For 2012 Octagon decided to try something different for Targa Adelaide – a night prologue around the Wayville Showgrounds. Not only this, but they allowed extra cars to run the course on the night, and also invited a whole bunch of local car clubs to put on a display, thus creating the ‘Targa Expo’.
I was co-driving in Targa Adelaide and didn’t have the time during the event to write a post about the Targa Expo and do it justice, so I decided to hold off for a few weeks. But the reason the Expo deserves its own post is because it was brilliant evening, and I am absolutely sure it will become an annual fixture on the Adelaide motorsport calendar.
One peek at the attendance figures tells you all you need to know. It was a cold, wet and rainy Wednesday night and the Targa Expo attracted 24,000 paying spectators! Those sorts of numbers are almost unheard of in Adelaide, even on a warm weekend let alone a damp mid-week evening. Targa Expo proved without a doubt that demand is definitely there for these sorts of events.
So what did those 24,000 people come to see?
The fourth and final day of Targa Adelaide was a short one – only three stages in the morning – but that was no reason to become complacent because two of the three tests were arguably some of the most challenging stages in the event. The day would begin with a blast up Gorge Road, before the extremely tight, twisty and technical Basket Range stage and would finish with a fast sprint from Echunga to Macclesfield. The last stage of the event was planned to be Clarendon, however it was cancelled as a mark of respect to Adam Plate, who tragically died on Friday while competing on the same piece of road.
In what was becoming a groundhog day-esque routine, our morning once again started at the Wayville showgrounds. Carny folk were beginning to bump in for the Royal Adelaide Show in a few weeks time, and by the looks of things this large waisted clown was quite happy to see us.
It was a bit of a shame that Sunday was so short because we were really starting to get into the swing of things. We had a blistering run up Gorge Road, catching and passing an Evo 9 by the halfway point, but it was our run through Basket Range that stands out in my mind. Everything was as close to perfect as it could be, and the feeling of our speed as the notes were perfectly in sync with Guy’s driving is something that will stay with me for a very long time. It was the first time I’ve properly competed on Basket Range, and it was the highlight of the rally for me.
We had a little bit too much fun on Basket Range though, and the transport immediately after it revealed a clunking noise from the rear of the car. We arranged for our service crew to meet us just before the start of the events final stage, Echunga, to have a look. They confirmed out suspicions of a broken upper control arm, which I think may have broken when the car got light through an ’8R Bridge 7L50 3R’ and landed a little sideways. The lateral load broke the arm at the weld.
Given that we had achieved the trophy times for the whole rally and were on track to receive Targa plates, we made the decision to carry on and hope it lasted the final stage without breaking the other side control arm. Continue reading
It’s funny how sometimes things just ‘click’ in a rally car. The notes work, the car’s in its sweet spot and the driver feels right at home. It’s usually an unspoken feeling, but both the driver and co-driver know when its working. It’s smooth, it’s fast and it’s safe. For us, Targa Adelaide really clicked on day 3.
In what’s becoming a rather groundhog day-esque habit, the day began at Wayville showground’s Goyder pavilion where we met up with the service crew at the rally car. The guys identified a small electrical problem, so James and Mick jumped into fixing it for us.
You get an odd feeling at Goyder in the morning. We make sure to meet up with the crew about half an hour before our report time to make sure we’re ready to rally, which usually means a lot of waiting around. Whilst it may feel like a waste of time, it’s important to arrive early to give ourselves time to fix any problems that may occur. We usually have time to talk with other competitors and to check out the rest of the cars, but there’s a strange feeling of anticipation and slight trepidation. Everybody just wants to hurry up and get the day underway. Continue reading
At about 830am I got a phone call that went a little like this: “Hey, It’s Busby, I’ve just got to my spectator point on Mt Lofty and this is your WRC style stage report. The bottom is dry, but there’s running water on the apex of a few blind corners mid way, and it’s very wet and foggy at the top”. Alright then, so it seemed yesterdays challenges wouldn’t be over.
But despite that, we were still both keen to get out onto the stage. (Thanks to Mark Williams from MWP Sports Photography for the top image!)
The first stage of the day would be Montacute, and it seems Naomi Tillett wasn’t expecting the challenge to be over either. Tony Quinn put the GTR into a creek on Montacute last time he ran the stage, so this time Naomi came prepared.
The weather was as expected when we arrived at Montacute, and would stay wet and dreary for most of the morning. We were anticipating another tough day after yesterdays challenging antics.
The rear limited slip diff was making more clunking noises than usual yesterday, so in service last night we decided to change to a different type of diff oil in an attempt to stop the noise. It worked in silencing the clunking, but to our absolute amazement it completely transformed the handing of the car. What was a difficult to drive handful in the wet yesterday was now a smooth, communicative rally car – exactly what we’ve come to expect of the 124. So much so that we put over a minute on the Powells in their Ferrari Dino 308GT4 in the wet, catching and passing them several kilometres from the finish of Montacute. Continue reading
‘Worst weather in recent memory’. ’95 percent chance of rain’. ‘Hail likely’. These were the warnings given for day 1 of Targa Adelaide and I’m very proud to report that, despite the ominous looking photo above, Guy Standen and myself in the trusty Fiat 124 Coupe have made it to the end of the most challenging day of rallying I can remember being involved in. Read on for a quick summary of the event so far for team Fiat 529 Rally.
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Targa Adelaide started last night (Wednesday) with the simply excellent TargaFest Prologue around the Wayville showgrounds. An unprecedented 23,000 motorsport fans packed the showgrounds to see the event, with many even climbing on the roofs of buildings and pavilions to get a look at the action.
It wasn’t just a rally prologue, there were some stunning cars on display as well and the atmosphere was electric. The TargaFest was so big that it deserves its own post – look for it soon. Continue reading
Sunday just gone was Round 2 of the MSCA Supersprint series. The usual suspects were in attendance, doing what they love to do, with the addition of a few new ones.
I’m just going to start right out with one of the most beautiful cars there, Joe Grilli’s GTA inspired Alfa Guila Sprint GT.
The detailing on this car is just superb, everything has been thought out and the aesthetic and practical implications of every decision have been carefully considered. There’s absolutely nothing on this car that I would do differently. Continue reading
The course for the 2012 Targa Adelaide rally was released today and it looks like there’s going to be some fantastic stages. A lot of the old favourites are back again – Castambul, Coromandel and Montacute, and a few exciting stages from previous years make a comeback, most notably the incredibly tight and twisty Basket Range stage. There are a few new ones too, chief of which is called ‘Aldgate’. Starting a few kilometres out of the town, it runs down the fast, smooth, flowing and generally excellent stretch of road into Mylor, before turning right just inside the town speed limit and then running the complete distance of the Aldgate Valley Road into Aldgate. This has long been a favourite road of mine, but there are houses along its full length and the speed limit is 60 so you can never really have a proper crack. I’m definitely looking forward to competing on this slow, tight and technical stretch of road.
See the full breakdown of the stages here on the Targa Adelaide website.
The trainspotters amongst you may have noticed that the suffix ‘Classic’ is gone from the event title. Yes, ‘Classic Targa Adelaide’ is now just ‘Targa Adelaide’. Unfortunately it seems the beans just didn’t add up in terms of running a classic only event and entry has now been opened to modern cars. But on the plus side the event moves from a prologue plus three days of competition to a prologue plus four days of competition. Rumour going around is that the prologue will be run within the grounds of the Royal Adelaide Showground, too. Five full days of competition – what’s not to love about that?