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Current Rookie and Junior New Zealand Rally Champion, Matt Jansen, was one of the thousands of Cantabrians who were rudely awakened at 4.35am last Saturday morning when the earthquake struck.
 
Although seriously shaken by the minute long quake and the many after-shocks since, the 22 year old Christchurch resident is happy and relieved to report that all his family and associates came through unscathed, and the PMT Motorsport Team will still take part in the final round of this year's New Zealand Rally Championship [NZRC] in Masterton this weekend - September 11 - 12.
 
"It was undoubtedly the scariest thing I have have ever experienced," said Matt. "I was actually woken up by the noise, which sounded like a train rushing through the house, and then the rocking and rolling started, and things began falling over in the bedroom."
 
"The worst part was not knowing how long it was going to go on for, and hanging onto the bed and watching all the lights go out in the neighbourhood. Once it stopped, it took a while to pick my way out of the bedroom as there was a lot of broken stuff on the floor."
 
Fortunately, Matt lives in a southern suburb near the Port Hills which is on volcanic ground, so his area has not been too badly affected.
 
"Once we worked out that everyone was ok and that the house was still intact and secure, our thoughts turned to work and whether the MITECH WELDERS Subaru would still be on the hoist where we had left it on Friday night. So at 5 in the morning we were heading off to the workshop [in a nearby suburb] and were relieved to find that the car had survived as well."
 
So once the power and water were restored, over the last couple of  days, it has been a case of picking up the pieces and trying to get back to as normal a way of life as the after-shocks will allow.
 
"They [the after-shocks] have sure been unnerving for everyone, as there have been lots of pretty big jolts since, and working under cars on hoists has been quite a different experience, I can tell you...!!"
 
"But at least everyone is ok and if it had to happen, it did at the 'best' time, when most people were at home and away from the CBD."
 
"So now we can turn our attention to heading north to the Wairarapa and the welcome prospect of hot showers and an opportunity to continue the good form and pace we showed at Nelson last month."
 
"We now feel quite confident that we can continue to find even more speed, and with the further changes we have made since Nelson, believe we can step up to the next level and go for an even better result to round off our second season in the national rally championship."
 
 
The 2010 TrustHouse Racetech Rally Wairarapa starts with a Ceremonial Start at the Copthorne Solway Park from 530pm on Friday evening, and was originally set to comprise 14 special stages totaling 230 kilometres. However the flooding earlier this week has meant that Stage 11 (the 14k Kopikopiko) has been cancelled.

Saturday’s route opens with two all-new stages east of Carterton and Masterton before heading north to familiar stages around Eketahuna. Sunday’s stages are based entirely around Eketahuna, and have all been used in previous years.

The Rally Finish will be back at the Copthorne Solway Park from 330pm on Sunday afternoon.


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