TARGA MARKS NEXT MILESTONE WITH ANOTHER FIRST
Glenn Inkster and Spencer WinnAll set for the 21st Targa New Zealand event in October are Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn (#954) in the Ecolight Mitsubishi Evo 8.
Last year tarmac motor rally organiser Targa New Zealand marked its 20th anniversary with a six-day Christchurch to Queenstown odyssey - the event's first foray into the South Island. This year the event returns to its North Island roots with another event first - over 1000 kms of closed special stages.
"It's a biggie alright," says Event Director Peter Martin. "And we've done it as a direct response to competitor feedback.
"Typically over the six days of a main Targa event we would run to, say, 6-800kms of special stages and between 1500 and 1800 kms of travelling in-between."Simon Clark and Richard SomervilleClass winners at the recent Targa Bambina event included Simon Clark and Richard Somerville (#601) in Modern 2WD
"This is the first time in our knowledge that any modern Targa-type event around the world has been able to clock up over 1000kms of special stages. In terms of bang for your buck it is unprecedented, here or anywhere else."
This year's six-day event starts in Auckland on (Labour Day) Monday October 26 and finishes in Palmerston North on Saturday October 31.
In-between are 35 closed special stages comprising a total of 1067kms linked by 1431.7kms of touring stages with overnight stops in Hamilton, New Plymouth (two nights), Palmerston North and Havelock North.
Included are some classic stages from previous main Targa events like Glen Murray, Kawhia, Inglewood, Whangamo
mona, Gentle Annie and Mangatainoka.
"What we're doing, in effect," says Martin, "is celebrating our return to the North Island, to the event's roots if you like, by taking some of the best and most popular stages from previous events and putting them together in one. It's going to be mega!"
Response from the event's many regulars has been immediate and enthusiastic with defending Targa South Island winner Glenn Inkster and co-driver Spencer Winn one of the first pairings to confirm their entry.
Others like former Targa Rotorua winner Leigh Hopper and co-driver Simon Kirkpatrick, and high-profile motorsport personality Clark Proctor and co-driver Sue O'Neill, have also been quick to sign up.Bevan Claridge and Campbell TannockClass winners at the recent Targa Bambina event Bevan Claridge and co-driver Campbell Tannock (#312) in Metalman Classic.
Inkster and Winn also won the recent three-day Targa Bambina event between Auckland and Rotorua and Inkster says that after having to pull out of the 2013 Targa New Zealand event he and Winn have some 'unfinished business' to deal with this time around.
"Winning the 20th anniversary event was our big goal last year, but now that we have done that we decided that our main goal this year would be to not only finish all three Targa events, but to win them as well," he said.
Interest in the concurrent but non-competitive Targa Tour is also high, with over 30 entries already confirmed.
Entry information is available on the event website www.targa.co.nz with the standard pricing structure in place until the end of the month (July) before late entry fees kick in from August 1.
Dubbed 'The Ultimate Road Race,' the annual New Zealand Targa event can trace its links back to the classic open road races - the Targa Floria and the Mille Miglia - popular in Italy from the early years of the 20th century until the 1970s.
'Targa' is Italian for 'plate,' a reference either to a car's licence plate or to the rectangular bronze plate awarded to the winner of the Targa Floria.
The first Targa New Zealand event, inspired by the success of Australia's Targa Tasmania event, was held in 1995, and since then the annual multi-day New Zealand event has been joined by other shorter, regional events under the direction of current owner and event director Peter Martin.
Key to the on-going success of the main and subsidiary events is the unique New Zealand landscape with its unsurpassed network of sinuous sealed roads perfect for closed Targa stages.
Targa New Zealand events are organised with the support of sponsors Chicane, Ecolight, Federal tyres, Global Security, Kids In Cars, Metalman, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Racetech, TeamTalk, TrackIt and VTNZ.
Prepared by Ross MacKay FAST COMPANY on behalf of Targa NZ, photo credit Ben and Graham Hughes & Owen de Mooy PROSHOTZ Photography. To find out more about the various Targa events go to the Targa NZ website at www.targa.co.nz
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