Post Targa Review – ’09

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We’re all back from Targa 2009 and what a time was had by all. It would take days of writing to cover all our adventrures (and some of these should never be repeated anyway!!) so I’ve just covered the basics.

The road car, 2 Ford Transit’s and a Nissan X-Trail supported our 3 competition cars.

The crews were –

Car 1 – Adam Spence and Dave Colvin (black/green)
Car 2 – Chris Bowden and Duncan Mackeller (black/red)
Car 3 – Kelly Silverthorn and Glyn Trafford (white/blue)

Day 0 consisted of the road section from Launceston to Georgetown on the nth coast where the Prologue was to be held. This was a 5.2 km competition stage and a 122 km touring stage. We used this as a guide to work out fuel consumption for the coming days.

The day went without a hitch and all cars went well. Refuelled on the way back to the Silverdome where they were all washed and packed away for the day.

Day 1 was 71 km of comp and 257 of touring. The cars were off for the first 4 stages and we would meet them in Beaconsfield again on the Nth Coast for the lunchbreak/service. Cars all arrived ok. We then tracked back to Mole Creek to meet them for the afternoon refuel before travelling off to the Silverdome for the evening service. Cars all arrived back ok. Car 1 had a particularly hard landing off a bridge jump so full front-end inspection was undertaken. No damage found, all suspension tightened. Car 3was jumping out of 3rd gear and a quick adjustment had this sorted in no time. All fluids checked – ok and refuelling done. Cars washed and packed away for the night.

Later in the evening it was announced that cars 1 and 2 would be penalised for speeding at the bridge where car 1 had done the hard landing. At the drivers briefing and in the notes it was restricted to 40 km/h and our 2 cars had exceeded this. Car one held the record with the fastest speed of 127 km/h. The penalty was announced – 10 minutes for each car

Day 2 was 81 km of comp and 343 of touring including the famous Sideling pass. Again the cars left the park early in the morning with the service crew off to meet them at St Helens for lunch. Located on the East Coast it was a great spot right on the water. We then double backed to meet them after the last stage for the refuel into town. Back to the Silverdome for service and then wash and into the Silverdome.

Day 3 was 66 km of comp and 286 of touring. We would meet the cars for the lunchbreak at Devonport just after the street stage. After leaving Devonport we flew back to Mole Creek again and then the final check at Deloraine before they returned to the Service Park at the Silverdome.

Day 4 was 141 km of comp and 315 of touring. This would be our biggest day and included Cethana and Hellyer Gorge. Cars left the Silverdome for the final time and headed off for stage one. We would meet them at Riana before double backing to be in place after the Hellyer Gorge stage. Service crews one and two were together at Riana when the call on the Satellite phone came – car 1 was off the road. Drivers ok but car will need to be recovered. Lou and I headed for the crash site while service crew 2 reorganised their run to cover all cars. We arrived to find the car well off the road and just about buried in blackberry bushes!!

The boys had clipped a tree on the way in but it was mainly superficial damage. The recovery crew arrived and dragged it back on the road then we did a quick assessment. It was decided the best place for repairs would be Burnie so off we went. Once there the front was stripped off and Lou and I set about getting the car fixed.

New radiator, straighten some brackets and refit bar and tailight as best we could. All sorted in about 45 minutes and then wave goodbye again. Mad rush from Burnie to Strahan on some of the best roads in Tassie. We passed through a couple of stages just as they re-opened the road and dodged our way round crashed and overturned cars…..

Arrived in Strahan for service then a quick bite before heading to Queenstown for the overnight stay for the service crews.

Day 5 was the final day and was 102 km of comp and 235 of touring. The driving crews were left all by themselves in Strahan the night before and were told to refuel at Queenstown after the 1st leg. Two of them followed instructions however the 3rd decided they could make it to the next refuel point no problems. Unfortunately they ran out and had to get assistance from another service crew who provided fuel to them….. In the end all the cars made it into Hobart for the finish.

So many highlights for me and the team and what an awesome time we had. The weather was terrific with only one wet day although we did have some rain during the road sections, which only added to the fun.

Now roll on next year!!


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