It’s early morning and the All Blacks have just defeated Argentina. There’s a grey light filtering through the blinds and a dismal, damp Sunday morning presents itself to the ladies & gentlemen of the Auckland Mercedes-Benz Club. Hoody was a stickler for rules and punctuality so somehow we have got to get to the BP Service Station at Drury by 10.00 am.

To reach the BP from the South you have to travel north up the motorway and do a U turn at the Papakura interchange and then travel back South and enter the parking area and look for cars carrying a three pointed star. But not today, Waka Kotahi have closed the Papakura interchange so you have to do another U turn and head north once again to the Takanini interchange. A quick U turn to the South is speedily negotiated and we arrive in the parking area with milliseconds to spare – Hoodie would not have been amused. Fortunately, Mrs Hoodie has already arrived in a very fetching 350 SL piloted by the club’s patron, Ken Williams. The car park is well known to all members and on this braw and bleak wet Sunday the vista does not resemble Waikiki Beach.

18 cars face the starter. Chris and Mike manage to establish a fair degree of attention from the assembled members and the rules and regulations for the day are established. The Hunt will take place over a broad sweep of the Franklin district from Waiuku in the West to Ramarama in the Bombay Hills. To win the competition you must collect nine items, the first letters of each item must collectively spell “Brian Hood”, In addition photographic evidence must be collected to prove that you have visited three widespread checkpoints. You have to check in to Maxwell’s Golf Retreat by 12,25 and a nice hot lunch will be served at 12.30.

Mighty Benz engines spring into life and Stuttgart’s finest creations start to lunge forward with a lot of un-necessary revving of V8s, sixes and possibly fours. It’s a twisty drive to reach the exit and then you plunge on to the motorway and every driver feels he or she is on the Autobahn and the Polizei are not interested in your driving speed.

Light drizzle forms on the windscreen and the single blade wiper is turned on; this is interesting as you never know how long it will sweep backwards and forwards before stopping in the middle of the screen, it then refuses to move until a sudden burst of enthusiasm restores normal service. We reach Waiuku and the tide is out displaying acres of black slippery mud where once scows used to run to Onehunga. Photos are taken and we are off to Pukekohe racecourse via Maku and Patumahoe. Someone has locked the main gate at the racecourse but no matter we find another gate that someone has forgotten to lock and more photos are taken. Up steep hills to Bombay and then down the Old Great South Road to Maxwell’s Golf Club. And who should we find waiting faithfully in the rain? None other than Daryl who guides us to a special parking spot for senior members.

After an exhausting morning, the ladies & gentlemen of the Auckland Mercedes-Benz club lose no time in placing orders for a refreshing drink and something to eat. Fish & chips seems to be the number one choice and in a corner the judges are sorting out the winners. There is a three way tie for first place; so to sort out the winner Angelique DeJong & Christina Haliday, Debbie & Chris Scullin and Lyn Hood & Ken Williams are instructed to make paper darts. The dart which flies the furthest will determine the overall winner, The first two teams produced very similar darts, they both appeared to suffer from a design fault which placed too much weight in the nose. And so it proved as both darts crashed and burned. Ken & Lyn however produced a sleek model which resembled the Concorde, it flew nicely before veering off to the left and hit the wall at high speed. The crowd went wild as Lyn accepted the prize.

Now it was time for some memories of Brian Hood a member who loved the club and spent endless hours contributing his time. Marianne Hobson offered a story (where only the facts have been changed to protect the innocent). “Brian Hoodie was a polishing fanatic – his car was always highly polished, One trip we did was to Waihi, them with their caravan, us with our 5th wheeler. The Waihi Motor Camp was full of strange people living in caravans. After dinner we were having coffee in our van; Brian had gone missing. He could stand it no longer. The caravan next door needed a polish, there he was with a duster and cutting compound, busily polishing. Next minute the door opens and a black and purple negligee leaned out and grabbed Brian by the collar. She tried to pull him in to the caravan. He resisted and managed to get away! Never, after that polishing anyone’s caravan but his own”.

Farewell Brian Hood, your Club salutes you!

David Winn

Click here to view photos on our Gallery page.