— Targa Tas 2016 Bump Out and Wrap Up —
Firstly I would be remiss to not acknowledge the incredible job that Team Targa did this year – has to be the GREATEST logistical motor sports event in the world and they pulled it off without a single mishap – just Big Up’s to all @ TT – I’ve never seen or heard of any event that would be so hard to run as this the 25th TT – @380 cars and thousands of people yet during the whole week everything was exactly on time and on target – kudos to ALL the team @ TT you rocked and rolled surpassing any expectations first class – BEST WEEK of my Life – all because of the targa team giving 1000% sadly you don’t get to see them enough to thank them enough so here is my chance – THANK YOU TEAM TARGA – -!!- 🙂
Well as usual – the targa tassie lived up to its DNA – everyone who crossed the finish line has done so by ANY means – this is an endurance and survival test of biblical proportions. Not a soul survived without digging deep – when your racing at the edge and for so many days you simple can NOT give up your focus or concentration – the cost of even a split second – driving off a cliff , into a tree older than even me , into a rock wall or even just a bloody BIG ROCK – there are no run off areas – simply you can end up more than broken – day after day – stage after stage – it went on and on and on and every second of the week ? Was indeed a challenge !
For me this year I can say for 100% surety that it was the hardest physical and emotional test in my life 🙂
So here’s a look into the week that was TARGA Tas (TT) 2016 :-):-):-)
One thing I have to mention first , as it has seen some people looking for us in the wrong car – last year and half I took the time off life to work on raising urgently needed funds for the “Sporting Whellies and Disabled Association” and I was blessed to form a partnership with MASERATI – which was all about helping raise funds – again we were blessed to bring in almost $120,000.00 on the way to our goal of quarter of a million dollars to help the charity continue to do the work they do – I’m there @ 3+ hours everyday and I see what they do – how they spend every dollar – all charities are so in need of help ? All so very worthy but ? How to select which ? We can’t help them all ? I think for many we start with the little ones – the children who haven’t had a live yet ? But for me I see those who suffer with my own eyes everyday – and I believe charity starts at home – I couldn’t just sit in my chair and NOT try to help ? So the work with maserati has ended no more supercar to drive @ TT – no but have to say ? Every time I turned into a corner I did have to remind myself ? I already have a home loan – do I really want another ? And as such I drove ? Erm ? Let’s say ?
BLOODY CAREFULLY – That’s how or at least TRY too !!
But during the Targa events last year I found something I haven’t found since the year 2000 (paneristi.com) and before ?
Never ! I found and fell in love with the Targa community – I’ve never meet so many true blue quality souls who would and do help anyone at anytime – and ? It’s a competition ? Go Fish ;-):-):-)
As well ?
I fell in love with driving such a race – it takes all of me and twice more – you see it isn’t much of a life being the way I am – not allot of fun , I’m reminded every time I change clothes or see a reflection of myself in Windows and glass – I’m reminded that I’m disabled and in a wheelchair – BUT ? When I’m in the driving seat and racing ? I feel something I haven’t felt before since the accident in 2006 ???
I feel ??
I just feel like everyone else , in a harness , in a car , driving like a bat out of hell , there are no visible signs I’m the way I am – you can’t see my wheelchair – the most POWERFUL feeling is that of feeling ?
NORMAL – just like everyone else !
It’s an addiction now – I decided that I’d seriously begin to learn the skilset to one day make it into the top 5 in our class (one of the most competitive with modern cars) so the best place to begin I learned was with a small all wheel drive car hopefully with a turbo – it is a rally after all – it’s just that it’s on Tarmac / Concrete / Gravel where the WRC is mostly always on gravel – but it’s the targa that see speeds reached by some closing in on 300kms PH – now I’m mental that’s for sure but 250++ on tiny Tasmania roads surrounded by peril ? now that’s almost insane – yet – it’s true and it’s going to make even the most adrenaline junkie reach for the bucket ;-);-);-)
I also wanted to earn the respect of other drivers by starting like many did , at the bottom of the power and with a normal car :-):-)
The hunt began with the help of my brother mr zen – and we acquired a used 2013 AMG A45 with @15,000 kms onboard – the price was perfect , buying whole sail rules ! And I spent the best part of a half a year to get her race & cams ready – whilst she is no super car – after TT 2016 she’s a super car for me – I’ll always miss the thrill of the power and tech of a supercar like the masa , but felling normal more than once in my life ? is just more than SUPER for me – so it’s to the back of the pack and take the time to really learn how to drive this event without CRASHING – avoiding the dreaded red haze ain’t always easy ;-);-);-) then – bring on a Dedicated Targa Car – gotta walk before you can run !!
