May 16, 2015

Robert Darrington and David AbetzLeading the Modern 2WD class at the end of the second day of Targa Bambina are Robert Darrington and David Abetz in their BMW E46 coupe.

It was a case of 'all change' behind Day 1 leaders Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn on the second day of the Targa Bambina tarmac motor rally in the Coromandel and eastern Waikato today.

For a start the weather and road conditions could hardly have been more different with bright sun and double digit temperatures replacing Friday's cold and rain.

Despite an engine misfire which slowed them in the afternoon stages, Mitsubishi Evo pair Inkster and Winn eased away from the Subaru Impreza WRX of Nic de Waal and  Tom Grooten to arrive in Rotorua at days end with a lead of close to three minutes in both the Allcomers 4WD class and overall standings.

Leigh Hopper and Ben Grooten proved almost as quick in a leased Mitsubishi Evo as they were before their accident in Hopper's Subaru Impreza WRX on Friday morning, but by changing cars the pair are no longer eligible for an official placing in the event so as Hopper said at parc ferme, they 'were only in it for the fun.'

Mark and Chris Kirk-BurnnandSecond is Metalman Classic 2WD class are Mark and Chris Kirk-Burnnand in their BMW M3.

Nic de Waal and Tom Grooten ended the day second overall and in the Allcomers 4WD after a day of attrition saw Jason Gill and Mark Robinson - who were second overall at the end of Day 1 - out with a gearbox problem on the first stage out of Whitianga this morning and Brian Green and Fleur Pedersen out later in the morning after - as Fleur said - 'the engine (of their Mitsubishi Evo10) went bang!'

Overnight Modern 2WD class leaders, Ross and Carmel Graham were another high profile early dnf today, thanks to a clutch issue with their Holden Torana A9X V8. 

With the Graham A9X on a trailer, Perth-based expat Kiwi Robert Darrington and David Abetz and their BMW E46 coupe took over the lead in the Modern 2WD class and at days' end retained a narrow advantage over the later model BMW M3 of Simon Clark and Richard Somerville.

Clark and Somerville topped the class time sheets in three of the day's six confirmed stages, but Darrington and was one of three other stage winners and finished second in three of the others.

The result was that at day's end he and Abetz retained a 26 second lead over Clark and Somerville with the other day class stage winners, Mike Lea and Grant Handley third place in class and fifth overall.

The second day also saw the emergence of another BMW pairing to challenge for place on the podium in the form of BMW circuit Series Open class champion Andre Cowan and co-driver Brett Cowan in their ex NZ Touring Car Championship BMW 325i.

Targa Bambina 2015Jason Easton and Campbell WardMetalman Classic 2WD class winner in four stages today before running off the road on the Hobbiton stage was the Ford Mustang of Jason Easton and Campbell Ward.

The day proved just as competitive in the Metalman Classic 2WD class where Foxton market gardener Bevan Claridge and co-driver Campbell Tannock maintained their first day lead from long-time BMW M3-driving class pace-setters Mark and Chris Kirk-Burnnand and Barry Kirk-Burnnand and Dave O'Carroll. 

For the best part of the day Holden Commodore V8 pair Claridge and Tannock swapped fastest class stage times with the Ford Mustang of former co-driver Jason Easton and Campbell Ward but Easton pushed a little too hard on the Hobbiton stage west of Matamata and ended down a bank, leaving members of the Kirk-Burnnand clan to claim back the other two steps on the class podium. 

A little further down the field the battle royal for first Toyota 86 honours continued with Chris Lewis and Kieran Anstis ending the day seventh in class, just 48 seconds ahead of Grant Aitken and Caroline Cullimore.

This year's Targa Bambina event continues on Sunday with stages west of Tokoroa in the morning and south and west of Rotorua in the afternoon.


2015 Targa Bambina Auckland-Whitianga-Rotorua Fri-Sun May 15-17

Results at the end of Day 2


1. Glenn Inkster/Spencer Winn (2000 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 8) 02:07:21

2. Nic de Waal/Tom Grooten (2002 Subaru Impreza WRX) 02:10:06

3. Robert Darrington/David Abetz (2002 BMW E46) 02:15:25

4. Simon Clark/Richard  Somerville (2007 BMW M3) 02:15:51

5. Mike Lea/Grant Handley (1996 BMW 318i) 02:16:58

6. Bevan Claridge/Campbell Tannock (1992 Holden Commodore) 02:17:04

7. Mark & Chris Kirk-Burnnand (1987 BMW M3) 02:17:39

8. Barry Kirk Burnannd/Dave O'carroll (1989 BMW M3) 02:20:58

9. Matt Todd/Dan Reichenbach (2008 BMW M3) 02:22:22

10. Anthony Butler/Jo Butler (1973 Holden Cheetah) 02:22:37 Allcomers 4WD

1. Inkster/Winn 02:07:21

2. de Waal/Grooten 02:10:06

3. McCandless/Mumm 02:24:38


Metalman Classic 2WD

1. Claridge/Tannock 02:17:04

2. Mark & Chris Kirk-Burnnand 02:17:39

3. Barry Kirk-Burnnand/Dave O'Carroll 02:20:58 Modern 2WD

1. Darrington/Abetz 02:15:25

2. Clark/Somerville 02:15:51

3. Lea/Handley 02:16:58


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