WET WET WET

RE­U­NION 2018

NZ Performance Car - - Contents - PHO­TOS: RICHARD OPIE

New Zealand — yeah, it’s a lovely place to live, what with our end­less coast­lines, killer moun­tain ranges, and thriv­ing ro­tary scene. But what the brochures fail to dis­close to you is that the weather can be some­what of a pain in the arse, es­pe­cially dur­ing those sum­mer months. It’s al­most like some­one is try­ing to mess with us, with rain seem­ingly show­ing up when­ever the big events roll into town.

Events like the 2018 run­ning of RE­u­nion at Bruce McLaren Mo­tor­sport Park in Taupo. With a record num­ber of en­tries (380), new builds, old builds be­ing dusted off, and the promise of the big­gest ro­tary-only event New Zealand had ever wit­nessed — and, right on cue, the rain started to roll in heav­ily the week of the event, with no promise of lift­ing till, you guessed it, the Mon­day after­wards.

De­spite the rain, the num­bers didn’t dwin­dle. The ro­taries be­gan rolling in from all cor­ners of New Zealand on the Fri­day, mak­ing the most of the new three-day for­mat. A huge con­tin­gent from Ti­maru made a week of it, cruis­ing — not trai­ler­ing — their ro­tas all the way to the Cen­tral Plateau, where they joined the 380 strong en­trants who were not about to let that rain ruin the week­end they had been build­ing up for since, well, last year. No one was pack­ing it in and head­ing home. Ask any­one there about the rain, and they didn’t give two f**ks. If any­thing, it made it a lit­tle more fun out on track; sud­denly your 12A bridge­port felt like a 20B pe­riph­eral-port (PP), and, even with a car­load of bros, you were swap­ping lock-to-lock through the mid­sec­tion.

Sadly, the bad weather meant that a few of the main events had to be canned, in­clud­ing the drag rac­ing be­ing one of them.

But the drift­ing and burnouts played out, and, of course, so did the co­pi­ous amount of track time for the cruis­ing ses­sions. The event also acted as the de­but for many, in­clud­ing two amaz­ing 20Bs; Si­mon McCleod’s stunning 1300 coupe, and the on-track de­but for a very spe­cial piece of ro­tary his­tory, the Bomex GT300 FD owned by the Bar­retts.

The drift­ing saw a huge con­tin­gent of Bay of Plenty drifters putting on a show, along­side some not-so-com­mon ma­chines giv­ing the old lock-to-lock a go, in­clud­ing the bone-stock Cosmo of Haden Wasley rolling hard on the soft sus­pen­sion and large side­walls — but man, it looked like a blast.

Even­tual King of RE­u­nion, Michael Keen, was also out bang­ing the lim­iter and swap­ping lock in his 13B turbo Lancer. Michael is a com­plete an­i­mal be­hind the wheel, and drove the pants off the EX all week­end, tak­ing home sec­ond be­hind Steve El­li­cott in the burnouts. The Lancer took a beat­ing all week­end long — a very de­serv­ing re­cip­i­ent.

Spe­cial men­tion has to be made of Tony Markov­ina, who loaded up two trans­porters and shipped a huge num­ber of his cars down to set up a mini mu­seum. Ev­ery­thing from the dinky lit­tle Mazda Porter to his crowd-favourite 110 Cosmo.

The Cosmo also saw plenty of track time in the down­pour — a down­pour that would not let up the en­tire week­end, even for the hardy souls camp­ing on site. The only real re­prieve from the end­less wet was the pit garages — if you were lucky to have se­cured one six months ear­lier.

We sus­pect that, come Sun­day night, many of the cars would have been locked away in their garages with de­hu­mid­i­fiers crank­ing try­ing to ex­tract the damp. But we can guar­an­tee that not one per­son was put off the 2019 run­ning; lets just hope that the weather comes to the party. With over 380 ro­taries at­tend­ing in 2018, how big can 2019 push? Over 400? You bet ya we can!

4&Rota’s ‘Cookie’ had his im­mac­u­late or­ange RX-3 sedan out for the first time on track — a stunning build, which is a credit to the hard-nosed scru­ti­neer Left: You might re­mem­ber Tim’s RX-2 from the cover of NZPC 221— this, how­ever, is his burnout...

Tony Markov­ina brought along a se­ri­ous amount of Mazda hard­ware — two truck-trans­porter loads, in fact — in­clud­ing this rare Mazda Porter

It was great to see that Cory’s RX-2 coupe was still look­ing as good as the day we fea­tured it seven years ago. Cory road tripped up with a huge con­tin­gent of South Is­land Maz­das

The cov­eted King of RE award went to Mike Keenan and his ruckus 13B turbo EX Lancer. The bridge­port turbo Lancer took a beat­ing as al­ways, four-up side­ways in the rain, scor­ing best en­try and sec­ond-best skid for the week­end. Michael, or, more...

Yeah you guessed it, Steve El­li­cott took out the burnout comp in his 808 thrash ma­chine Be­low: Sure, it was the rarest Mazda there, but that didn’t stop Tony Markov­ina from plow­ing through the rain in his 110 Cosmo

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