Talkin’ Targa Tasmania

Tasmania turned off the sunshine over the 17th until the 22nd of April, setting the stage for John Ireland and Michael Ribot to take on the tumultuous topography of Tasmania in the 2012 Targa Tasmania.

And they did it in style, completing the challenging five-day rally and bringing their classic 911 home third outright in Classic and third in Late Classic Handicap. These results, brilliant on their own, secured them the Late Classic Tarmac Championship along with an impressive second outright in the Classic Tarmac Championship.

The 2012 event was the longest that Targa Tasmania has produced; offering six hundred competitive kilometres and nearly three thousand travel kilometres. Ireland and Ribot went into it with their long-term championship goals in sight, and pushed to achieve them; putting in their best preparation efforts and building on them through reccie and the lead up to the event.

Of the 38 competitive stages, only eleven were dry. And then when the sun did come out, it was nearly as bad as the fog, slipping under sun visors and blinding the drivers.

“The conditions in Targa Tasmania are different to any of the other events during the year. Adelaide, Wrest Point and High Country are mostly dry – in this there is always a high risk for rain and fog. The roads are challenging at the best of times, but once they get wet it’s very tricky and you have to keep on adapting to the different conditions, making it hard to get into a rhythm.”

“It’s the event which challenges teams more than any other.”

The work they put in during preparation and tweaks to soften up the setup on the second day paid off in the tough conditions, giving them the confidence needed to push and fight at the pointy end of the field.

From that point they were able to drive to a plan, manage the gaps around them and push for the championship. And push they did, consistently finishing stages in the top four and fighting off hard-charging rivals like Paul Stewart in Late Classic Handicap.

John was quick to commend his co-driver, car and the supporters and organisers who braved the weather to put on another great event.

“My navigator, Mike, was excellent all weekend and the car was brilliant; the boys did a good job in preparing it. It was flawless all weekend.”

“It’s always great down there. I always enjoy the camaraderie and the locals are always good value. A nice break.”

Congratulations to the boys on a brilliant result in Australia’s toughest of Targas and on their Late Classic Tarmac Championship win!