Guy's the following gets printed in New Zealand's Autocar magazine every month.
The articles creator is a famous legend in NZ motorsport, so much so that he has recieved the "Order of Merit", Certificate of quantity for BBQ food consumption and syphilis.
FRIDAY 21st, 2.53p.m. Rallies inherently attract throngs of people. Hell - that's how they get their name - car-lovers combining together for a common purpose. A wee bit like a politicle rally, only with slightly more mud-slinging and not quite so many placards. Rallies do NOT, however, get their name from cheap jibes like Paul Owen's offering: "Is it because you drive so fast?"
Yessir, rallies are a regular people magnet, dragging in spectators and supporters from hundreds of miles away. Which is the reason I can't understand why I haven't seen anyone for the last two hours.
But I'm getting ahead of myself.
After seeing our Asia-Pacific debut turn to cinders in Noumea, you'd have expected our Franco/Kiwi team to stay home licking its wounds - or at the very least washing the soot out of our overalls. Amazingly, our sponsers were ecstatic. If you can't win, then torching your motor vehical comes a very close second in terms of generating publicity. "Magnifique," enthused our French tobacco backers. "You looked just like a cigarette lightaire."
Their delight extended to bankrolling us for another event, so we bowled up to the start of the Rotorua International feeling optimistic, and mabey just a little apprehensive."Don't worry Jean Louis," I soothed. "Nothing could possibly go wrong this time." (And if it does, I thought, I've already organised another team with which to do the nest few rounds.)
Friday 21st, 11.04 a.m. We're hurtling up the infamous Motu gorge, doing our best impression of a low-flying Concord, when we have another of those little problems that make motorsport so character-building. The road darts left, we feint to the right, and the bank deals a knockout blow to our under carriage.
The poor Impreza lurches to a halt in a cacophony of tortured metal while Jean-Louis shakes his head in disbelief at our atrocious luck.
"At least we're not on fire," I tender as he gets out to survey the damage.
I do a quick stocktake to make sure I haven't damaged any of my important little places in the impact, while he tries to raise our crew on the radio.
"We have had a technical with the right front wishbone and steering arm," he broadcasts. "Can you run in with spare parts or borrow a...how do you say "helicoptere" in english?" he directs at me.
I point to the Motu's lousy atmospherics, it would be doubtful anyone would hear him. Plus Matawai is at least 50 Km of rugged terrain away, so unless Steve Gurney has miraculously joined our team it's unlikely we'd be seeing any mechanics for a while.
Friday 21st, 11.58 a.m. The whole field has passed and I've secured Jean-Louis a ride out to civilisation in the sweeper car. "Can I bring you anything?' are his parting words. "A little blonde would be nice," I answer hopefully.
Friday 21st, 1.15 p.m. I'm bored out of my mind. Nothing is moving in this damned valley except for my empty stomach. I haven't eaten since my pre-dawn breakfast and I can feel the kilograms melting off me as my metabolism scavenges for nourishment. I've got stomach acid that makes Ebola look like a head cold. Even the lichen on the fence posts is starting to look palatable. Hmm - that fence post...
Friday the 21st, 1.16 p.m. Lash the tow-rope to a strainer post and grope around under the Subaru. Can't find the wishbone or anything else remotely chicken-like, so tie the rope around the general obstruction. Build up the revolutions then throw the Subaru into reverse in a cunning attempt to straighten the bent steering. Succeding in tearing the whole bloody axle out and moving two hundred metres of fencing into the middle of the road. I'm quite sure Nicky Grist doesn't have to put up with crap like this.
Friday 21st, 3.47 p.m. I'm starting to feel giddy through a combination of dehydration and JCS (Jenny Craig Syndrome). I'm too scared to drink the river water for the fear of giardia or excreting tadpoles for the next six weeks. However, if I do spot an eel, then it will pobably be joining me in a light luncheon.
While desperatly ransacking the first-aid kit for some elastoplast to lick, I hit paydirt - Jean-Louis' energy drink bottle. I greedily drain every trace element and artificial food colourant then clamber back in the car for a snooze. And as I drift off, I can remember thinking: "if a horde of banjo-playing inbreeds find me, please let them have some sandwiches."
Friday 21st, 7.06 p.m. Jean-Louis pauses in the middle of his meal. "I hope Rob does not use my drink bottle; it is for my diabetes." He swirls the wine around in his glass and frowns. "I would hate to think he is hallucinating on insulin out there in the darkness."
Saturday 22nd, 6.45 a.m. "base? Yeah, we've found him - spit roasting a Fuji Heavy Industries engine over a fire. There's no sign of the rest of the car - but he clanks when he walks."
I'm a happy camper!