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On paper, the Classic Outright competition at Targa High Country looks like being a three-way battle, but motorsport is rarely that predictable.

Without Targa Tasmania winner, Rex Broadbent, and his Porsche 911 RS in the field, it appears likely that a big horsepower V8 will push the winner to victory on top of Mt Buller’s summit on Sunday afternoon.

And to spice things up, the likely winner could be either a Queenslander, a Tasmanian or a South Australia, in a Ford, a Holden or a Triumph.

The reigning CAMS Australian Targa Champion, Donn Todd, will start as the man with the target on his back following his recent success. His 1971 Ford Capri Perana has been developed to within an inch of its life in the past couple of years, and Todd certainly knows how to get the most out of the car.

His greatest rival could be the South Australian, Craig Haysman, fresh from Classic Outright victory in his home event, Supaloc Targa Adelaide.

Haysman debuted a new (for him) 1981 Triumph TR7 V8 in that event and was unbeatable over stages he knew well. On the Victorian roads that are unfamiliar to him, he’ll need to put the whole package together to come up with victory.
The third man likely to push for the win is the experience Tasmanian, David Cooper.

For fans of Australian motor racing, Cooper’s 1977 Holden Torana A9X is a sight for sore eyes. Meticulously prepared, the Torana appears to have a limitless supply of horsepower, and with Cooper’s undeniable talent behind the wheel, winning is a real possibility.

The powerful rear-wheel drive classic cars have often struggled to keep their rear tyres in good condition over the Targa High Country stages. In late spring, the weather can often be into the 30s, but this weekend’s temperatures are predicted to be around 20 degrees – perfect for Targa rallying.

The Datsun 240Zs of Victorians Jon Siddins and Rob Devenish will also be pushing hard and in with a chance of a top five finish, as will Paul Stuart, who looks like being the leading Porsche runner in the field of 50 Classic Outright cars.

Targa High Country begins with a street stage and Targa Expo in Mansfield from 4.30pm on Friday, before the cars tackle eight stages on Saturday.

The first four stages will see competitors head down Mt Buller, then up and over Tolmie and Whitlands to Whitfield, before a lunch break at Lake William Hovell. Cars will return to Mt Buller after the same four stages, run in the reverse direction on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday’s route heads to and from Eildon over a further eight closed road stage, before the official champagne finish on Mt Buller on Sunday afternoon.
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