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

Cars in sheds

Well, hardly call it a shed, and,… more than just “cars”

20150813_144103As I was leaving Prague, I touched base with Burkhard List about visiting to see the sister car to the Emeryson Experimental ELFIN Mk1, the Ford 105E powered Mk2.
And off to Bad Erlach in Austria was I, off like a long yellow streak.

Burkhard and his father Rheinhardt (photo above) gave me a tour of the many cars they have in the garages at the headquarters of the List company.
There, they design and build custom fitouts for top tier boats (well yachts actually), planes, or boardrooms.
A couple of truly top guys.
If you read this guys, thanks SO much again for the hospitality and generous tour of the garages.
And Yep,…. that is a 3 litre 6 cylinder Alfa that does get a bit of road use.

(click or double click photos to get the full size version, then use the ‘back’ button or arrow to return to the blog)

They gave me a tour which I wasn’t expecting and quite frankly, simply overwhelmed me.
I was expecting to look at the Elfin Mk2, which I did, but,………… the 30 or more other cars we looked at rolled me over.
So many cars and in such delicious states of originality, reconstruction or patina’d all the way from the 30’s, 40’s or 50’s, each with its turn waiting for attention scheduled ‘all in good time’.
And it’ll be done maintaining as much of the original as it is possible to do.
Alloy bodywork showing the bings and bashes of 50 or 60 years in battle? Check!
Original chassis rails, springs/shocks and wheels. Check!
Fabulous and so much in the spirit of how we enjoy it in NZ. “As it was, so it shall be”

Where would we like to start,… the Amilcar(s), Fraser Nash(s), the supercharged Alfa, Alta engined GP car(s), Osca sports, Emeryson GP car or the Emeryson Sportster?
Didn’t even photograph the numerous F3 500’s and assorted heavily stripped cars.

How about 20150813_143447the Alta straight 8 (?), or, 20150813_152012 the Bugatti 51 straight 8.
Or the Amilcar, 1500cc 4 cyl supercharged 20150813_152602

Rheinhardt is such an enthusiast, he just can’t stop himself saving more cars and I doff my cap most respectfully to this wonderful fellow and his son Burkhard (now running the List ship), who only occasionally gets to exercise some of these wonderful beasts on the track.
I really should offer to help out there, make myself a bit more available.
With this Emeryson GP? 20150813_144921 Or, the wee tease on the right.
What could that be?20150813_145044
First correct answer wins a chocolate fish.
20150813_145333 Mmmmmmmm.
It was all quite intoxicating, especially after a hustling 4 1/2 hr drive in the non A/C equipped Transit from Prague in 35′ heat. I can’t believe that I didn’t get photos of some of the grand cars, but there you go,….

Properly motorised, but not a motorcar.
Whaddya reckon about this?? 20150813_154247
Completely designed and built in house as a marketing and promotional exercise.
Carbon fibre mated to mahogany.
About 30 – 33 ft, two primary seats and a pop up dickie seat.

This is so ultimate cool. It is like the Samurai sword of speedboats.
A breathtaking design and executed so perfectly.
Retro Riva riviera speedster out of the 50’s, wrapped in 2015 high tech.

Styled and shaped so delicately with such a pure and high quality finish, it belongs in a gallery.
Except it also belongs in Burkhards garage for him to take his wife and kids out for the most stunning and show stopping Cote d’Azur outing.
Probably doesn’t hurt that Rheinhardt mentioned it is VERY loud with “some ridiculously large American V8 under the forward decking somewhere”. Oh YESSSS!

Righto boys, I’ve just got myself too excited again reliving the visit, so need to hit a cold shower.

But take this one with you.  20150813_152523
For when you want to appear (or disappear) with the ultimate in style and noise, how can you top a Delahaye?.
Isadora Duncan anyone?