Take : man/boy + green light and a chequered flag = Red Haze :-(:-(:-(
So the journey begins – this year we had 24 in our class and my dream run would have been to come around 15th – I’d have been so happy with anything even last but with all the work to date – 6 targa events – all the track sprints & circuts – professional driver training – track days – schools – camps – seminars you name it if it had speed and corners it was something I needed to do – but nothing comes close to driving a targa – using only a navigator to drive blind into corners – up and downs mountains and in some stages as many as 99 corners – that kind of training can ONLY be done on targa – and this TT saw us with a new car never raced before – ouch allot to learn with a new car TFS !!
Even more when you think ? The masa had massive power with a heart shattering HP and Torque but she was a front engine V8 rear wheel drive – and as such oversteer was and is always the concern – all the above stated training was focused on oversteer but with the zipper (A45) it’s completely reversed – it’s an all wheel drive and a teeny weeny 2 litre engine and turbo that don’t bring in the power till your mid 3,000 rpm – the challenge in this machine ?
Dreaded UNDERSTEER ——-
DOH time to reverse everything and start again , given this in mind we started the TT2016 with a new car – note to self – go easy at the start and learn the car – got heaps of video in car and out to come from the 7 days – can’t wait to see some of the action – I pretty much missed everything along the way looking at the road in front and never taking anything else in – don’t know which hurt more at the end ?
My head or my body – well – the bits I can feel anyway !
Started well and easy – it’s a marathon event no need to go crazy on day 1 and even more so given a new car – ok all stages competed and think we were running around 21st , and the day ended without too many —- moments —- time to rush to change and the post day functions :-):-)
Ok time to ramp it up a bit – still plenty to come but again day 2 and the goal was to be fast on the last days , we had moved into 14th I think (never knew exactly as I couldn’t get into or out of the start finish points but that’s what my son and navigator told me from his phone every once in a blue moon when we had signal) needless to say closing roads and running race stages were mostly done in the middle and edges of tassie ! Actually we basically circumnavigated tassie and drove from the top to the bottom and from side to side – what a great place tassie is never knew there were so many beautiful places , oh and hellish roads to boot !!!
Started well – gaining more feel for the car and driving her fast – started to see some 13th places on the 8 race stages that day – ok we almost finished the last 2 stages until – we came upon a special corner – so many cars had crashed and burnt or broke just in the first days but day 3 would see so many more join them – back onto the special corner (known by all the regular TT racers as one place so many end their targa dream – and this day saw that and so much more – we came upon a tight 3 left and then instantly another 3 right that tightens – we knew at the start of the stage 2 cars were off and so we were prepared for them – sadly there was more than 2 and as we went around the first 3 left I saw a man in a red race suit holding up his OK sign – targa has some very very strict protocols about accidents and how we all should respond upon arriving on them , now this bloke was standing on top of a pretty decent cliff – covered in dense trees and rocks – as I went by all I could imagine was that it was the first car crashed and she gone off a cliff – in my head I said a small prayer as from where he was standing it would be on hell of a crash – just prayed that both driver and navigator were alive – (your supposed to place 2 red Triangles out @ 50 & 100 meters before the accident site and stand with your Ok Sign where the car went off ***NOT*** the corner before and also not on the other side of the road , he was one corner before and standing on the wrong side of the road – just totally gave me an incorrect idea of where he car was off all together , had he placed his triangles out and been standing where his car went off things would have been so much easier to understand where to slow and where to look for the danger) but suddenly (split second) I was on the tight right all I could sense in my proliferated vision was something BIG and red hanging down the embankment – as such my atten was distracted but we were on our racing line which would see us clear that portion of the track – then I looked up and standing with 1 leg inside the yellow tape (yellow tape is the line no one should be anywhere in front of – kind of marking the edge of the course) there was one man and one child @ 10 I’d guess ? He had both a GoPro on tripod and am SLR on tripod right under the yellow line – he sure knew where to set up that day – and funnily enough in front of him was a patch of gravel about a meter square – now a real worry – had I kept online I’d have risked hitting him , the young boy or both – I knew I couldn’t brake or I’d have under steered into that mystery of a red thing I caught from the corner of my eye – (which btw was a brand new GT3RS Porsche worth @$600,000.00) I had to try to steer my way through with a slight amount of trail braking so as to keep some weight over the front turning wheels – the 2 started running – I tightened up my line – started to spin – gathered it up and almost back on track when the back wheels hit the loose gravel – and then was obvious we would spin – the key was to control the Spin – and stay / end on the black stuff ??! A serious test !!
