Let’s zip down under for some mid-1980s Kiwi action courtesy of VHS Rallies.
This 45-minuter is based on the 45-stage, 630-competitive mile 1984 Sanyo Rally New Zealand – but the program does so much more than just detailing a Stig Blomqvist victory aboard his factory Audi Quattro A2.
It’s an insight into what it takes to run the seventh of 12 WRC rounds in the 1984 season. Running out of Auckland, the event moves through the Northland region and into the heart of Kiwi country.
Embracing the opportunity to get under the skin of the organization, there’s footage of the unsung heroes who pass over the entire route ahead of the 63-strong field of competitors.
Spotting one of the locals parked up, our man offers some pretty straightforward advice.
“Get the bloody thing off the road.”
And then there’s the focus on the town of Paparoa and the locals’ steadfast refusal to let the World Rally Championship passing through take their focus off a cold Steinlager and the second All Blacks test against the French just down the road at Eden Park.
The All Blacks won. Naturally.
As he was flicking an ‘open’ sign in the opposite direction, the local garage owner was asked why he was closing when the rally was about to come through – no doubt in need of petrol, sustenance and supplies. The answer demonstrated beautifully the difference between the roaming rallies of days past and today’s approach to promotion.
“Nobody told me it was coming.”
In among all this is some typically brilliant New Zealand rally action over classically cambered roads.
Without wishing to spoil the finale, let’s give event winner and 1984 world champion the final word.
Stig, how was the 1984 Sanyo Rally New Zealand for you?
“And we’ve been lucky with the weather.”
A brilliant end to a brilliant trip back down the lane marked ‘memory’.
VHS Rallies is an unofficial, unapproved project to save old TV rally reports and footage from decaying VHS tapes before they deteriorate beyond the point of no return. Several hundred hours of material have already been saved and some highlights are shared on youtube.com/c/vhsrallies. VHS Rallies is always keen to find new material, so if you have old tapes you think might be of interest, you can contact the project at Facebook on fb.me/sidewayssaved or via Twitter at twitter.com/vhsrallies.