Growing up, I had a notoriously weak stomach, especially when it came to motion sickness.
Put me in a car, boat or plane and there was a pretty good chance I would become unwell. When I was a student, desperate for money, I took part in a motion sickness study and was crook for days afterwards.
So, when I told my family I had been invited to sit in the passenger seat of a rally car going up to 160km/h on winding country back roads, they started putting bets on how long I would last before I threw up.
I am pleased to announce I did in fact keep my breakfast down and enjoyed one hell of a ride.
The Targa Rally left Rotorua on Friday morning and on the way to Havelock North the drivers completed multiple special stages on closed sections of public roads.
The first of those stages was on Oturoa Rd, just outside Ngongotahā, and I was a passenger in the pilot vehicle. My driver? None other than "Racing Ray" Williams, a New Zealand motorsport legend.
Our job was to drive the stage before the race competitors and make sure everything was in place. While we were restricted to 160km/h, I can tell you that was more than fast enough for someone like myself with zero motorsport experience.
Ray, who broke several New Zealand land speed records in the 1990s, was fantastic. Before we even got in the car he was cracking jokes and telling me stories about his days as a competitive rally driver. I think most rally drivers have to have that slightly mad, thrill-seeking part of the brain and within five minutes I could tell Ray had it.
The Mercedes we were in housed more than 900 horsepower and the acceleration was like nothing I had ever experienced. You were literally thrown back in your seat as it took off. On the first few corners I was certain we were going to end up in a paddock (I'm surprised I didn't put my foot through the floor of the car I was planting my invisible brakes so hard).
However, once I loosened up and realised Ray was in full control, I was able to really enjoy the experience. Slowing into each corner and absolutely flying out the other end. Anyone who knows me will tell you I am not a thrill seeker - Netflix on the couch for me, thanks. But, I have to say my first rally experience left me unable to wipe the smile from my face for the rest of the day.
At the competitive end of the event, when things wrapped up in Havelock North on Sunday, it was Auckland's Hayden McKenzie and co-driver Matthew Sayers in their Mitsubishi Evo 10 4WD who claimed the overall win.
They finished with almost a minute up their sleeve, leading home teammates David Rogers and Aidan Kelly (Mitsubishi Evo 10) who were second, and finishing just over two-and-a-half minutes ahead of the third-placed BMW 318ti (and first 2WD car home) of last year's event winner Steven Kirk-Burnnand and his co-driving brother Carl.
The only disappointing aspect of my first rally experience was at the end, when I had to get back in my own car (which does 0-100km/h in about five days) and drive back to the office.