After I got my Brown Belt and Black Tips 1997 in Zen-Do-Kai, I left New Zealand for Europe in 1999, which meant I would not achieve my Black Belt, choosing instead a career in motorsport. "Driving in the World Rally Championship", a dream that I had firmly in my mind. Soon I realised by residing in the UK with a population of 16 times New Zealand and no opportunities to drive on limitless gravel and tarmac roads every day... The only answer is to compete!
I worked hard in my carpentry trade and hired an AE86 Toyota Corolla to compete in my first European rally against World Rally cars, much superior equipment with over 100 cars (and a puncture). We achieved:
2000 - 27th place overall - Thurlby Wolds Stage Rally (UK).
From that day the Corolla was purchased and personally stripped and rebuilt. All funded by my carpentry business and weekend work as a Rally Instructor.
The car was bought in Norwich, England, as an ex-works two-wheel drive Toyota AE86 Corolla, seam welded at every join to create a rigid chassis along with altered firewall and a floor so as to have the engine as far as possible to the rear to give greater traction. The shell has been sanded to bare metal, panelled and resprayed from the grounds up. The engine is a works Toyota Race Developments 4 AGE twin cam dry sumped with 48mm weber side draft carburettors which produce approximately 200 BHP.
Converting that horsepower is a Quaife close ratio, straight cut gearbox running into a ford limited slip diff with 10-inch disc brakes. Stopping the front are 12 inch vented disc brakes. Its running 15-inch wheels and a handcrafted mandrel 2 1/2 inch exhaust system. That along with everything else, being brand new and fitted by ourselves will make for a reliable, class winning car that each team members is familiar with for next years BTRDA rally series.