Glenn's Australian Adventure

This is a Blog about Glenn going to study at the University of Western Sydney. I will try to update as often as possible. My cell number is (61)04 16 49 55 88 I have opened a photo album, to open it simply copy this address into your web browser

Location: Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Plate signed by Petter Solberg Posted by Hello

Cruising Posted by Hello

Dennis and his RedRex Posted by Hello

Dan's STI Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Hanging with the Subaru Club of Sydney

Today I went out to Helensburg which is out in the country about an hour south of Sydney. I went down to visit my friends that I met in New Zealand that are part of the Subaru club of Sydney. They picked me up from the train station, I could hear them coming because of the distinct sound of the WRX. We went down the road and had lunch, Kebabs one of my favorites. We then regrouped with the others. I took a ride in Dan's STI which is pretty much stock except of a exhaust and chip. But he had just rally crossed it the weekend before so he still had numbers on the car and racing slicks! He has a decal company called Apex Decals, as you can tell from the pic. We went to a national park which was close by. The roads here were nice and twisty although a little rough in some places. We took a "spirited" ride through the forests, and with the racing slicks it was amazing how the STI would stick to the road and take corners. We stopped at a little town in the park that is only accessible by fairy or threw the national park. We had a quick coffee and bit to eat. The continued on our way to a look out point. Then drove back to Dan's house and played some WRC on the PS2. Well being the youngest there and probably the most experienced at rally games and video games in general, I kicked their asses pretty easily! All in all it was a really fun day.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Toni from Ford Posted by Hello

Harri from Mitsubishi and Juanno Skoda Posted by Hello

Marcus from Peugeot Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Rally NZ Day 3

Petter and Phil
Posted by Hello

Today was the final day of my tour of Rally New Zealand. And when I thought that it couldn’t get much better, it did! The day started out as usual bright and early. We made it to the first stage (TeHutewal 1: SS17) which was probably the best of the day because I could see the cars coming from a good distance. They took a long right and then a long left in front of us. This gave me some great video to add to the dvd I’m going to make. The next stage (TePapatapu SS19) was ok but we only got to see the starts and we weren’t there very long. But I did get a chance to get some good pictures of the drivers getting ready to start the stage. We then quickly took off to the next stage (Whaanga Coast 2 SS20) which was a new stage. So this means that it was also the tours first time. And the viewing point wasn’t the best because of the amount of trees and the fact that there was a large drop to the road, which didn’t allow for the best visibility. But I managed to find a good spot on top of mound of dirt to get a better view. So I was a little bummed about the last two stages, but the first stage made up for that. After the stage we started the long drive back. On the way out of the stage we saw Sebation Leob on the side of the road taking a piss which was pretty funny. And later on we saw that Harrie Rovenpara in the Mitsubishi had been pulled over by the cops. Luckily they let him go right after we passed and we pulled over so we could watch him pass us. After making it back to Auckland we got dropped off at the Ceremonial Finish time control, which is where the cars check in before waiting to get on the podium. I thought I would stay around awhile and watch the cars line up waiting to get in. And I’m so glad I did because Petter Solberg stopped and I got him to sign my hat along with his co-driver Phil Mills. What a thrill this was defiantly the highlight of my day, and it completed my goal for the weekend of getting Solberg’s autograph. I then quickly ran over the ceremonial finish to watch the top cars go through, and hand out the trophies. After this I went back to the hotel and hung out with my Subaru friends, we went to dinner and went up the sky tower for awhile. Afterwards, I went to the rally after party. This was a great opportunity to get up close to some of the rally drivers. First I got to shake Marcus Gronholm’s (former world champion) hand and I got a great picture. I also met and got pictures with Harri Rovenpera, Toni Gardermister, and Juanno Turrine. (I’ll check spelling later ok!) This was one of the highlights of the trip, being in the same room and drinking with the WRC drivers. Marco Martin, and Michael Parks were also there, but weren’t very approachable and didn’t’ stay long. But it was still a great night anyways. And the perfect topper to a great World Rally Championship! I would definitely do it again in a second!

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Special Stage Posted by Hello

Today was another great day of Rally Racing! It started out with the usual drive up to the first stage, which in this case was Wairere SS9: Wairere Rd. This stage was nice because it had a long left in front of us, which turned into a long right. This was also a good stage because we could get very close to the road, and the cars. I got sprayed by rocks a few times. It stings a little, but it’s all part of the experience of being there. After this stage we traveled to the next stage Bull 1 SS11: Porter Rd. On the way to this stage we went on a road which is used on the rally at a different time. It was really cool to see how much camber the roads have, and how twisty they really are. The stage was great because the cars would come down a straight and turn left right in front of us before they went over the finish only a few hundred meters away. I got some great video footage here. Then it was off to the service park. Which this time wasn’t that great. This was because most of the cars wouldn’t come in until we had to leave because the next stage was about an hour away. I did however get a picture in front of the Subaru service with my Subaru gear. (See above if I can upload the pics this time) The next stage was a new stage on the rally (at least for the tour) Waipu Caves SS12. This was a really cool stage because it was on top of a massive hill. Which provided some great scenic views. This also allowed us to see the cars coming from a great distance away. Afterwards we took the scenic windy roads back to Auckland, because we had some time to spare before the Manukau SSS just outside of Auckland. This is a Super Special Stage which means that the cars run on a small 2.10km track which is linked together so two cars can race against each other at the same time. This is done mostly for the enjoyment of spectators. It was really great to watch the cars compete against each other. But because it was at night it didn’t provide many good pictures or videos. But it was great fun, and all the cars ran twice. Then it was back to Auckland to rest for the next day which starts at six.

