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Targa Tasmania 2019 - views from the passenger seat

Published: 09 May 2019

What began as a throw away comment over a coffee at RevingtonTR HQ at Somerset UK about 18 months ago to enter the rally prepared TR5 in Targa Tasmania 'The ultimate tarmac rally', culminated in 2019 with the Targa 5 Triumph winning classic class and category plates.

The logistics of freighting the car from the UK were sorted in conjunction with some Bristols that were in transit to Oz, and after being certified locally as asbestos free, arrived safely in a container at the Melbourne international freight terminal.

Victorian and Tasmanian roads permits were obtained prior to arrival so the car could legally be driven to and from the event.

After a bit of a tidy up, Neil and Sue were on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry for the Bass Straight crossing to Launceston where we, myself and catering manager Di (lovely understanding wife) got on with our greetings. 

Having dear friends in Tasmania offering us accommodation and a vehicle for recce and service saved our team significant $$$. In addition, having a committed service crew to support our TT19 assault was also greatly appreciated. TSOA of WA member and lifelong friend Doug Simpson lead the service crew with TSOA of QLD member Brian Falloon also in support. Doug and Brian were fantastic!!

With recce completed where we were able to validate the accuracy of the pace notes, it was on to day 1 with 3 relatively short easy stages around the Launceston area. This allows teams to ease into the event before the more challenging days ahead. The final stage on day 1 being the Georgetown street stage where spectators are 5 deep along the closed roads. Always a great spectacle at Targa time. And the lunch stop at Georgetown is without doubt, the best over the 6 day event!

I do not intend to provide a day by day run down but will highlight the memories that will forever remain fondly with me.  

Only a few Triumphs were on the entry list ranging from a TR3a to early 80's TR7V8's. Among these was Jon Williams MK1 PI sedan that unfortunately blew a diff on the second day, luckily Jon had completed all stages that day before the failure. A 'rally around' brought Tas local Tarni Reynolds into action who was able to locate a replacement only around an hour away. This was rapidly procured and fitted to the MK1. This is not the first occasion Tarni has been involved in a rescue mission, she is a true champ. Jon's woes did not end there, he had an 'off' on day 5, resulting in some frontal panel damage, but with his never say die attitude, a bit of heavy hammer work, and again, there was Jon on the start line next day. What a trooper.

As attrition took it's toll entrant numbers dropped away through either mechanical or brain fade issues. Even cars in the tour category, where these are required to remain within posted speed limits were not exempt, a few ran off the road. How this could happen is anyone's guess??? I am pleased to report however, that apart from the Mk1, all other Triumphs completed all stages unscathed. 

Speaking of entrant numbers, it is becoming obvious that entrants in full competition are dropping off while cars in the tour group are increasing??? Why is this so?? Common thoughts are that as we age, we become more aware of our fragility but still want the excitement of being involved. The other suggestion is with many classics becoming more valuable, there is a reluctance to fit roll cages. Either of the above are valid. Targa management recognise this and are offering heavily discounted entry for tour category entries which may increase this category in the future.

At the conclusion of each day, visual inspections and tightening checks were carried on the '5'. Driving at 10/10ths (and beyond) in a 50 year old car if not prepared adequately would not deliver the outstanding result our team achieved. Neil's meticulous preparation programme to ensure the car could withstand the 6 day onslaught paid dividends with only a splash of oil needed and a 'tickle up' of 1 of the injectors. With the exception of these no other repairs or patch ups were necessary. A tribute to the reliability from the Revingtontr stable. This car had only recently competed in the Barbados Rally so it's credentials as an internationally successful rally car are undisputed.

I was extremely impressed with Neil's Maxsport tyre selection which were quite unlike any competition tyres we have seen here. Neil became so confident with these that passing other cars in the very wet conditions was a topic of discussion from other drivers. Commenting on their observations of how well they performed. I understand Neil had some input into the rubber compound, a tribute to his tarmac rally experience. The feedback on these will no doubt be relayed to the tyre suppliers for future compound consideration.

And if you haven't heard, or used the Evans waterless coolant!!!!! What is this stuff??? The car ran at mid range temp regardless of how it was driven and produced utterly no cooling system pressure?? 

The '5' was built to comply with non-modified class requirements. So in all areas, what we drove was as close to a standard spec vehicle as was possible under the limited up-grade options available.  What took us successfully to the finish line was the abovementioned reliability.

The scoring system in this class is a little complex as there are divisions within divisions in the classic class. As we were in non-modified, we were eligible for handicap preferences. With that said, even in the overall placings without any handicap, the '5' was running mid field into the upper placings. Quite an impressive achievement considering the field consisted of Porsches, Ferrari's and many other more high-powered cars. Our position was in no small part due entirely to Neil's driving ability. I was terribly impressed with how Neil was able to extract every ounce of performance from the '5' without ringing its neck, therefore preserving the car to reach the finish line. Throughout the 6 days, I never felt we lost control or was I in fear of my personal safety. This may read as a contradiction where speed, driver competency and road conditions can, and do result in injury, damage and at times death, but written with conviction nonetheless.

My last foray at Targa Tasmania after quite a few times as entrant was in 2016 where I announced that would be my last.....Ever heard the statement "never say never"?

It was a privilege to be involved with team Revingtontr, calling the notes in such esteemed company is something I will long remember fondly. But I think I really may have hung up my Targa race suit this time.  



Bruce Pollock

(from the left hand side of Targa car number 446)