The Southern Trailblazers 4WD Club celebrated the 40th running of its rally at the Hellier family farm near Pukerau last Saturday. The Ensign’s Sandy Eggleston was there to capture the action.
At the inaugural Southern Trailblazers 4WD rally in 1982, Doug Christie drove a rescue tractor to tow out stuck vehicles but needed some help himself.
However, he was so taken with the event it was not long before he bought his own 4WD truck, the Gore man said.
‘‘I thought ‘Yeah, that’s a bit of me. I’ll have a go at that.’’’
The club celebrated its 40th running of the event on the Hellier family farm near Pukerau on Saturday.
He was in his second year of a tractor mechanic apprenticeship when the business he worked for provided a tractor for the event, Mr Christie said.
He volunteered to drive it.
‘‘I got the tractor stuck and we had to tow it out.’’
In those days before the course was developed about 10 tractors were needed to tow out vehicles.
‘‘Now we only need four.’’
Since 1983, when he first entered the event, he had not missed taking part many times.
“It’s a good cheap motorsport.
‘‘It’s good fun and you’re not mortgaging the house to do it.
“There’s a good bunch of guys and they’re all pretty laid back and just want to come out and unleash a bit of energy.
‘‘It gives people an opportunity to play in the mud.’’
There were 10 hazards or obstacles on the course.
The aim was to gather as few demerit points as possible when completing the course.
“Ideally you want to get around with no demerit points.
“There’s a limit of 200 points per hazard.”
The obstacles ranged from mud patches, holes filled with water, to hill climbs to crossing a pit of tyres.
The 38 drivers completed two rounds of the course in their classes and then could take part in an open round where “anything goes”.
“If you want to put chains on, you want to put tractor grips on or duels [you can] so it becomes a bit more challenging at the end of the day.”
There were four different classes that catered for roadworthy vehicles to those that had been markedly modified.
The site was perfect for the rally as it was contained and there was no runoff of sediment, he said.
‘‘There’s a lot of 4WD drive activities getting shut down because sediment runs down into a neighbouring property.’’
Rally organiser Todd Christie said he was pleased with the turnout for the rally.
‘‘We had a lot of competitors in the standard and modified [classes] which is really good to see.
‘‘It’s a class where people can come and have a go.’’