Sunday, April 27, 2008

Targa Tasmania 2008

As usual i'm way behind and blogging stuff that happened last weekend. Tasmania's annual tarmac rally event came and went and we managed to catch one of the 39 stages. The rally takes the form of a five-day long tour around the State, with special stages interspersed along the way - some around the little towns and others in the sticks, but all on public roads. Although it's an amateur rally, some of the competitors are known faces. This year we had a few of the Australian Rally Championship fellas, and a certain Alister McRae (who took first place in the showroom FWD category).

The final stage of the week was in Hobart,
but I wanted to try and avoid the scrum in town, and it was only a demonstration stage anyway. I fancied a whopping 47km stage three hours north of Hobart, which would have included some seriously fast sections and open views, but it would have been too much effort to make it. Instead we went to see stage 37 at Tarraleah. This stage snaked down a steep-sided forested valley past two hydro power stations, then back up the other side of the valley - a total of around 8km.

As I discovered
when I picked up my programme for the event this year's field of ~300 entries had but two Triumph entries; a TR3a and Mk2 GT6. Well, by the final day it seemed that the TR had given up the ghost, but I had discovered that the GT6 was actually being driven by a UK Daily Telegraph writer and getting a bit of its own coverage back home.

We settled in at what seemed like a good spectator's corner and made cups of tea whilst the officials closed and cleared the road, then tried to get the best shots we could as a wide variety of cars of all shapes and sizes came carreering into the sharp bend we were watching - there must have been something wrong with the pace notes as more than a few locked up and struggled to negotiate things correctly.

One soon learns that one is not a sports photographer in these situations!!!


I've always had a soft spot for the Renault Spider

Peter Hall was giving it his all, although my Triumph contacts on the mainland said he'd had a diff. sent down in the week...

Peter Hall GT6

The race is run in reverse order, so once the slower, more interesting cars had gone and we began to get bored with a relentless stream of Evos, 911 GTs and Subarus we headed back to our own little rally car (!) and joined the Targa convoy to head to the New Norfolk lunch stop. This meant that we had half an hour or so behind a Porker GT3 and some Evos through the winding roads, which was a good laugh despite the relatively gentle pace.

The lunch stop was great, too. All the cars lined up waiting for their off, drivers and co-drivers having a relaxed chat, knowing that there were only a couple of stages left in the week. New Norfolk looked rather different to usual!



We cruised back to Hobart, and I noted the momentous occasion of overtaking Alister McRae (ok it was on a dual carriageway).

In the evening we popped down to the casino down the road from our place to see the finish line and all the cars parked up. It was dark unfortunately, so the photos are pretty ordinary, but there was a real buzz around. I was hoping to catch up with Peter Hall to see how he'd found Tassie. Ella and her sister compiled a catalogue of cars they would happily own, a selection of which are below:






This Volvo would have to win the 'noise of the day' award in my opinion and it was being driven very hard indeed.



Anyone for a Jowett?


Well, Ella is well and truly hooked now and would love to give the Targa a go one day. Of course I would, but could I ever see myself getting enough time and money to do it? Who knows...

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