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The car, and its drive team, are the most experienced in Targa history. Jack Waldron, along with co-driver Vin Gregory and their trusty 1955 Fiat Abarth 750, have competed in a total of 32 Targa events since the first Targa Tasmania was run back in 1992.

The combination of men and machine remain an enduring part of the competition, and the pair still regularly push for Early Classic Handicap honours, showing they are not just there making up the numbers.

They have missed only one Targa Tasmania, back in 1996 when Jack was recovering from a leg injury, and they are lining up for their fifth Targa Wrest Point on February 1.

“1996 was a no go because I was still doing physiotherapy on my leg after it had spent a couple of months in plaster at the end of 1995,’” Jack said.

“Neither of us were happy people while the 1996 event was being run!”

So, what keeps the pair coming back for so many events across so many years?

 “Tarmac rallies are thrilling, unique events, as each stage is so different and the conditions unpredictable,” Waldron said.

“We don’t have the power to weight ratio to be a front running car in (Classic) Outright or Handicap in dry or really steep conditions, but when its wet and other cars can’t 'hookup', we are able to maintain our pace and it is truly a real thrill to be rewarded with an excellent handicap stage result and to realise a better than usual Outright position.

“We both enjoy the preparation of the car and wringing out the most from the least, be it technical development or just routine maintenance.”
 
Both are looking forward to taking part Targa Wrest Point.

“Targa Wrest Point 2014 has the potential to be outstanding,” Waldron said.

“Running the stages in both directions is a great concept because it reduces wasted transport time and maximizes competition distance. Generally, if a stage is good, it will be good in both directions.”

“Our goal will be the same as always - to finish the event, achieve a good result and bring the car home in one piece.

“We do a 'rain dance' before each event hoping that for at least half of the event it will rain!”

The Fiat Abarth has a rich history, and is a treasured possession. It seems to grab the attention of fans wherever it goes.

“There always seems to be an inordinately high level of interest in the car so we place a copy of the car’s history on the windscreen at displays,” Jack said.

“I think people like the Abarth because it’s different and fairly old.

“If a family stops, looks and is interested we offer to allow the kids to sit in the car behind the steering wheel for a photograph. It’s good PR for motorsport and I remember how much I enjoyed that sort of experience when I was a kid.”

Early Classic, for cars pre-1974, is a hotly contested category and has a big following among the fans.

There are 14 in the class at this year’s Targa Wrest Point, making up around 15 per cent of the field.

Local drivers Geoff and Leon Duggan will be hard to beat in their 1969 Datsun 2000 Sports given their knowledge of the roads.

Andrew Miedecke is driving a 1971 Ford Perana Capri, while Wayne Pfingst will be in another V8, a 1971 Holden Monaro, while the Kents, Ella and Drew, will stand tall for Ford in their 1971 Falcon GT.

One of the best looking cars in the field is the 1971 Mercedes 280 CE of Joe Caudo, while the 1964 MG B of Bryan Ponting will also attract the interests of many purists.

Other Early Classic cars include the 1969 Datsun 240Z of Geoff Goodwin, the 1970 Datusn 1600 of Bernie Keast, and the 1970 Monaro of Darryl Wilcox, another local who could challenge for class honours.

Rounding out the field is the 1971 Porsche of Ted Banks, the 1968 Mustang of Terry Harper, the Datsun 240Z of Robert Devenish and the 1975 Alfa Spider of John Keating.

The event gets underway with a champagne start at 7.30am at Wrest Point on February 1 and finishes on Sunday afternoon, February 2.

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