Ahhhhh damnit – gathered her up -controlled the spin but at the end – rolled backward just over the edge of a ridge – and even with the all wheel drive we couldn’t drive UP and out of that ditch —– and then all we could do was wait till the fleet passed (our class was one of the first to run each day) and then wait for a tow out – and there in went the trophy time on every targa stage —- doh —– but anyway once out she seemed to have some tie rod bend on left rear – wanting to be safe she was towed back to next city – after ALL the others – and arrived in the Burnie service area @19:00 – yes the tie rod was bent :-(:-(:-(
But enter one giant element within every targa ?
The Buckby Boys – Ben and his team at Neil Buckby motors came to the rescue. they had her back up and ready that night albeit the safe thing was to wait in the morning and try to get a wheel alignment – just to be 100% sure & safe ? Well we missed 2 stages – and we missed the first 2 the next morning – getting that alignment and whilst there ? Might as well get some new rubber as we were able in the rules – and ours was 3 days in and looking about 50% – done and we rejoined the fleet early that day – I can’t end this part of the wrap up without thanking 2 families whom (sadly for them) I’ve adopted as my own – to the Smiths & the Buckby’s ??? You made this bloke feel normal for another 3 days – I owe you so much and I’ll spend the rest of my time at TT trying to repay the help – Brandon and Tyler who did the work under the car ? To you all ?
Heartfelt Thanks , Admiration & Appreciation – Cheers M8’s you are the BEST !!
Seems that on that night ? a Hammer was a useful tool after all :-):-):
The exact moment captured ? the gravel on road and my line did NOT play well >>>
The pathetic free AP and user with a rough idea of Tarmac edge >>>
Now I’ve always believed that your learn More from a loss than a win ? You win something and go home thinking nothing really to work on just keep on trucking BUT ? After a loss ? It’s clear to you what you can work on and improve ? In saying that I looked back that night and thought it was MY BAD ? I lost focus and concentration , just distracted enough for a split second or maybe I could have done more ? My CHALLENGE for the rest of the targa would be working on total focus and I soon became aware that even when you think your totally focused your mind does drift ? More than you know unless your thinking about it and I caught myself trying to pick up on that – no wonder my head hurt its not used to that – thinking – and one one stage in day 4/5 it was clearly noted at the start of the stage both verbally by the stage director and on the white board at the start line – 2 cars were off – got to the end of the stage and asked the navigator gee I didn’t see any cars off at all ?? Did you ??
He said ? Are you joking ? Nope ? Why ? Then he said didn’t I see them ? (Um no or I wouldn’t be asking) as if I must be blind ?
Guess a lesson has been taught and know I hold the Google 101 dummies guide to Concentration and Focus – which I will have worked on non stop till Targa “High Country” and perhaps that was the best thing I could take away from TT2016 – something I can improve on that doesn’t need to be in car or on a track – great stuff 🙂
Ok now back on day 4 needless to say we took the first couple of stages easy just to make sure there wasn’t anything else wrong we couldn’t see at night ?