Special Stage Posted by Hello

Subaru Service Posted by Hello

Friday, April 08, 2005

Rally New Zealand Day 1

Well we took off for the rally at six thirty in the morning and headed to the first stage (Parahi SS1, Ovens Rd) of the rally. This was great stage because it was on a local farmers field and we had exclusive access. The road in was very muddy and slippy. The driver even got the van going sideways about a half dozen times which was great fun. We even got airborne over a bridge. It was wild I didn’t know a van with that many people could do that! This proved difficult for the Rally Sport magazine tour because their large bus couldn’t make it up some of the hills so they had to be shuttled in with the small busses and some of them missed the beginning. The great part about this spot was that it had a nice jump so we got to see the cars get airborne which was a MASSIVE THRILL!!! Although I missed taping the first driver Petter Solberg because when we got there the sweep car had already passed and we didn’t hear him coming. Then all of a sudden VROOM! He wipped passed, and took everyone by surprise! I managed to get the rest on tape, and got some great shots! After watching the top drivers pass we headed on to the next stage (Brooks 1 Swamp Rd Bridge) This was a neat spot because we could see the cars coming for a distance and they would turn hard left onto a bridge which allowed them to get airborne again, and then they took a hard right. Although this stage was busier because it was a regular spectator area, I managed to sneek my way into a vip area to get some great shots. After this we went back to the service area which was also busier then the day before. But on the way a we noted that an under cover cop was in front of us. This is because we play a game in the bus to try and guess how many cops we will see on the trip. Well one of the Skoda drivers Janne Tuohino passed us and then the cop on a twisty section of the road. Well shortly after this the cop pulled in over and gave him a ticket. We asked the cop after why because the line was dotteded so passing should have be allowed, but he said that he passed on the wrong side in a blind corner. So that was a bit interesting to see, he will probably get a penalty as a result of the ticket. It was great to be in the service park because many of the cars were damaged and needed repairs. It’s amazing how fast these mechanics work. I got this one great shot of me in front of the Citroen team wearing my Citroen shirt. (see above) Afterwards we continued on to the final stage of the day. (Millbrook SS8, Helmsdale Rd.) On the way we saw Petter Solberg on the side of the road, we think he was changing his tire, he must have had a punture! But he made it to the next stage on time. This stage was great because from far away we could see the cars come down a twisty section and then a fast long left and long right. This allowed the cars to travel at a pretty high speed. It was also amazing because of the amount of dust that the cars would turn up. After a car passed, the dust would barely settle before the next car came through. This was ok for the top drivers because they are separated by two minutes. But when the Group N drivers came threw we couldn’t even see them until they were up close because of the dust, and they are only separated by one minute. This would make it very difficult to drive in. After this stage we took the long trip back to Auckland.

Citroen Service Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Shakedown Day

Well I made it to New Zealand, and to top it off it was the best flight I have had yet. I think for the first time ever I actually made it to Auckland a half hour early! So I figured this was a great start to my trip. The first day of my Rally New Zealand experience started early at 5:30am. So I only got about five hours of sleep, but this wasn’t a problem because we had a two hour drive north. I am on the Official Rally Spectator Tour, which is one of two tour groups, the other is run by Rally Sport magazine. Basically as far as I know it’s the same tour because they travel with us, but there is one big difference. We are in small nine person coaches and they are in large busses. This proved problematic for them later on, accessing some stages. On my bus there are a farther and son from Brisbane, an American from San Fran, two Japanese from Tokyo, a young Canadian couple from Vancouver, and the tour guide and driver. (which are amazing because they are both former rally drivers, and our driver is the fastest, getting us to all stages before anyone else.) The first stop we made was at the start line for the Shakedown day. For people not into rally this is like the practice day. So the WRC cars will travel on one stage over and over testing their cars setup. This was an AMAZING opportunity because this was not open to regular spectators. I got to get right up to the cars and actually touch some of them. This allowed me to get plenty of quality photos of the cars. The drivers didn’t actually get out of the cars, but some were nice enough to talk to us threw the windows. But one driver Chris Atkinson which is the new driver from Australia driving from Subaru, arrived late and got out of his car to prepare his gear. I jumped at the chance and ran up to him and started talking to him. I got his autograph and even a great picture. (See Above). I even helped him close his door. (Which was amazingly light!) So that was an amazing start to the weekend, and will defiantly be one of the highlights. The start was also good for being able to watch the power of the cars off the start line. Later on we went further down the shakedown stage and watched the cars take some corners at high speed. Which was a huge thrill. Afterwards we went to the service park, which also wasn’t open to spectators. This was another great chance to be able to see the cars up-close. I got to see all the mechanics working feverously on the cars. Although many of the drivers were busy talking with their engineers. I still got some fantastic pictures of the cars and some drivers. After that we went back to the hotel in Auckland. Later that night was the official start to the rally, which was held downtown. On my way down I met up with a group that were part of a Subaru WRX club from Sydney. So I hung out with them that night, which was great fun talking about Subaru and rally. One of the guys was even a rally driver, and he invited me to a rally in Australia in a couple of weeks. So I can get up-close to the car and hang out behind the scenes. So we had to wait around for awhile before the ceremony started. Basically there is a ramp with podium, the drivers drive over the ramp, they are introduced and give a few quick comments and then drive off the stage. This is all accompanied by fireworks, flames and loud music. Very exciting, and funny because many of the drivers cannot speak or understand English very well. This went on for about an hour and then my new friends and I went out for some Thai food. Then I was in bed by 11, because I had to be up for six the next day.

Marcus Gronholm Posted by Hello

Petter Solberg Posted by Hello

Chris Atkinson Posted by Hello

Petter Solberg Posted by Hello