Wow! What a last day we had! There had been some rain in the wee small hours of the morning, so we knew that at least the first stage was going to a slippery one – and a big stage it was too – 107km Class 3. And we managed to come in spot on time, so we were off to a good start!
The next stage took us through Barrington Tops – it was a stage with a steep climb and a steep descent. Serious ear popping stuff! 81km in a Class 3, we climbed to 1441m above sea level and at the end of the stage we thought we had nailed our time again, but obviously others took it a little slower, so the average time meant that we were in fact 3 minutes early.
Our lunch stop was a picnic in the park in Gloucester which was very pleasant in the sunshine. We had two difficult stages ahead, so it was good to relax out of the Kar for a while.
Stage 3 was a 64km Class 4 – lots of humps! Once again after thinking we had nailed it, we were 2 minutes early. The final stage for the day and for the rally was a short (32km) Class 4. We started to see a climb in our temperature gauge but carried on. So many causeways on this one…and after accelerating to get to the finish line, we were 1 minute early!!! The temperature gauge issue can be looked at once we get home.
As is tradition, we all gather at the finish line to see all the Kars finish and enjoy a cold beverage. Lots of hand shaking, hugging and the like for us to all congratulate ourselves on completing another great Kidney Kar Rally.
So into Taree, unload our surplus gear from the gear truck and off to our final dinner. This is our last chance to catch up with everyone, relive some of the adventures we have had over the past 8 days and say goodbye until next year. It is also the night when all the awards are presented. I have mentioned before how the scores from Day 7 and 8 are kept secret to this point so it is a surprise to find out how you have gone overall. I have already told you of our results for Day 8 – even, 3 early, 2 early, 1 early…well on Day 7 we managed 2 early, 2 early, 1 early and even on the last.
How surprised were we to discover that we had won the trophy for the Best 4WD Krew! Just half a point in front of our friends in Kar 2009 who won this award last year – so Subaru 1 & 2 – ahead of all the other, larger 4WD’s. Out of the 47 competing Kars there were 10 4WD’s so we were pretty chuffed to not only win this award but to finish up 12th overall for the whole rally, two positions better than last year and our best ever!
We could not have of course done it without the help of John Clout (2009) and Dion Manning (0517) – speaking of whom…will have to consider building a special trophy room given his awards for the night! Ably assisted by his dad Charles, they were winners of the Team award (4 Kars make a team), were awarded 4th outright winner, had already picked up Best Presented Kar and topped all that off with the Supreme Achiever Award for their ongoing and constant promotion and support of Kidney Kids, the Rally and Kidney Health Australia! Talk about greedy! All well deserved awards for a very special rallytive.
A special shout out to Team O’Halloran (from Numurkah and Cobram in Victoria) for being outright winners and to all the winners on the rally. But the real winners are of course the Kidney Kids – with $550,000 raised by the rally this year – thank you all for your support and generosity and we will see you all for the 2017 Kidney Kar Rally which will see us travel from Griffith to Wagga via Tibooburra!