After all the above help , to finish was a MUST – to risk anything else would be TOTALLY disrespectful to all who helped so much keep the dream of finishing for the second year in a row ALIVE – NO WAY we would risk that !!! NEVER :-(:-(
If you fall out of the chair you get back in and that’s what we did , back to some pace and a few great stages for us !
All went well – after a consult with my navigator as too what speed he wanted us to take I got this reply ? This one will haunt him on his 21st be sure – it was pure GOLD – you see we have this 1-10 method to regulate our driving style and speed – 5 is going to block up the whole fleet – 6 is kinda hope the stages are short as there is only a 30 second space between cars – 7 is safe and fast. 8 or above we haven’t done yet ! On this day we took some 6 & 7’s !
So I ask my Nav and son – ok mate – of course he is always saying go faster 8-9 or he’s getting bored at 5-6 — I ask him ?
What speed do you want me to run ?
His reply ? I kid you not ?
Well dad – drive as fast as you possibly can but ? don’t crash ?
What the ?
I’m like —- ohhhh OK — when I crash I’ll know where the line was , then get the car repaired and adjust at Targa High Country in Nov – how do I know what my fastest is if I don’t crash first ?
Just mad me chuckle – u bet !!
This day we pretty much did 6’s all day – couldn’t risk not finishing and being recorded as an official finisher – we were 4 minutes from the car in front so we just drove pretty easy but still managed some good times even down to 13th on one stage.
Well this last day was all about helping the Tasmania ParaQuad association and helping some disabled mates in tassie with respect to the TT and also the way I can drive the car with 2 hands on the wheel – the new hi-tech fadiel satellite system again ran faultless and was the real star at every targa !
Oh and day 0 ??
That was spent at SP raceway making sure all safety and cams requirements are meet – and that ain’t easy – then checking in – getting the rally safe units and installing them – weigh ins – etc etc – it’s a long process and needs too be – at 3pm there is a drivers briefing – 4 another event briefing – and welcome dinner –
Now we are home – son back to school – I have been pretty much in a coma (waking every 4 hours to turn and check some things) then back to sleep – was 2 days before I left bed – just so completely empty but ?
FULL of Targa Community and Targa GOODNESS !!!!
If I died today – I’d have gone happily with that moment – had the spin not happened we would have finished 12-13th which would have blown my mind but we didn’t – miss a stage (many do)-!: you get a crazy penalty time for that stage – we competed 36/40 stages – so all in all ?
Batted – Beaten – Broken – Broke $$ but ?
TT 2016 we did it – BOOYAA !!
See you all same time next year were I hope we can eventually see some 8’s – the way my Nav and I adjust for each other’s shortcomings – strengths and weaknesses – and we learnt allot about the car and the way we can drive it – TT 2017 – we will return and the goal will be to drive as fast as we can – but not crash ;-);-);-)
Thanks for all your support and help – and if you can spare a few bucks for our fundraising just go to our site – Google :
And you can find our SWDA Site where you can look on the new images (told I will have in a week and will add to last year’s album) and follow our journey on the journal tab or find all info on our TARGA BUCKET LIST !!
And to congratulate the champions champion and WINNER of TT 2016 Mr Matt Close what a HERO Go Matt GO :-))))
If you want to see MAGIC happening ? Check out the ACTION >>>
One thing that really stood out this year was the 2 Hypercar HYBRED’s – and NO wasn’t 2 Prius – not much difference really ??
1 Maclaren P1 value DU @$2,000,000.00
1 BMW I8 value DU @$$350,000.00
Yeah just ya everyday tassie cars —- ahhhhhh maybe NOT ;-);-)
Sadly they didn’t enter into the true racing classes – but just beautiful to the eye – tassie never knew what hit them :-):-):-)
P1 Hypercar >>>
Just so completely beyond comprehension on EVERY Level >>>
Now what’s with this ? Elec plug in filler ? I don’t see any gas ?
