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Get your trek on: 2017 Trillian Trek, day one

19 March, 2017


When you are traveling the country as part of New Zealand’s premier charity rally — Trillian Trek, a non-competitive charity car rally throughout New Zealand to spread as many smiles as we can and raise lots of money for Kiwi Kids in need — in a parade of classic cars and fire engines themed up to maximum attention-grabbing effect, it takes something pretty special to warrant a second glance. 

For the 100-odd fundraising stalwarts who, this week, have headed off from Matamata on the 2017 Trillian Trek (formerly the Variety Bash and in its 27th year) that head-turner came in the form of a sweet 1925 Chrysler in Tweety-Bird yellow. 

The old girl has come a long way since Dale ‘Daego’ Gerrand took delivery of a “trailer-load of rubbish” a few years ago. Fast forward to today and ‘HOT 25’ looks sweet and sounds sweeter thanks to a 283 small block Chevy motor, a Turbo 350 auto transmission and front and rear suspension courtesy of Jaguar. 

It’s a far cry from the wheels Daego has been driving in the rally for the past 20 years — an old J3 Bedford school bus! This year he couldn’t make the whole run but made sure that he and some mates from Stragglers Hot Rods at least got in a half-day and it has to be said that the ‘Trekkers’ and the spectators along the route were pretty pleased about the extra eye candy! 

A quick look at what the rest of the day served up; Matamata Mayor Jan Barnes waved her mayoral chains in lieu of a starting pistol — it was a residential street after all — and handed over the first set of pacenotes. Not content with the usual water fight between fire trucks, there was the aftermath of a foam fight and yes, that is a dude making foam ‘angels’ in the middle of the road. The awesome support crew from the RNZAF got up close and personal with the first breakdown of the event, and a couple of shady looking characters tried to pinch a massive cheque attached to a van that has been granted to partner charity, New Zealand Blue Light. 

The van will be used for a new Blue Light initiative aimed at delivering life skills and employability qualifications to troubled teens.

And last but by no means least, parallel parkers extraordinaire — the Fish Pot Café team, sponsored by Marsh Insurance, in surely one of the most unique vehicles on the road in New Zealand, an 18-litre 1960 Seagrave Los Angeles Fire Department ladder truck, which  negotiated its 17 metres under an awning and between two uprights at South Auckland Motors. This beast has done all 27 events and most of its crew have too!

No one’s 100 per cent sure what the rest of the week has in store for the Trek — no doubt grants, giggles, tears and tantrums, and that’s probably all before breakfast! 

Official route of the 2017 Trillian Trek:
19th March Day 1 — Matamata to Orewa
20th March Day 2 — Orewa to Dargaville
21st March Day 3 — Dargaville to Omapere
22nd March Day 4 — Omapere to Taipa/Coopers Beach
23rd March Day 5 — Taipa to Taipa
24th March Day 6 — Taipa to Russell
25th March Day 7 —  Russell to Whangarei

For more information about this event, or how you can support Kiwi kids by donating, head to or visit the Trillian Trek Facebook page

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.