As a cancer survivor this year’s Canteen Manawatu and Manawatu 4WD club fundraiser was an event close to NZ4WD magazine contributor Murray Taylor’s heart. “In memory of Molly Patricia Ross 09/08/2001 – 05/05/2015”
Upon reading the Facebook page, then Molly’s story with the registration form, it was a case of making the weekend work.
Having been down the Cancer path, my weekend in fact started with a check- up CT scan on the Thursday and appointment with the surgeon, all following up on my operation 18 months ago
Currently I’m one of the lucky ones as all is looking good. Sadly Molly was not, and her life ended far too soon.
Meet ‘n greet
To the fund raiser though. I arrived on site Friday night, set up camp, met a few people and ended up at the local for dinner and more talk
Saturday meanwhile started with the sound of a rattle gun from across the school paddock, not long after 7.30 am. Overcast sky with some wind. I was able to check in with time for a coffee before the introduction, safety briefing, and idea of what was going to happen during the day.
To whit: There were going to be three different groups, Shiny, Club and Rough. First away were the Rough trucks, then Shiny with the Club being split into t wo groups leaving last...
It was then a brief run up the valley on tarseal, before a left turn into a farm entrance. Our leader signed the intentions book for all, and it was off along a dairy race, to cross a paddock to a gate overlooking a valley with the Mangoira Stream in the bottom. There was then a brief stop to allow us to lower t yre pressures and advise all that it was a steep downhill to the water.
The creek was running clean until such time as the first truck hit the water and headed down stream. It was not long before one was bouncing along the creek bed, avoiding the deeper sections, crossing again and again, the odd short cut through the Manuka and other scrub, making tracks when the leader missed a turn or pulled out of the creek. We then dropped down through a narrow gorge section with steep sides heading skyward and overhanging trees.
Go the Land Rover...
A short stop was held for morning tea alongside the creek, at which time the other group of Club trucks caught up. Amongst them was a Series 2a Land Rover driven up from Wellington and which up until a few weeks back had been sitting in a paddock for 17 odd years and was now running around on its original black and white registration plate! Go the Land Rover, they never die... Not long after our stop we arrived at the Oroua River which had a lot more water in it. Heading upstream, the crossings got deeper and longer, which added to the variety and challenge of the day.
We even crossed under the Oroua Valley road bridge, before continuing upstream, then stopping for our Brown Paper Bag lunch provided by Rangitikei College. We all ate our lunches under a clear sky, the sun and wind still with us, as we watched the other Club trucks pass us at this time heading further upstream.
Lunch over we headed further upstream till it narrowed and got too rough to continue onwards, at which time we met and joined the rest of the Club trucks for the run back to the road bridge and the pull out.
A brief stop to disengage 4WD and a brief run on the tarseal to another dairy farm, then it was along another farm race which ( to us, anyway!) improved as we travelled along it, ( i.e. going from smooth to rough to just grass,) before a hard left down hill for a few sharp turns on a very well grassed track to get all facing the correct direction.
Slowly circling the property, we eventually met up with the Shiny group at the end of the raceway, so there was another brief stop before we all heading back along the raceway to turn left through another gate onto a bushcovered track heading down hill.
This was damp enough to need care, and concentration, coming out into the open just before a very muddy crossing. First through was a Jeep which drove it, then a Suzuki which needed a small pull, then the rest followed along some needing speed and revs, while others just drove it giving all some entertainment along the way.
Not long after we exited the farm, for a short run in the river before heading back to Apiti School and camp, where – after spot prizes were presented to all who had participated – it was time to wind down before dinner.
Dinner brought back memories for some as it was held in an old-style school classroom, albeit one with some very modern teaching equipment.
Sunday morning, cool air temperatures, not a frost yet, but close, the call for breakfast came and we headed back to school. Bacon and eggs etc, along with toast, tea and coffee was had by all...
Time to get ready for the day’s adventure, and – as it turned out – there was a surprise in store. It involved a gravel road for some distance, and then it was on with the gumboots and raincoats for a short walk at the Table Flat/ Limestone Creek Reserve to the Glow- worm Caves.
I never did see a Glow- worm, but the walk through the caves made up for it all, with holes and water coming in from above; something different and enjoyed by all.
Once back in the trucks some of the Rough trucks headed for a play paddock, while the remaining drove the raceway again, before heading to a Ruahine Forest entrance through pine trees, arriving at a grass clearing with the track heading a bit further in to a single vehicle turning point.
Time for a cup of tea, a chat and more photos in the sun, and all to soon it was time to head back to camp, pack it all up again and head for home on the backroads.
To the Manawatu 4WD club, Greg and his team for putting it all together, thanks for a great weekend, I look forward to seeing what you and your team offer next year.
Thanks also to Apiti Primary School for the great evening meal and breakfast, along with all the spot prizes from the sponsors; Willowpark Tavern, Autokraft ( ARB), H & A Print, Farm Source, Pirtek Fluid Solutions, Power Tool Centre, Carter Building Supplies, PGG Wrightson, Hunting and Fishing, Whitelock Suzuki, Wanganui Exhaust Centre, Mitre 10 Mega, Cervus Equipment NZ Ltd (John Deere dealer), and Naylor Lawrence & Associates.
Along with a special thanks to the landowners for access to your properties. Thanks till next time...
Dipping a toe (or two) in the Oroua River.
Race started smooth then… got better!
Crossing the Oroua River.
Farm properties offering plenty of proper off road tracks, like here…