The Ahuroa Volunteer Fire Brigade 4wd Safari was run last weekend hosted by the Ahuroa Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Rodney Off-road Club, and for those of you that missed out, its not surprising. This is a very popular event with limited spaces to limit logistical and health and safety effort. Even with limited spaces there were 77 trucks in total that attended.
We attended 5 years ago with fond memories of this run, and it did not disappoint for 2018. This years run was without a tough truck section this year, it was specifically targeting grade 1-2 and the shineys/newbies. It still had something for everyone with fantastic views and the odd challenge thrown in.
The campground was open from Friday morning to welcome those that had traveled from a far, where those in the area, mostly attended on early Saturday morning to setup camp.
On the first day we were given a detailed briefing (safety and the day plan), we had a few adjustments on route planning which the trip leaders had to plan for – luckily the weather held out and was perfect. The participants were then split into 4 groups of about 18-19 trucks, each group given their own route, assigned trip leaders, tail end charlies, and separate channels to communicate on. It was very well run, with clear instructions and descriptions of what we were doing. We ended up in Group 3 lead by Steve and his son Riki. It was a great group, well organised and we moved fairly quickly from challenge to challenge, from view to view. Day one was full on and claimed its share of victims with a couple of trucks retiring from one issue or another.
Initially it was slippery in the morning until the days sun dried off everything by 11, there were mud bogs to have a quick play and challenging hill climbs from stream.
Day one ended after a full day of treking and crossing paths with other groups, we parked up at dusk for an evening banter, raffle draws (given by a wide variety of sponsors). Dinner and Breakfast was catered for and lunch orders were available from the organizers. Dinner was a roast on the spit, with salad, buns and all good things that go with a hearty meal. Top marks to the chefs. There was a cash bar operating for those that were thirsty and a large bonfire for toasting marshmallows for kids young and old. The camaraderie and banter carried on late through the night, with kids playing spotlight and adults catching up with old and new friends. Much of the discussions were around where we saw each other last. An event like this allows for 4×4 folks that haven’t caught up in years to relive fond memories.
The event was for a good cause and we were told that the Safari over the years was a great fund for the fire service which allowed them to build a new station and find some new land with the aid of the council and a friendly local farmer below is a table of the funds that this Safari has raised over the years and is a great example of 4x4er’s and a proactive 4×4 club can achieve. Sponsors to mention this year: Ironman/ Cottle Motors, BNT, Rodney Auto centre, NZFWD Magazine, Lucas Oil, Wheel Alignment ( Kumeu Tyres), Ian Grant ( Soft Shackles) plus many more.
Day 2 started early as the firefighters turned up at 6am and started getting ready to feed the troops with bacon, eggs and dinner left overs, with fresh cups of coffee and tea available – it was a great start to the day. Day 2 was intended only for a half day for about 3 hours to allow those that have traveled from afar to make a get-away at a reasonable time in the day.
We covered farmland that we hadn’t covered in day one, and found a play pen or two to mix and mingle in. Fantastic safari, well organised well done to the Rodney Offroad Club. There were no incidents or issues a real testament to the group that attended (well over 70 trucks and 120+ people). At the end of the run, the firefighters took a group to a nearby paddock to rinse off the truck that needed rinsing, where we all said our good byes.
We were one of the last groups to leave the campground and it was pleasant to see a clean field with no rubbish left behind. Stay tuned for our trip video of the trip which captures much of the fun. See you next year folks.