April saw the annual pilgrimage to Targa Tasmania for the TargaRacing team. In this years event we ran 4 NC’s, and a BMW 130i.
The crews were –
ADAM DODD and LEE C-MILES in their 1st Targa Tasmania and riding high after their podium at Targa Wrest Point.
ANDREW MCKAY and ALEX HAILSTONE also in their 1st Targa Tasmania and leading the Australian Tarmac Championship in SHOWROOM!!
BRIAN ANDERSON and PAUL SHACKLADY in their 1st Targa event together.
KELLY SILVERTHORN and DUANE BENTLEY our Canadian friends back again for another trip around Tassie!!
GEOFF KENNEDY and GEOFF NEALE in the BMW
This year was the 20th anniversary of Targa Tasmania and with over 370 entries it was always going to be an epic time. The event began on Monday April 4th with paperwork and scrutineering at the Silverdome which would be our base in Launceston until we left for the west cost on Saturday. As always the preparation on the cars ensured they flew through all the checks and were assembled inline on the Silverdome floor.
Day 0 began with the Georgetown prologue and display in the town’s park. This is a great little warm up for all the crews and gives them their first taste of competition with the crowds cheering on.
Day 1 saw some beautiful clear weather and this enabled the crews to settle in to the 8 stages of the day.
Day 2 saw the circus travelling to the east coast and included the famous Sideling stage on the way to St Helens for lunch. Although the conditions were fine and dry, due to some recent terrible weather a couple of stages had been shortened but the crews were getting the hang of things!! The day concluded with the Longford street stage
Day 3 began with clear skies and saw the teams travel around Launceston before heading north. The Canadians had a small off and grazed the LH side of the MX5 along a gate. The service crew were quickly on hand and a quick check revealed only superficial damage, including a few dents, scratches and a missing mirror. The final stage before lunch was another street stage in Devonport, however the huge crowds had been underestimated by the local authorities, resulting in this stage being downgraded to a tour. Service that afternoon saw a full checkover of the cars and fitting of the extra tyres in preparation for the trip to the West coast and the weather that was sure to ensue.
Day 4 began with relative clear weather and the crews headed north for the morning stages before lunch in Ulverstone and then the run down south to Strahn. Due to the availability of secondary roads the service crews left to cut across the middle and meet the crews before they head down to the final 3 stages of the day. We meet up with some of the other crews at the end of the Cethana stage and watched as some of the crashed cars were recovered. We then headed off to our next service point before Mt Black and awaited the crews. The weather was closing in fast and in no time the light drizzle tuned into showers then into heavy rain. The roads were incredibly slippery even at road speeds and the incidents and accidents increased. We then met the car crews at the overnight stop of Strahn where the evening service was completed. Due to the limited access the service crews then left Strahn and travelled to Queenstown for the evening.
Day 5 began with threatening skies and wet roads. Again the run out of Queenstown was very slippery even for the service cars. The 3rd stage of the day is the famous Mt Arrowsmith and this consists of just under 60 km of incredible roads from tight twisty stuff to open fast plains. Two thirds of the way through the stage the Dodd/C-Miles car ran a little wide in the slippery conditions and slid off the road into a small ditch. Although the car suffered no damage it was well and truly stuck and despite the frantic efforts of both the guys remained there until the end of the stage. The service crew quickly had the car back on the road with the minimum of delay. Despite this they missed one stage and incur a 20 minute penalty resulting in them slipping from their strong 3rd place. Next stop was Wrest Point Casino and the finish. The crews all made their way in and it was an exciting time to have them all together again. Andrew and Alex had cemented their 3rd place in Targa Tasmania and in doing so won the Showroom class of the Australian Tarmac Championship outright. Additionally Adam and Lee had secured 3rd place of the Championship which gave MX5 Racing a 1st and 3rd place with the Mazda Australia MPS in 2nd. The weather held off and a huge celebration began as they took the podium and were part of the champagne bath.
Targa Tasmania truly is one of the best motorsport events in the world. To have just one car complete the event is a massive undertaking so to have all our cars reach the end with just a few scrapes and bumps is a true credit to the level headed teamwork that went on with all the car crews and the fantastic support of our service crews of Lou Iezzi & Matt and Mary Dolan. Next stop is Targa High Country in November!!