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Thread: 1985 Rally of New Zealand - Digging out the Old Images

  1. #1

    1985 Rally of New Zealand - Digging out the Old Images

    It's hard to believe it's more than quarter of a century since those Audi Quattros banged their way around New Zealand roads in the hands of some of the greats of world rallying. Hannu Mikkola, Walter Rohrl, Stig Blomqist and Michelle Mouton piloted these beasts from 1983 - 85. All three Audi works entries retired in 1983 but Stig Blomqist scored the victory in 1984 on the way to his World Rally Championship.

    1985 saw the short wheelbase and massaged S4 driven by Rohrl and Blomqist take on the Peugeot 205 Turbo 16s of Vatanen and Salonen for supremacy. The works entries of Toyota for Kankkunen and Waldegaard, and works Nissans for Kirkland, Mehta and Kiwi Cook would play a support role to the 4WD turbo monsters in a year which probably was the high point of the Rally of NZ for top entries.

    With my first video camera I took to the backroads for the whole 4 days and shot what was possible - remarkably closeup footage of the drivers and teams at service parks, in addition to some shaky hand-held action images of the leaders as they roared by. 27 years later I have finally cut the dross (there was plenty of that!) and come up with 4 short films - one for each day of the Rally of NZ 1985. I will be posting them on YouTube and linking them to this thread for anyone interested in this great era of Rally of NZ, I hope you enjoy.

    Murray

  2. #2
    OK, to kick off, here's Day 1, 5 minutes of amateur video highlights from the start in Auckland Domain to the dusty roads of Northland. On the road order for this first day is Blomqist, Vatanen, Rohrl, Waldegard, Salonen, Kankkunen, Mehta.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqprCsRcF5Y

    If there's a bit of interest I'll post a link to Day 2, 3 and 4.

  3. #3
    Love it... I was lucky enough to be working at this spot in the road, spot the Yellow Inter in the background and snapped these of one of the people you mentioned but alas not the same year this was 1980
    Thanks for jogging the memory

    One of the Mercedes 500 coupes driven by Hannu Mikkola or Björn Waldegård
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  4. #4
    Fantastic stuff - give us more.

  5. #5
    OK, Day Two, Saturday dawns miserable and damp as the field heads south to Maramarua Forest and on to the King Country. Overnight leader Walter Rohrl is first car on the road from Timo Salonen's Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. Vatanen in the second Peugeot is ahead of the ever spectacular Stig in the number 1 Audi.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0cVf...3&feature=plcp
    Last edited by Murray Maunder; 01-16-2012 at 11:37 AM.

  6. #6
    fantastic, thanks for posting
    Live it, love it, rally it

  7. #7
    This is Ari Vatanen rounding what was about to become known as "Helicopter Corner".

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    Can you imagine a present day safety officer's reaction to a scene like that. There were people lined up three and four deep right around the outside of the corner as well.

    The area the helicopter crashed in was just behind the people on the right of the picture.

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  8. #8
    The crazy thing is Milan, the drivers probably considered the Kiwi scene quite tame compared with what they faced in some European rallies during this era, where they drove full-tilt at a wall of people standing on the road who'd become a sort of parting sea as the cars sped towards them. Completely bonkers!

    Neat thread Murray, thanks for posting.

  9. #9
    That chopper took a couple of years of our lives, we saw all the crowd and got chatting to the local farmer and he said if you go up that hill (opposite were it crashed) you can see way up the valley, and that was were he was taking his kids to get out of the way. So we followed him up there and sat down with a magic view. This is neat nobody around to annoy us and we can watch the cars all the way down the valley and into the corner and then out the other side, perfect. Then the chopper landing in the paddock over the road from us, and then it clips the little mound of dirt in front of it and "bang", Then about 20ft from us there is a thud and hunk of rotor digs into the ground, we were along way from everything and bloody near got cleaned from a bit of rotor that flew over all the others down at the corner. The farmer and us could not believe it. Any way nobody hurt and the pilot did a good job of shutting everything down while on his side.

    Murray, awesome video. Gee they were quick.

  10. #10
    OK Steve, I've kept you waiting long enough.

    Rod, great story - See if you can pick the shots taken at "Helicopter Corner".

    Here's Day 3 of the 1985 AWA Rally of New Zealand....

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhN6MOlwLeo

    Enjoy
    Last edited by Murray Maunder; 01-17-2012 at 09:54 AM.

  11. #11
    Weekend Warrior
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    Awesome Murray and thanks for posting the links. I was another one who was at helicopter corner that day.
    Cheers
    ----------------
    Chris

  12. #12
    Savage stuff !! And at the risk of repeating myself, great audio !
    Those Audis still give me gooseflesh, all those years later.
    Nice going, Muz !

  13. #13
    And for the final day of a fantastic 1985 Rally of New Zealand, we managed to get some final glimpses of these great car/driver combos for the last time.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_R-JloYPIAs

    As last legs so often are, this was slightly anticlimatic so as a bonus here's the link to the previous year's exploits.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kq6SAurw4HE

  14. #14
    Gold, Murray. Makes you realise that while the current cars are fast, they are sterile.

  15. #15
    And look at the spectator numbers, you certainly do not see that many at Rally NZ these days

  16. #16
    Weekend Warrior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carlo View Post
    And look at the spectator numbers, you certainly do not see that many at Rally NZ these days
    Personally I think you can blame health and safety issues for some of that. You can only watch from designated areas and there is no way you can chase the lead cars from stage to stage as we used to do. Sprinting from stage to stage to watch the cars was a sport in itself and we walked in and out of the stage along the side of the road with it running! Can you imagine organisers letting you do that these days.

    Having said all that if you went to watch the Domain Stage at Rally NZ last time it was here there was absolutely massive crowds. From memory 25000 watched it.
    Cheers
    ----------------
    Chris

  17. #17
    Chris, I largely agree. One cannot imagine people with video cameras casually walking around mechanics at service parks as I was able to do in 1984/5/6.

    Yes the crowds at the "mickey-mouse" stages can be controlled, herded and charged for the experience, but it isn't even a vanilla flavoured experience compared to some of those ballsy gravel roads up north, in the King Country, the pumice forestry roads in the Rotorua Lakes district etc. As GD said the sound those Audis made still tingles the nerve end, and as Rod said, they still look so bloody fast.

    Happy to share the old stuff that proves that the shock the Gp B cars gave us when we experienced them in the raw, wasn't misplaced. The only place I have found such a live "edge" these days is the speedway sprintcars with 800HP turning hard left under power. Surely there's a place for excessive in motorsport!

  18. #18
    Thanks for some great memories Murray!

    Cheers
    Lee

  19. #19
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    Here a few of my shots, I think stage 3 (Riverhead?), seconds after the photo of Reg he went into the crowd. You can see him looking out the side window as he was going backwards, I don't think anyone got hurt but there was plenty of legs in the air..
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  20. #20
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    Manukau City Stage. I think Bryce Platt drove the "0" car and was just as entertaining.
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