Cheers n ciao for now

Comin Down Again

Ferrari Transporter   Merc Transporter
Uber Cool Transporters. Who sees the Ferrari, who sees the Transporter. Hahahaha. Same with the Merc

The adrenalin and the buzz of a race meeting ‘keeps on keeping on’ through the weekend.
There’s only the now and get on with it.
The past 5 weeks/weekends have been a blur and it has been a huge buzz to have done it.
MInd you, I also take my hat of to Iain Rowley and others like him who prep many cars, get several loaded into a truck and do the long drives and ferry crossings week after week AND make the return to England to make the repairs and collect an alternate car for customers.
There is an addictive element to it. You want it to kick in again. The urgency to prepare and get there (a one, two or three day drive?). The anxiety to learn a track you’ve never been to. Coming down is harder for the longer you’re ‘up’.
Its not easy being normal     };>))

Getting on the road again, I headed to Prague. no particular reason except that the beer is supposed to be good and I’d never been there before.
Or HAD I?  
Prague Old Square
The special clock in the Old Town Square looked rather familiar.

I suppose it was a part of the beer fueled blur of that Contiki Tour in 1980.
49 days of bus, booze and ABC (another bloody cathedral) which with 35 years of hindsight again raises the question of whether travel is wasted on the young.
Prague DOES have lovely beer and most reasonably priced too after France and the UK.
500ml of beer at NZ$3.50 is most attractive, especially served cool but not frozen at midday temperatures of 35’C.

But not for everybody!
Some need to suffer a little,… Hot_no shade_no beer here
Jeez. the look on that poor buggers face.
Uphill in the sun over St Stephens Bridge. Probably has been walking since 9am in Wencelas Square. Nobody with a cool cloth for his face or hot and dusty feet.
But wait!!!,…. hang_on_a_m.i.n.u.t.e.
Wasted Space There’s a real job going begging for this ‘waste of space’ who was also on the bridge.
Excuse the pun but I just couldn’t resist it.
Give the lazy beggar a squeege bottle of cool water and a few towels and he’d make a fortune!

Off to the side, the Kafka Museum.
Kafka Museum_Pacifist Duelling Pacifist duelling?
More likely just the old East West struggle put into perspective.

Nurburgring. Woo Yaaa.

If just the name of this place doesn’t give you a shiver, you probably haven’t got the history of ‘the ring’. In truth, we are racing the GP circuit, not the Nordschleif (??) but all the same, it is a helluva track.
Fast, flowing and with lovely up and down sections, it is a ball.
It seems to be that you get through the corners fast and ok, so try it faster.
And faster, until I guess it throws you over a fence.

20150807_121539A sample of the regular miscreants, especially Chris and Val Merrick, Iain Rowley, Michael Ashley Brown and Michael … (of the Lairy Fairy Escort fame), with Dietrich Merkel.

I have to make apologies here, because I made reference to the Lola (green and number 2) in the videos as being an Elva.
Aaaargghh. I know what to do. Give me the pistol. I’ll go outside now.

20150807_121252Lovely Faccioli.

And for Alfa fans (who have been a bit neglected, a caravan of cars!
20150806_104823 and a more unusual and particularly gorgeous one 20150806_190622 For sale at a price I didn’t want to ask but has a motor from a Tipo 33/3 apparently, although I thought that those were 4 valve and twin spark 20150806_190431

More time to tease before we get to race vids?
How about,…. 20150807_121301 the Rayberg. Floris-Jan’s beautifully rebuilt car which I chase a fair bit in the vids, with Chris Merrick’s “as sweet as sweet can be” Cooper T59 in background.
20150807_121309Alex Morton’s Ausper T3
20150807_123504Bruno Ferrari’s Branca with Danielo Saladini’s Taraschi behind.
Is this getting like old man’s porn?

