Day 2: Orewa to Tauranga
Tuesday 30th March
Section 1 : Host Auckland Mustang
The participants plus a number of AMOC cars met in the front car park at the McDonalds Restaurant in Orewa, in brilliant sunshine. Ken Smith started the briefing at 9.00 am with approx 60 people and 40 cars present. At 9.30 am the cars roared out of Orewa and headed for the Auckland harbour bridge. Just before the bridge the cars formed into two lines and the convoy proceeded over the Auckland harbour bridge using the two right hand lanes, headlights blazing and made an impressive sight!
Onwards down the motorway to Manukau and exit to the Ford NZ HQ for a 30 min morning coffee break.
At the Ford HQ participants were treated to a selection of savouries and drinks and asked to sign a Ford Flag. At 10.30 am the convoy departed Ford, returned to the motorway and headed south to the large Mercer rest area where cars were gassed up and participants headed into the mall for a meal in the food hall. This marked the closure of the Auckland club section, and Wal Marshall took the opportunity to thank Ken Smith for the fantastic organisational job he had done on the Kaitaia to Mercer section of the event. Ken then presented Wal with the flag that had been signed at the Ford HQ earlier that morning as recognition for his work in organising the event.
Section 2 : Host Waikato Mustang Owners Club
At approx 12.30 pm the convoy departed Mercer for Hamilton. Due to roadworks on SH1 at Colin Bates of the Waikato decided to deviate from the planned route and lead the cars off SH1 at Rangiriri, down the western side of the Waikato river and back onto SH1 near Huntly. Unknown to us at the same time, this bypass proved to be very fortuitous because a fatal crash had occurred on the SH1 roadworks which blocked it for several hours. (This crash caused the death of well known Historian Michael King and his wife Maria). Had the convoy been caught up in this, the remainder of the days planned activities would have been badly disrupted.
The convoy arrived in Hamilton and proceeded down River Road to the Hamilton Gardens for stretch, toilet stop and chat. Several Waikato members brought their cars to the venue to boost numbers to approx 40. Included was Barry Featherstone with his Red Boss 429 which was parked beside Wal Marshall's. This meant the only 1969 Boss 429's in NZ were parked together for the first time. The weather remained gloriously sunny. (Waikato Times coverage the following week).
At about 2.30 pm the convoy departed Hamilton for Paeroa. On the way Morrinsville was inadvertently bypassed by some of the convoy, but in Te Aroha many local people turned out to wave the convoy through. After a little arrival confusion as to the location of the L&P Cafe (Right-Hand Kevin strikes again!) the participants were finally all parked up at the northern end of Paeroa, for a quick coffee break.
Section 3: Host BOP Mustang Owners Club
Around 4.45 pm the cars departed Paeroa for to Tauranga. This section was a little faster than normal as the event was behind schedule. The run was trouble free none the less, other than a truck which positioned itself near the head of the convoy and refused to budge! At about 6 pm the cars arrived at the Armitage Hotel and were positioned in the car park along with additional BOP Club cars, for a public car show.
The evening was relaxing and casual with a few drinks enjoyed in the hotel bar, and a yummy BBQ Meal cooked by the pool. Unfortunately it was a rather cool night so most opted to eat inside! Entry and security for the cars during the evening was provided by the BOP Club including great thanks to Darren Degerholm who did the cold 9 -11 pm shift and who gave up valuable swot time for an exam the next day. Professional security was then employed to watch the cars overnight.