the trip of a lifetime in September 2015, to the happy home and hearth with my wonderful wife Kim and big hairy beastie (son Zac) , not to mention wee hairy beastie Biskit (Brusselois Griffin/Maltese terrier cross) and then the surprise when our beautiful Sophie came back from Germany to visit for my birthday.

Quite frankly, it was so very special and more appreciated for having been away so long.
I declined to race at the Ice-Breaker meeting the weekend after I arrived (given my 5 months away) and got stuck in instead to odds and sods around the house and of course a few jobs in the workshop! I had to get on and organise my 60th birthday as well and had the MOST fun at a birthday party anyone could expect to have. Brilliant fun, especially with good friends coming from all over, including Michele and Marty Bullock, all the way from Perth WA.
My mob; Sophie, moi, Zachary and my gorgeous and generous Kim celebrating my 60th. Danced my ‘ol feet off all night. Loved it.

Back to racing, I got the AlfaSud ready for a run in January 2016 .
New oils, clutch, tyres and lets have some fun. What could go wrong? She had been running so sweetly for the last 4 meetings and surely she isn’t jealous of the Elfin FJ.

Well,…. the bottom pulley decided it would prefer to race on its own.
The cam gears and belts all left with it. A bit like a walkout by the miners really and the engine stopped (really quickly). 1x head, 16 valves and a near new block can now leave the workshop!


For the next event, the New Zealand Festival of Motor Racing (NZ Festival of Motor Racing) I thought I’d get the Brabham out for a play.
Did I mention that as soon as I got back, a Brabham BT21 called out to me in my sleep and I had to go and rescue it (from 5 years of hibernation?)
Our friend Michael Parakowhai trying the Brabham out for size.
Well,….. pulling out for the first lap of practice, the gear selector broke. OK. Fixed that!
Next session, the welch plug in the head ‘popped out’ and 6 litres of water also left (without a leave pass). A new head gasket, welch plug and help from the irrepressibly cheerful Peter Boel saw me start the motor up at about 10pm Thurs prior to qualifying/racing on Friday.
Head gasket didn’t like me/us and tried to leave (everything is trying to leave!!) but only got halfway out of the back of the block before all the water went with it (again) and for once, Ollie conceded defeat!
Yes fans, the bastard got me down!
But only for a few minutes and then I had a cup of tea and went to play with other folks cars and problems.

February rolls in. The weather is sunny and warm, pool is nice, wine plentiful cool and rich, attitudes good. (It IS a great place to live here). AlfaSud in bits.
Shall I ‘give it a crack’.  Suppose a man should eh?
Got stuck into the spare parts and old bits and bobs bin to look for race AlfaSud parts.
Hmmm,… some half racing heads, a used high compression piston, a couple sets of used rings, and a used but serviceable block.
Hahahaha. Yes tax dodgers, we can do this. Give it a crack indeed.
A week and a day later, we are fired up and running with the cobbled together but  sweetly running AlfaSud, albeit using standard Alfa valves, springs and hydraulic camshaft. To the track and with the limiter set at 7200 instead of the usual 8400rpm, we had a splendid weekend, the White Witch running in 2 grids for 2 qualifying and 6 races over the weekend and not a single part tried to depart or otherwise leave the car or me for the whole time.
Perfect!! Good car!  Go to bed now!
(She is parked up on the hoist to await my return from Season II Europe).

The Jubilee Season 2016.
I leave on 24th April to prepare the ‘Wee Warrior’ for Monaco Historic.
What an opportunity! Seven Kiwis are on the trip to Europe this year, all with Formula Juniors. Five will be at Monaco and six at Pau and Dijon! Keep an eye out for us, the Union Jack with 4 red stars is our flag, in the pits and on the cars. Come and say Hi. We love to chat with you, especially if you are a reader of this rambling missive. nz-flag2-flagz-co-nz
For now, I need to go and pack that bag; spare main and big end bearings, wheel nuts and bearings, head gaskets and timing light. All manner of things so much more important than an extra pair of jeans or loafers. Priorities people, its just a matter of priorities!

See you soon, ciao for now.

Zandvoort (yes finally)

20150824_112455One for you Ronnie.
Apparently this is where you get off

20150823_191828Yep, that is Schlob Street.

Team Information Historic Grand Prix 2015 V2

But on to the good stuff.
Am in my hotel at Heathrow and gotta be outa here in an  hour.

This is what they call the bonus issue. No frills, no frippery but all action.
So,… it is fast n dirty today.
A shame because the Zandvoort experience is one of the big highlights of this trip.

