Challis, Cooper to fight for Classic title
- 2nd November 2011, 11:39am
With the door ajar for the next generation of Classic car drivers to walk through and grab some glory, expect a close tussle for podium places in the Shannons Classic Outright competition this weekend, for cars built before 1986.
After finishing in third place in September’s Supaloc Classic Targa Adelaide, the first round of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship, West Australian Tolley Challis is considered the favourite.
Neither Kevin Weeks or Matt Selley, the drivers who beat Challis in South Australia, have entered Targa High Country, putting the experienced Challis in the ideal position to take the championship lead in his 1974 Porsche 911 RS, despite this being his first attempt at this event.
Tasmanian David Cooper has promised to “go for broke” in his bid to take maximum points after he missed the opening round in Asdelaide.
With dry conditions forecast, Cooper’s potent 1977 Holden Torana A9X is more than capable of taking the win in what is sure to be a fierce battle for victory.
Nic Ellis, in his 1977 Porsche 911 Carrera 3, is considered another likely winner.
He finished sixth at Targa High Country last year, and should have the speed and consistency over the two days to challenge both Challis and Cooper at the front of the field.
One man who’ll have his sights set on upsetting the German Porsche domination is South Australian, Craig Haysman, in his British-built Triumph TR7 V8.
Fresh from a strong performance at Supaloc Classic Targa Adelaide, Haysman is in good form and his powerful Triumph could have the mumbo to rival his more fancied rivals.
The 1970 Datsun 240Z of Jon Siddons should also be in the running over the twisting stages in Victoria’s high country. A consistent performer over a number a Targas, Siddons may well be one of the dark horses in the event.
As usual, the Shannons Classic competition will present a cavalcade of motoring history for Targa fans lucky enough to catch the action. Among the cars to watch will be Robert Gambino’s 1976 Ferrari 308 GTB, Russell Thorpe’s 1974 Holden Torana – a replica of the factory Holden Dealer Team cars, and Ernst Luthi’s 1971 Alpine Renault A110.
Cars will also contest Shannons Early Classic (pre-1966) and Shannons Late Classic (pre-1986) handicap titles.
This could allow the likes of Paul Freestone in his 1948 Holden 215 to come into the calculations for the Early Classic trophy.
While the humpy Holden can’t match it on outright speed with many in the field, the handicap gives Freestone a chance. With his wife Christine in the co-driver’s seat, the pair make a formidable partnership.
With 170 entries, Targa High Country will begin with a stage around the streets of Mansfield in Victoria’s north east on Friday, November 4. The popular Targafest will follow in the town’s main street, before two days of closed road tarmac stages.
Saturday's competition will feature eight Targa stages covering 94 competitive kilometres, while a further eight stages awaits crews on the final day.
The event finishes with a champagne finish on the top of Victoria's premier ski resort, Mt Buller.
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