Scott and Anthony scored a disappointing 10th place with DNF (Did not finish)
However looking at the fun they had. Good luck to them.
OK Mr Hamilton, enough fun time to get back to work.
Jason and John White have driven the perfect event to win the Overall competition at Targa Tasmania, their sixth victory at the rally classic, and they are now just two titles shy of all-time Targa greats Jim Richards and Barry Oliver.
Having led for all but one of the event’s 35 stages, the 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme crew gave their rivals a masterclass, and while they lost some time on the final day, they eventually run out winners by 34 seconds over the Dodge Viper of Michael Pritchard and Gary Mourant.
Day six of the tarmac marathon saw competitors tackle six stages in dry conditions south of Hobart, with a competitive distance of 66.34km.
Wednesday was quite a day. Monday was a full day of competition, however Tuesday consisted of just the one stage. Wednesday was always going to be a little more ‘hardcore’ than the leisurely approach to Tuesday.
As we progress through the week, we approach what I’ll call the ‘crowd favourite’ stages, where the race distances are bigger and the attention required is exponentially increased. With a guy sitting to my right who believes about 80% of what I tell him, I need to be on my game from a Navigator’s perspective. He is a brilliant driver, at home in the clunky, 34 year old Commodore, generally in charge of pointing it in the right direction.I trust him, implicitly.
As mentioned previously, High Plains had been cancelled, leaving us with Moriarty, Paloona and Sheffield before the car ate a large portion of failure. The battery had shit itself, and we were in the line getting ready to start Sheffield. Panic ensued, as we called our awesome service crew, who had sourced and arrived with a new battery inside 20 minutes. The new battery was fitted, and we were on our way!
What we had not banked on, was that the alternator was the reason for the failure. Around two thirds of the way through the following stage, Cethana, the alternator failed. Car, stopped. On the side of the road. Dead.
As is required in competition rallying, I had to jump out and erect warning triangles at 25m and 50m before the car, before waving the big, green ‘OK’ sign at the competitors following us. Anthony yelled “fuck” a lot, and I wondered what the appropriate behaviour was for consoling a pissed off driver.
Much to our surprise, we had actually broken down in a place that had mobile phone reception. We were able to contact our awesome service crew, who set about arranging another alternator.
We sat around on the side of the road for quite a while, watching the top level competitors scream past us, until one pulled up in from of us with a flat tyre.
The Subraru pulled up behind us, with the navigator screaming “JACK! JACK!” at us. I looked blankly at Anthony before realising that he had a rear driver’s side flat that needed replacing.
“Comedy of errors” is what I am going to call this experience. They had a jack, but no handle. We had a rattle gun, but no socket that suited their jack. After giving them a shifter to operate their jack with, we were able to rattle gun their wheel off and assist with the replacement, before sending them on their way to generally kick ass.
After MANY hours of waiting by the roadside, I bet Anthony that the car noise I could hear approaching was our crew – I won the first drink of the night. With tools all over the ground, lots of swearing, broken bolts, more swearing, nearly freezing to death and being attacked by some kind of sugar and flesh eating bug – we were once again ready to roll with car 689 on point.
You may be asking at this time “where is the general update on Tim and Jason?”. With a deep sigh, I can inform you that they spent most of the day in various Subaru dealerships trying to diagnose a cooling system fault, before admitting defeat in being told that he had a headgasket issue. More to follow, as they are evaluating options.
We ended up at the Beachfront Voyager in Burnie for the night, where I enjoyed KFC’s new Tabasco Zinger and accompaniments before working on work spreadsheets for hours before hitting the hay for an early start.
Don’t despair, they are back in the race as at 5pm today.
Poor little car 689, dead battery. Our infamous Rallying duo has managed to kill the car’s battery. My suggestion that they “Holler for a Marshall” was promptly ignored and Service Crew had them back in the race next to no time. Given how many camera’s, video equipment, digital comms, phone connections for stage entertainment and everything else I am surprised that the poor battery lasted this long.
At the end of yesterday (Tuesday 25th), car 689 was 6th in its class which is a fabulous result. With the dead battery and subsequently the dead alternator, this will not be so good on the results.
You know you made it when you made it when featured in the “Other Side Production” video however I would make a suggestions that the Red glasses as sported by Anthony are not what you could call a fashion statement, not unless you are in contention for playing Beelzebub. Nevertheless I am impressed by the way he is saving his tyres as featured in the photo. Way to go!
The Feature image is one of the cars having a slight mishap. Somehow I don’t thing that will polish out. The video is car 689 “having a moment” Yet, despite Scott insisting that there is no video evidence, there IS!!!
Having had the car scrutineered on Saturday, made for an immensely pleasant Sunday in Launceston. Jason finally made it into town, despite Jetstar’s best efforts to stop him, with some time to spare before the afternoon’s driver’s briefings. Tim further prepped his Impreza for the days ahead, while Anthony and I wrote rude things on his windows while he wasn’t looking.
The Commodore needed a couple of finishing touches, so another trip to Supercheap was in order – new windscreen wipers and some hose clamps to relocate one of the extinguishers.
Launceston has a great motoring museum with a small collection of amazing cars, so we headed down for a look. We failed to realise that this was the location of this year’s Targa charity rides and arrived to a bit of fanfare, where Tim’s Subaru was given priority parking rights, in the incorrect belief that he would be giving special kids a ride. I helpfully pointed out that he brought a carload of his own.
