Classic Targa Adelaide – crossing that finish line

Well, after all the weeks of preparation Classic Targa Adelaide is done and I’m now sitting here writing this as a firm case of the post rally blues takes over from a slight seedyness, a direct result of the official presentation dinner last night. We had an absolutely fantastic event, and the little Fiat surprised a lot of people in the process. As Guy mentioned, the 124 is definitely a Fast And Reliable Tarmac Rally Car. We ended up with a class win, 6th outright in Late Classic handicap, 15th in Supaloc outright and were awarded a Targa Trophy for completing all stages within the trophy time.

Friday turned out to be a successful day, but it wasn’t without its worries. The car ran out of electrons and promptly died close to the start line of the Greenhills stage. We traced the problem back to a broken alternator lead, and fixed it McGuyver style with the basic tools we carried in the car without running out of late time. We then had a minor fuel pump issue on Cuddly Creek, the final stage of the day, which was luckily solved by the Fiat’s backup fuel pump. We flicked it on, and away she roared with full power once more. The highlight for me on Friday was the Nairne stage – a flatout blast on the old Princess Highway from Kanmantoo to Nairne. I grew up driving on this road, so it was pretty special to be able to finally race on it.

The biggest problem of the day came when I accidentally dropped my camera at the Friday night Gouger Street party. The lens is a little bit damaged, but still works. I think. Maybe an excuse for a lens upgrade?

Sunday was all about holding it together for the finish. Well, that was the plan however it soon went out of the window. For me the highlight of the Sunday stages was Macclesfield. We were right on the limit, and pushing pretty well. The road was flowing, the little car loved it and the notes were working. We hit out top speed of 182kmh on this stage, and managed a time of 6.50. I briskly drove the 10km stage this afternoon sticking to all speed limits, and it took me 11.08! Just an indication of the sort of things you can do on a closed road.

We caught and passed a Porsche on the downhill section of Norton Summit, and made it to the final stage – Gorge Road. I was feeling very nervous sitting on the start line. It was the final stage of the event, and we both just wanted to finish so badly. We didn’t let that get in the way and still enjoyed this incredible piece of road, although I did notice that the pace was reduced a little over about the last three corners.

And that leads up to this photo – crossing the finish at the InterContinental and receiving our finishers medals.

A lot of people seem to become obsessed with the dangers of tarmac rally. And whilst they can be significantly reduced by proper planning and a careful attitude, the dangers still do weigh on your mind. However, at the end of the day tarmac rally, and rally in general, is just so much fun. The feeling of racing along a public road, the engine singing out and perfect harmony between the drivers actions and the co-drivers calls is simply indescribable. It’s about working as a team, enjoying the cars, seeing some scenery and experiencing more in a day than a lot of people do in a year. It’s fantastic, and I highly recommend it.

# # # #

About the author


Leave a Reply