It was a total disaster. All of my CannonBall Run NZ audio files were lost after a major device malfunction. Fortunately some of the files had made their way to the digital cloud and, after much panicking and despair, were salvaged. It may not be much more than a chaotic collection of clips but I hope you enjoy this insight into the fun we all had on the day and I hope to see you all there next year to experience it for your selves. Of course audio alone could never do the CannonBall Run NZ justice so this week we have included a full article and plenty of photos to give you the full spectrum of one of the best events of the summer.


I scrabbled to silence my phones alarm before it had a chance to wake up my wife, slipped out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. Bleary eyed and worn from a late night I reached for my tooth brush as I splashed cold water over my face to will myself into existence.
I had made the same mistake I have every year that the Cannonball Run NZ rolls around and left stickering up the car to the last minute. As a result, not getting to bed until about 2am.  It was now 6am and I still had to pick up my brother, check my tyre pressures and fill the car with fuel. Not only that but I hadn’t even driven the Golf GTI for over a month and had no idea if it would even start.

After a semi-conscious  stumble down stairs, grabbing essentials along the way we were in the car, which fired up joyfully no problem, and heading out to take part in Auckland Motorsports fifth annual Cannonball Run New Zealand.
After a splash n dash at the petrol station and a stop to grab my brother we were on our way to the start in Albany. Or at least we would have if I hadn’t forgotten my charge cable for my phone and had to rush back home for it.

Ok back on track, it was now 7:30 and I was barreling along the motorway spotting other competitors, their cars stickered and dressed to this years Mad Max II theme, along the way.
That’s one of the joys of there event. The comradely you instantly feel as you encounter other Cannonballers on the road first thing. Tooting and waving and egging each other on.

On arriving at the Start off point it is obvious that this is going to be the biggest event yet with over 200 cars entered and filling the car park with teams dressed in various guises of Mad Max characters.
This year I carried a special car number (Press) which saw my car and team swarmed as soon as we parked up due to the inclusion of a a question I this years mission pack asking who I represent. This left me with an instant dilemma as I had no idea how specific Vaughn had been on the question. Was it Auto Clique or my podcast Drive Life NZ? I chose to give both answers and still have no idea which one was correct.

After some mingling with other Cannonballers, exploring all the uniquely dressed up cars and taking the opportunity to grab some short interviews for my attempt at an audio diary for the podcast ( which you can find here) it was time for the driver briefing before the dash back to the car and the scramble to get under way.
At the sound of the starter horn engines revved, horns tooted and Cannonballers yelled. We were off! Thanks to the help of Auckland’s supportive Police, who had the road blocked off, allowing us all to get underway without hesitation and traffic.


Despite the race to get out of the gate and enthusiastic revving of engines, the Cannonball Run NZ is not a race, it does not promote speeding or bad behaviour on the road. It is a Rally. It is, as event organiser Vaughan Philip calls it, automotive fun. The goal in any Cannonball event is to have as much fun as possible while travelling on a prescribed route set out in the Challenge Book, taking part in tasks along the way.


The tasks are broken up into following. Clues that lead you to photographing landmarks, of which you can get more points for the most originality in your picture. Taking part in challenges, such as this year we had to gain stickers that represented either fuel, food or ammo by firstly robbing a local convenience store, impressing a local bar keep or kidnapping one of the locals and holding them to ransom.
Other than taking on landmark challenges along the way. This year we had two main challenge points based in Kaukapakapa, north of Albany and Asylum Paintball in the Spookers compound out in Karaka. The former saw battles with water cannons on the back of Utes with local fire trucks, the hold up of a local store for supplies, the kidnapping of the town sherif and challenges such as entertaining the vocal barmaid or making your way though dry Wheat-bix in record time all in order of claiming additional ammo, Spam, or fuel stickers which would lead to points later on.


The latter was a scavenger hunt of sorts which lead teams though the maze of the Asylum to take photos of land mark graffiti and prove your worth as a shooter in a target room armed only with 8 pallets and a paintball gun.
Chalenges passed it was back on the road and a sprint to Pukekohe Race Way though some, not necessarily indicated in the mission book, back roads. I joined a line of cars which included a Ferrari, Maserati, Charger, Ariel Atom and Caterham as we negotiated the tight, twisty roads in an unlucky line of diversity.


This was my third Cannonball event and though it was a shorter rout than usual I felt it was one of the best so far. Not only did everyone get right into the theme and but the sense of camaraderie this year was great. Everyone was supportive of each other, cheering each other on in challenges and piling in on photos well above what the challenge book asked for. Though we all started off the day as strangers we played together like family.

This, above all else I think, really sums up he spirit of the Cannonball Run NZ.


If you want to learn more about the Cannonball Run NZ, follow the link to their homepage or go to Auckland Motor spot’s Facebook.If you haven’t already had a listen check out Vaughan Philip on the Drive Life NZ Podcast.


Roger Baillie (twitter:@rojn8r)







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Roger Baillie
Brought up in a world of Mini's, road trips, rallying and tinkering it is unsurprising that among my passions, since I can remember, cars have been something very special to me. The way they look, the way they smell and especially the way the sound. This passion has grown over the years from a spectator's seat at Formula 1 and WRC events to active participation in events such as the Cannonball Run NZ and Stance Off Events. My current love affair is with a slightly tuned Mk4 Golf GTI which brings me nothing but joy on the road. This love for driving and cars has led me start a Podcast dedicated to my love of driving called Drive Life NZ where I hope to share my story while exploring the varied stories of other enthusiasts. Dispelling the myths surrounding car people and celebrating our diversity.



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