Racers tumble in Tasmania

Wayne Clark’s 1938 Dodge Speedster Special.
Wayne Clark’s 1938 Dodge Speedster Special.

NAMES can be very descriptive: Targa Tasmania 2016 outright winner Matt Close won the 25th anniversary event by an emphatic margin of six minutes and 41 seconds – but it was still a very close thing.
He and co-driver Cameron Reeves had a slight ‘off’ on one of the last stages and their red Porsche GT3 came close to whacking a pole.
Then they had a puncture, but still ran out winning from the Dodge Viper of Mike Pritchard and Gary Mourant and the Porsche GT4 of Jim Richards and Barry Oliver.
Fourth, after driving his heart out in a Renault Megane, was The Motor Report editor Mike Sinclair.
In the GT4 class, Steve Glenney in his Subaru WRX STI won ahead of pre-event favourite Tony Quinn, who did a bit of unexpected offroading in his $420,000 Lamborghini Huracan, and Queenslander Leigh Achterberg won the Classic handicap in his 1982 Porsche 944, a minute clear of of Petter Ullrich in a Jensen.
Jon Siddins took the Classic outright title in his 1970 Datsun 240Z from 2014 winner, Canberra’s Barry Faux, in a 1985 Mazda RX-7 and the Vintage class was won by Wayne Clark’s 1938 Dodge Speedster Special.
The event drew a record 382 entries in nine classes, with some from Japan, Singapore, the UK, South Africa and Papua New Guinea.
About 15 West Australian teams competed, including the Community News Group’s Driveway Porsche 911 Carrera of Rob Buys and Sanja Aksamija, Mark Duder and Greg Humphries in their Alpine A110 and Mick Caratti and Madelin Kirkhouse in what might be the world’s most rallied Porsche 944 Turbo.
Among other WA teams were Paul Bartlett and Paul Helm in their Escort MkI, Joe Caudo/Ivan Limb (1980 HDT Commodore), Mike Moylan and Don Behets in a Ford Thunderbolt coupe, and Glyn Crimp and Frank Brookhouse in an Audi TT RS.
More than 20 competitors came to grief during the event, the first in the first hour of the event when a Noosa father and son team ended up in hospital after a huge crash in their BMW 2002Ti.
Also on day one a Porsche missed a tight turn at the entrance to a town and ended up in a resident’s front garden, scattering garden gnomes in all directions.
Overall, it was a great event that covered 2000km and 39 special stages and was well worthy of its ‘world’s ultimate tarmac rally’ status.