Looks like a fuel nozzle or Jassies thing (no 1st hand knowledge he sure) >>
Strange to see electrical extension cords to charge HyperCars >>>
Numerology ? I was born on the 11th – the event started on my bday the 11th and when I looked yesterday at how many emails ?
Yep – good old # 11 shows again – mates ASAP after tsunami visit is over I’ll be onto it like stink on paddy so boots >>
Now some Stats as I try to remember , prolly get something wrong but :
TT brings 15 million into Tasmanian economy which is badly needed – and 18 if they have stayed a couple of nights before or after which honestly – many do !!
140,000.00 people came out to participate and watch – better than the alternative for the kids who were waging school (missing school for the day to cheer us all one)
1000 Officials & Volenteers
@ 380 Cars 2000 people on the targa moving day to day
Now time for some quick images >>>
Huge thanks to ALL @ ParaQuad & Tasmania Disabled association !!!
Accomodations at their Glenn Moore units is the most amazing accessible accommodations in the world – just custom and perfectly built for anyone with any disability who wants to visit Tasmania one of the most beautiful islands in the world – and again we send our thanks to Kerri and all the best to PQ for allowing us to be part of tassie ParaQuad – wheelies rock and roll >>>
My and everyone’s legend TQ’s Lambo – congrats again tony you sir are simply the best – and the hurricane ?
Ohhhh me want – me want for next year – do you think he would mind ?? Awfully nice Scott he is >>>
Sadly this is as close as I’ll get to driving her >>>
Sure does seem to have all wheel drive doesn’t it >>>
Now for the WS – my partner on all Targa’s – our brand is so strong – when I thought I couldn’t give more or get up I would look upon my destro and think of the flot mas men and if they would give in or up ? Every time I thought I just couldn’t go further ? Bam she sent me strength and POWER >>>
Some of the spoils and a new Pick Up >>>
This is us in our new sled >>>
And here watch that tricky left right – this is that RED thing I saw out of the corner of my eye – if you LOOK at the end you can see our car facing the camera – that was just after the tow from the ditch behind the car – so happy I didn’t run wide and hit the brakes – just tragic for all that corner – amd if you LOOK at the classic BLUE escort down at the end of the drive ? That car flew over the edge and that’s where she finally came to rest – first a GTG3RS brand new – a beautiful mates Datto Z – and an extremely rare as escort – I mean this car was RARE !
And in the images below you can see the Just Jap R35 GTR – that was just past us after the corner – saw that one also as I was sitting in my car (in the ditch) facing the very corner – I saw all of this video from 5 meters away ? Forget IMAX – almost worth the spin just to see that !! One car flys off a bank and lands onto and into a hypercar >>>
Do you see us ?
As we left targa fest this was just ONE lane of cars – see anything they all share ??
These are some of the cars that were off on that tricky set of corners >>>
At the end of each line there was the the cars that couldn’t be driven home >>>
Now some of the heart stoppers – P1 is INSANE >>>
The right car in the best hands – onya Tony >>>
Whitey’s new ride – sure he will get her bad & back for TT2018 >>>
We can DREAM can’t we >>>
Ok that’s it for now – again supreme thanks to the Smiths – Buckby’s- all the TT Team – without them – we’d prolly still be sitting in that ditch – thanks mates I owe ya – and thanks go to each and everyone of the officials and volunteers and all those who came to watch – without which ? We could have NO event – that to many means so much – TT High Country is next in Nov and I reckon we should try an 8 – AND as always the Metric of Success ?
Navigator – Car – Driver all left on the spirit of Tasmania ferry ?
The same we left – perhaps a slight bit of Patina but she’s leaving the way she came – and that doesn’t always happen -!!-
BOOYAA TT2016 was the BEST !!!!!
To my special GF’s of which there is 2 – to my BFF’s – same 2 – thank you we couldn’t have done it without you 2 !!
To my Navigator and son – you have found the first (outside of tennis) REAL Sense of what a Community should be like – value it always – they are rare to find – only twice in my life – Boof Head – I’m very proud of you – this is the So Much MORE side of TARGA :-):-):-)