Targa West Rally: Gunson couple steer their way to win

Va-va vroom: Simon and Sharon Gunson, winners in their |respective classes in the Targa West rally.
Va-va vroom: Simon and Sharon Gunson, winners in their |respective classes in the Targa West rally.

THERE was a double celebration in Simon and Sharon Gunson’s Canning Vale home when the husband and wife team took first place in their respective classes at the Targa West rally on August 11-14.

Mrs Gunson won the Modern Challenge category in her Mitsubishi Evo. Mr Gunson won the Classic Competition category in his 1971 Ford Capri Perana.

Mr Gunson works at the GTI Performance Centre, Bibra Lake, and the team had eight cars in the event.

There were four classes at the rally. Vehicles entered in the Challenge Category required roll cages and were restricted to 130 kilometres an hour, with penalties applying for exceeding that.

The couple are proven winners. Mrs Gunson has won three times at the rally and her husband has two wins.

The rally ran for four days beginning on Thursday, August 11 and finishing in the Perth CBD on Sunday, August 14 with more than 30 stages around Perth including Wanneroo, Kalamunda, Malaga, Bullsbrook and Toodyay.

Mrs Gunson said the key for her was constantly to be consistent. “The whole idea of Targa West is you have got to be consistent and do consistently clean runs for all the stages,” she said.

“I know that car and I am aware of my driving capabilities. I don’t push it to the limit or the edge. It’s all about driving and maintaining your own limits.

“I drive the car and the car drives me to the best of my ability.”

GTI Performance Centre has an arrangement with the Motor Trade Association (MTA), which sees MTA mechanical apprentices come and work with them on events, giving the apprentices hands-on training in a motorsport environment.

Mr Gunson said his love of cars came from when he was living in England as a child.

“When I was a child I grew up around cars,” he said. “When I was 12 years old I bought a Mini and pulled it apart and then put it back together.”

He said he used to race Capris in England in the 1980s.

“It’s the car package powerful car lightweight car,” he said.

“It’s a crowd pleaser as it makes plenty of noise and goes sideways a lot of the time. It’s a very fun car to drive.”

“It’s all about seat time. People that race once or twice or a year are never going to win.”

Mrs Gunson said she learned to drive when her husband encouraged her to give it a go on a corporate day.

She got in the car and after she finished, her husband said “who the hell taught you to do that?”

Mrs Gunson said apparently she had some natural skills.

“I have always been a bit of a rev head and into motorbikes,” she said.