2009 Targa Wrest Point

2009 Targa Wrest Point

By Brian Dermott. PicsTim Jones of Perfect Prints

The inaugural Targa Wrest Point rally and round of the HTCAV Tarmac Rally Championship started with a thunder of V8's on the last weekend in January, as Steve Coad and his daughter Kaila ("Kaila was awesome on the notes, really good" said proud Dad) in the 6 litre Holden Monaro lead home three mighty Fords to win the early Classic event.

Second and third spots were claimed by the Kent family, Scott and Wayne in 2nd in the 65 Mustang and Drew and Paul Krawczyk in 3rd in the 71 Falcon GT. George Nittis and Stuart Boyce suffered a delaminated tyre on the first day and by changing it were penalised 2 mins, dropping from a likely P2 to P4 in their 69 XY GT HO.

This is Steve's third podium result and champagne shower in his last three events with wife Rachel and Kaila sharing the note calling. This makes the famous orange beast also the most successful historic touring car in tarmac rallying by a long way. That such a flamboyant car is also so reliable and fast is a tribute to the Coad family and the Melbourne Performance Centre.

But this was not an easy run – Day 1 was won on only 6 cylinders thanks to a faulty coil and still the brand new Godzillas behind him on the road could not catch up the 30 sec start. When all 8 cylinders got going on Day two, the huge 4 minute lead over the Fords expanded quickly.

Some way behind the Monaro, the Kent brothers had a terrific battle, with Scott's modified spec (MS) Mustang coming out ahead by a mere 14 secs over Drew's limited modified (LMS) Falcon GT. Drew and Paul won the first day thanks to a strong run on the long Tahune stage , when Scott and Wayne suffered a terrifying brake failure when the pipe blew out of a rear calliper. Banging it flat then rebleeding gave them 3 good brakes but not much stability so slowly started to match times and then edge ahead by a few seconds on Day 2 when a new pipe went in. George Nittis finished Day 1 in second spot 7 secs ahead of the Kents but the tyre problem on Day 2 relegated the GT HO to fourth.

Mick Cross and Leigh Chaplin were in 5th spot, two and a half minutes behind the V8s, in the orange LJ Torana XU1 ; local Hobart driver Mick has competed regularly in Tasmanian historic racing and on the mainland in the Biante series events and in HTCAV races such as the Winton Historics but this was his first attempt at a tarmac rally. To beat the experienced Torana crew (running MS) of Queenslanders Wayne Pfingst and John Loth by an impressive four and a half minutes in only 14 stages bodes well for their future career. And is proof of just how competitive a Group Nc car and crew combination can be in the sister sport.

I spoke to Mick Cross about how he felt in his first event. Like many racers, Mick had trees on his mind as he lined up for the start, but the moment the lights went green, he never gave that aspect another thought. He became totally caught up in the challenge of driving clean and fast, listening for the corner call and getting line and gear selection and turn in and power on just right. On the track, you know where the corners are and where they go and if you don't commit flat out you'll be slow. On a stage, you leave a margin for the unexpected, the thrill is stringing a sequence together on the perfect line.

The Torana was straight off the track, with just the suspension softened off a bit; so here is a drum rear braked Torana running not far behind super developed V8's. Asked about what he enjoyed most, he mentioned the enthusiasm of the thousands of locals lining the route for the classic tourers. On Oyster Cove stage, they lost their notes and in the confusion were caught and passed by a Porsche 911. Now Mick had the Porsche to follow, and started to keep up. Then they got the notes back and now he was catching up. On the stage is a spectator point, and suddenly a crowd of Tasmanians saw what they thought was a Torana about to pass a Porsche 911. The crowd went mad; as Mick put it: 'I'm a fuckin' legend in Oyster Cove !'

Although not entered for Targa Tasmania at the moment, let's hope this promising local crew see such an excellent result as reason to give The Big One a serious go. We need more Torana's out there !

The final crew to earn Club points in 6th position was Mike and Cathy Arundel in their glorious original LMS 1963 Ford Cortina; a little out-gunned on the steep and dry Huon Valley stages, the Arundels gave the Torana's a nudge on the more technical stages, especially Tahune.

Only two tourers failed to finish out of our 15 starters, which was better than the overall average, in which 21 crews DNF'd out of 115 starters in only a day and a half of competition

So the 2009 HTCAV Championship has started and has a leader. There were 58 starters in the combined Classic event so the historic tourers overall finishing place is deducted from that – the Coad Monaro was third overall in Combined Classic so earns 55 points. He was top historic tourer so gets 28 Club Points, making a total of 83 points. Targa Wrest Point had 180 competitive kilometres so that score is multiplied by 180 to give 14,940 points. The results are below:

2009 HTCAV Championship results after Round 1:
Targa Wrest Point

HTC pos Crew Vehicle Total
1 Coad – Coad 1971 Holden Monaro GTS 14940
2 Kent – Kent 1965 Ford Mustang    12960
3 Kent – Krawczyk 1971 Ford Falcon GT 12060
4 Nittis – Boyce 1969 Ford XY GT HO 10260
5 Cross – Chaplin 1971 Holden Torana XU1    8100
6 Pfingst – Loth 1971 Holden Torana    6480
7 Arundel – Arundel 1963 Ford Cortina    4860
8 Wheaton – Endersbee 1971 Alfa Romeo GTV    3960
9 Waldron – Gregory 1955 FIAT Abarth 750    3060
10 Blake – Currow 1955 FIAT 600 2700
11 Large – Large 1972 Ford Falcon GT 2520
12 Henry – Bryan 1965 Alfa Romeo Giulia Super    2340
13 Wilcox – Minehan 1969 Holden Monaro    1980
14 Manning – Richardson    1971 Ford Capri GT    1800
15 Jones – Smythe 1953 Holden FJ    1800

It's now only 10 weeks to Targa Tasmania and despite the crisis in entries in many motorsport events, this is one event which seems immune to the GFC with entries well up to standard. It is also the event which counts for most points with over 440 competitive kilometres on the Octagon menu. Now is the time for racers in the Club to take advantage of the concessional entry fee available to Club members and give this engrossing and challenging sport a go.