WET WET WET
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