Tim and Jason had to be at the Tour briefing at 3pm, so Anthony and I thought it best to support them by drinking in the bar underneath where they were being programmed by race officials. We helped a lot. At some stage I had a bright idea that the pokies would be a great idea. Turned out to be a great idea, with Anthony winning over $150 and my winnings totalling enough to pay for a few drinks.
The competitor’s briefing at 3pm went well, with all safety issues being dealt with quickly and effectively before moving on to some encouraging information about the future of the race. Sounds like there is a new Targa event on the horizon, making 4 each year.
Sadly, we were also told a story about a ‘wannabe’ Targa tryhard that was driving well above the speed limit a few months back on one of the typical stages (not in a race) when he crested a hill too quickly and lost control of his vehicle. Sadly he killed a lady who was unloading her kids from the family car. The family asked Targa to avoid that stage this year while they grieve for their lost family member. The Targa family quickly agreed to bypass that stage, out of respect for the family. There is also going to be a collection from all competitors, which I am sure will assist in some small way.
So: Hundreds of appreciative racers (or ‘rich wankers’ as we were called yesterday 🙁 ) are now ready to roll. Looking forward to the race.
And here we are:
Car 689 is doing well. According to Scott there was a moment where both driver and navigator looked like change of underwear was going to be needed. However they made it to the end of Day 1.
The following are Mr Hamilton’s own words, some names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Tim and Anthony successfully made it across Bass Straight on the Spirit of Tasmania with the cars, only to be greeted by some terrible weather. The Commodore protested by throwing a windscreen wiper off the side of the screen, but it turned out to be nothing more than a loose nut (and I don’t mean the person behind the wheel).
I arrived into Launceston airport on time, after being reminded why Jetstar is always the wrong answer to any travel related questions. #7kg#enforced#nosoupforyou.
The lads were waiting for the luxurious Kia Carnival to be prepared, after being advised by the Hertz representative that cars booked for 9:40am should not be asked for until precisely 9:40am.
One of the things that I’ve always loved about the Targa is their generous approach to driving race cars on the road in the lead up to the event. Walking out into the airport carpark, I was greeted by the bright red Commodore in all of her unwashed glory.
Having forgotten how hard it is to get in and out of (this is no Dukes of Hazzard setup), I managed to dislocate my personality and pancreas to climb into the office for the week and review the recent upgrades: digital comms, phone connection for transport stage entertainment, some new gauges, new handbrake and the invisible (and rather costly) diff housing and rear axle setup.
We set off in the roughest, toughest old commodore on the road and went to The Olde Tudor motel, and commenced work on the car in the carpark, as the 12:00pm scrutineering appointment was rapidly approaching. Tim followed in the Kia, somewhat impressed by it’s apparent power and general handling prowess. A quick trip to Supercheap was needed, as our fire extinguishers weren’t in date. Once fitted, we were off to get our documents and have the car checked.
We emptied all of the ‘crap’ out of the boot of the red rocket, transplanting it into the cavernous spaces within the Kia Carnival and set off for documentation and scrutineering, where the car, drivers and safety equipment are checked for compliance against the world’s largest rulebook and we’re cleared to race. For the first time since inception, the car was immediately cleared to race.
The car tipped the scales as 1430kg (clearly, without #wogsinacommodore) before being parked up for the rest of the weekend and we went to work on installing the stickers. Tim, thankfully, had brought some bits and pieces from a professional signwriter, which made our installation a little more predictable.
Amongst all of this, Tim managed to prep his Subaru WRX for the Tour category by completing a long list of tasks including : a) washing the car and b) turning up. It’s a shame that his co-driver Jason didn’t understand that that second point was part of his requirements, as he missed his flight out of Brisbane by one minute, and still isn’t here.
And as if the boys didn’t have enough petrol sniffing yesterday, they have gone to the Car Museum in Launceston.
As our Program Manager is participating in the world renown Targa Tasmania I thought I could provide you all with a daily update on their progress/crashes and everything else associated with hurtling through Tasmania at breakneck speed with very little in a way of stopping you from ending up in somebody’s living room or getting close to nature, by this I mean, as the before mentioned “nature” becomes embed in the engine block. Just remember this, when you hit a tree at that speed, it only hurts once. It hurts like hell, but blissfully the drugs they use nowadays ensure that you will be drugged to the eyeballs before you know it. For those of you who have never experienced rallying you can replicate it easily from the comfort of your own home. Simply set the washing machine spin cycle to 1400rpm, and hop in. When the cycle is completed ask your friend to smash you in the head with a cricket bat. Oh and try not to throw up.
Ok, on to the actual race, day one:
Documentation and Scrutiny | Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 April
Welcome Party | Sunday 23 April (Overnight in Launceston)
Documentation and Scrutineering is a very involved and complex process where representatives of CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport) there are other definitions of what CAMS stands for, but I will keep this at a professional level for the time being, let’s just say that the C stands for a word best not repeated in front of children and or easily offended adults. So, what happens during this phase is that CAMS scrutineers argue among themselves on finer points such as expiry on you seat belts whilst you stand there desperately trying not to voice what you are thinking. This simple disagreement could be solved if two or more Scrutineers had the CAMS Manual from the same century, instead dates range from 1969 to 2016 and are prized the same way a starving Rottweiler guards his last bone. Never, ever mention this to the said officials because revealing this little fact will just get you disqualified.
However judging by the posts by our Intrepid Rallyingista, scrutineering is now completed, car is safely tucked away and Launceston is in for a rather interesting night.