Fast, flowing, quite difficult to get right, exciting, (did I mention fast?)  and the people and crowds are among the very best on the trip. Terrific place. If you can only ever get here to watch, “Give it a crack!”

Videos tell more that my blurb and I gotta run and jump, so, …. turn up the volume and settle in for 10 minutes.

The start; The 995 cc advantage
I did say advantage?????  Really?

Mid race.
Settled down, chasing the Lotus 18s. A hot lap of Zandvoort, starting just after entering the main straight
Luc and Colin in the 18s

Final 2 laps.
There is more to the story for the intervening 10 laps, but that is for another day.
Enjoy this.
Hot HOT laps

Last but not least;

The most wonderful Emery extended family that came to visit and watch the car at Brands Hatch.

To all of you, my thanks and my hope that one day you can re-unite the car with an Emery driver.
It would be fitting that one of the you fine four youngsters have a crack at this.
Stay in touch. I’m always around at


A few meanderings of a mind on the run.

  1. Green Power.

    The electric landscape
     .The drive from Austria in to Hungary had mile after mile of this vista.
    Make your own judgement.
    Passed a truck carrying just two blades, fitted to an extended long tray about 70ft long.
    These are a LOT bigger than the ones up on the hill at Palmerston North or widespread through the UK.
    Electric Landscape 2
    Try and judge the size of it by the crane works.
    In the forests, they tower up over the tallest mature trees. It is like an Invasion of the Tripods.
    The tower itself is (I guess) 9-10 metres diameter at the base and about 60-70 metres up to the generator, which has the blades spinning at a 20m radius above and around that.
    Hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of them, on the plains, in the forests, everywhere.

  2. A Black Blade.

    Damn but I thought this boat was just so outrageously stylish, I had to put it in again.
    20150813_154252A slightly different view of the boat that Rhienhardt and Burkhard built. So sexy. So black you can’t see it properly.
    Cool? Like a liquid nitrogen Icebox, so cool it burns.

  3. Euro drivers….

    Actually, drivers seem to me, to be much the same worldwide.
    20150616_113517Old, cheerful and unshaven!
    * I feel the pressure wave hit the van a few times as cars come hurtling down the autobahn at 240-250kph.
    The Big Yellow feels it and it makes for a bit of a lurch to the right.
    The closing speed on 100kph traffic is ridiculous.
    This day there was 3 lanes, a lot of traffic, and trucks that keep pulling out at 90kph to overtake the slow guy.
    So when the black X5 was delay braking and head light flashing a line of 10 cars in the fast lane doing 110kph (as though they can magically disappear),….
    …. a car pulled out round the overtaking truck that had just cut him up,……
    …. and it all got a little desperate for Mr X5.
    Door handles, mirrors and miscellaneous bits of trim flying in the air as the X5 driver leaned on the median barrier.

    * Was stuck in a traffic jam today. About an hour and a half, crawling.
    Bunches of cars started driving up the shoulder, ostensibly to take an offramp about 2.5kms up the road. Of course, they were jamming back into the lane I was in.
    No sweat, I’m on holiday, but,……….. I thought “they are all bloody BMW and Merc drivers”.
    C’mon Ollie, that’s just a prejudice, a cliche. Stick to hard facts.So I counted;
    Got to 15 all of which were Merc, BMW, Audi or VW in black before a big white Merc showed up number 16.
    I laughed so hard I lost count.

    The question is then, what is it that drives the drivers of the Big Black Donner and Blitzen Bombers?
    };>))   Apologies to any “Bomber” pilots among my fine friends and readers who may feel slighted.
    I’m sure you are all wonderfully considerate and polite, handsome and virile, full of grace and fresh of breath, who pick up after your dogs and stop for old men, ladies and small children crossing the street.  (Yeah right)

  4. The Big Bang (in Budapest)

    20150819_130915I have come  to really like this town.
    The Buda up on the hill overlooking the Danube is spectacular and dominates the vista.
    The Pest across the river and very flat, is even more grand in many ways, large and small.
    This statue representing the Buda and the Pest, separated  by the Duna (Danube), was in a nondescript and overgrown park up near the Citadel. There is lots of lovely art just tucked away here.

    I was fortunate to be here for the celebration on Aug 20 of over 1000 years of the Hungarian state.
    They put a display on of a few crackers. The video is the last 3 minutes of a 30 minute extravaganza that had two parallel and simultaneous sets coming off the river, while another pair of sets came off the Citadel.
    The colours of the Hungarian flag are Green, White and Red, which featured strongly in the display.
    Big Bangers
    (click link for video)

  5. What a cool van!

    Just a beautiful thing