National Citroën Rally 2015
The Greater Wellington Citroën Car Club struck weather gold when they hosted the National Citroën Rally at Tatum Park, near Levin, on January 23–25, 2015. In a summer ideally suited to townies and holiday makers, brilliant sunshine was easy, but the lightest of winds wasn’t so easily achieved.
Nearly 70 cars were registered, and most were lined up for the Pride of Ownership display on the Saturday morning. Rally goers had to pick what they considered was the best car in each of the many classes. The range and quality of cars made this an unenviable task. Even so, it was a very relaxed affair with a break for a generous morning tea.
This year marks the 60th birthday of the DS, or ‘Goddess’, and this model, in its various incarnations, was well represented. Thirteen D-series’ made an impressive line-up, ranging from David Jones’ barn-find Safari to Allan Inch’s amazingly original low–mileage DS21 Pallas.
As one would expect, there was also a good attendance of Traction Avants, all shiny paint and gleaming chrome in the Horowhenua sun. Ian Moore brought his Big Fifteen 6 all the way from Ashburton, and Terry Falkner, a retired Citroën specialist from Masterton, was able to confirm to Ian’s delight that the 22,000 miles (35,400km) showing on his Six’s odometer is the first time around. This 1951 model is amazingly original, and now we know why.
The afternoon was given over to a gymkhana, with a mix of driving skills and human dexterity/teamwork tests. Some treat these events and their cars cautiously; others seize the chance to give their cars a good workout. The little 2CVS are always spectacular, and none more so than Paul and Melean Absolum’s bright yellow veteran of the Shadow of the Andes Tour, which was just about cornering on its door handles.
Dinner was a barbecue by a bonfire with a uniform theme. Sunday was road trial day, where participants got to see some of the local countryside, and not always from the planned direction.
There were the usual stories to tell at the after-trial lunch at Otaki Beach. Sunday evening’s dinner was a more formal occasion, followed by the eagerly–anticipated prize-giving. From an almost bewildering array of awards, some of the winners were: Ian Moore (Traction Avant Post–war small boot), Kevin Beeby (Traction Avant Big Boot), Alma Clague (A Series 2CV), Ian Couling (D series, single headlight), Robin Tervit (D series, twin headlight), Edward Mcdonald (Current Production), Rufus Scott (Gymkhana), Dick and Liz Megchelse (Road Trial) and Paul Absolum (Overall Rally Winner).
Dave and Jocelyn Crompton’s sole SM was an easy winner of the SM category, but they were stunned and humbled to learn it had been voted ‘Car of the Rally’.
On Monday morning it was time for breakfast, farewells and the trip back home, which was a lengthy one for some of the South Island entrants. The Greater Wellington Club had done a superb job of organizing a memorable rally.