Ok, race vids.
I split these into 3 sectors to get the size down to where I don’t need to be up till 2am downloading them. OK, so it took until 2:15am even in the smaller sizes.
Laps 1 and 2. Nurburgring Lurani 2015 R1 Lap 1 & 2

Laps 3,4,5.  Nurburgring Lurani 2015 R1 Lap 3,4,5

Laps 6,7,8. Nurburgring Lurani 2015 R1 Lap 6,7,8

Enjoy. All comments, Oooohs, Aaaaaahhhs, and Woooooaaahh’s appreciated.
For all the front engined boys at home, your cars are all competitive here. One way or another, there will be people to race with. I was racing this one with the ignition timing way off (like 20 degrees instead of 37 degrees advance).

In race 2, car much snappier with the timing right, but then lost a plug lead off the distributor cap just as I was about to have a crack at Danielo in the Taraschi so pulled in. We’d done three laps behind a safety car so the video is a bit dull. Hope you enjoy these even just 1/10th as much as I enjoyed making them.

Copenhagen Historic GP. (The race bit)

So good people, you have waited patiently.
The Copenhagen Historic Grand Prix.
I think it is worth waiting for.

Thanks again to Jac and his team for putting on such a wonderful show and to all the fine folk of Denmark who came out to support it.
They were a wonderful crowd and some with extraordinary knowledge of cars and the drivers of the day.

Arie Riis was on hand to help with camping allocation but regaled me with stories of his racing all manner of cars back in the day; in Denmark, the UK and around Europe.
He immediately suggested some mods I should make to the SU carb mountings on the Elfin.
20150731_204908 Jac Nellermann on the left, hosting us at the Roof Farm restaurant, Stedsans Pa Oestergro, with the FJ immigrants.
Also there, from the left, Elva 100 couple (sorry, mind a blank), our irrepressible Duncan Rabagliati, Graham and Mrs Barron, Dave Innes and lastly Karen and Richard Bishop-Miller (the same Karen who so generously provided life saving cups of tea in the morning after the night before).

I got adopted by a couple of families who became my local fan club, one each on Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully, they will send me some of the photos they took of the kids and the car, that I can share them here. There are a few Danish kids with NZ flags fixed to the back of their shirts who are now ‘good keen Kiwi kids’. With any luck, I’ll find a way to send them a Weetbix and a Marmite sandwich each.

I was laughing my head off at one point, as coming on to the bottom straight, before the cobblestoned chicane (bus stop?), there were 4 of the kids there on the left, leaping up and down (and apparently screaming) for me. Most touching and a helluva lot of fun meeting the family who got such a buzz out of it.
You Good Things!!

OK, the track, the race.

The track is very bumpy in places and in others it is just quite bumpy, but that’s the go on a street circuit. The concrete is big and close but not many touched it up thankfully.
Along the way, it feels like you are getting a Peter Plumley Walker, especially when your rear springs are at 300lb/inch. Pity I didn’t have the camera pointing rear as Richard Bishop-Miller was having a cracking duel with the Elva 100. His weight and lack of power being offset by great driving skill to hold the Elva off right to the end.
For me, I got swamped at the start but came back at the Elva and the 3rd of the Swedish brigade (I really MUST get the entry list out of the van and edit this). Getting a decent run into turn 1 and finding that my 2nd and 3rd gear really did suit this circuit allowed me to chase down those, but by then the battle up front was going red-hot. Tim Bishop in the DKW engined car was a bullet, starting from the back but closed down 2nd place in the end even with the residual problems of plug lead/connectors dropping a cylinder out and back in intermittently through the race.

Enjoy the bobbles and bangs of Ollie’s helmet on the two laps. There are a couple of crackers where the helmet pops up and back down very sharply given that I am strapped in  as tight as a Scotsman’s wallet.

Sorry that the lens got a bit dirty. Think I was following a car that threw out oil or water in the earlier session and didn’t see it on the camera lens. The starter lights are just about above the left front tyre of the blue lotus 20/22 in front of me.
OK, so enough of the blather, get into it,……
Copenhagen Historic. 2 Hot laps