The fight for classic honours in this weekend’s Targa Wrest Point is expected to be one of the most hotly contested in the two-day tarmac rally.

The classic category (for cars manufactured between 1946 and 1981) has the largest entry number in Targa Wrest Point, with 65 cars making up over a third of the field.

With 2009 classic winner Steve Glenney not travelling to Hobart to defend his title, outright favourtism has fallen to Peter Eames and Will Logan in their 1974 Porsche 911 RS.

Having finished a strong second last year, Eames is set for a thrilling battle with the similar Porsche 911 of New South Wales pairing Bill Pye and Grant Geelan, who were pacesetters in 2009 until an accident ended their hopes.

Eames is yet to break through for his first major tarmac rally victory, and this could be the biggest hurdle the Victorian driver faces over the 210 competitive kilometres of Targa Wrest Point.

Other challengers for the outright classic title include Tasmanian drivers David Cooper (1977 Holden Torana A9X) and Adrian Morrisby in a 1975 Holden Gemini, while Queenslander Keith Callinan is always a threat (and a crowd favourite) in his thumping 1972 DeTomaso Pantera.

Cooper drove his iconic Torana A9X to fourth place last year and could easily repeat that result if the weather stays dry, whereas Morrisby’s smaller Gemini will shine if the weather is wet.

Gearbox problems have hampered Callinan’s Italian supercar in tarmac rallying, but there’s no denying either the car’s potential, or that of its driver.

Peter O’Keefe could also be a podium chance if he hits his straps in his fire-breathing 1977 Holden Torana SLR 5000.

A popular addition to the classic field is former Sale Of The Century TV host, Glenn Ridge. The Victorian has long been a Targa competitor in a rear-wheel drive Mazda RX7, but will steer a powerful 1971 Ford Falcon GT this time around.

While not expected to fight for outright honours, Ridge is always a crowd favourite.

The classic handicap category gives all classic car drivers the chance of Targa Wrest Point glory.

The handicap system is broken up into three levels, with the more highly modified cars receiving a lower handicap than their more standard competitors.

This gives ‘Huon boys’ Geoff and Leon Duggan a real shot at victory in their 1969 Datsun 2000 Sports, particularly with their local knowledge of the stages to be used in the event.

Nick Ellis and Travis Lacy are past handicap winners in their 1980 Ford Escort RS2000 and could well repeat their previous success. Others set to feature highly include David Cooper and Brad Sherriff (Torana A9X) and John Ireland/Michael Ribot in their 1977 Porsche 911 Carerra 3.

Starting and finishing at Wrest Point in Hobart, day one of Targa Wrest Point will see competitors tackle seven Targa stages with a competitive distance of 127 kilometres, while a further seven tests and 83 competitive kilometres will conclude the event on day two.

The second running of the event has attracted 163 entries from seven different countries. Targa Wrest Point is open to modern, showroom and classic cars. Last year’s event injected more than $3 million into the southern Tasmanian economy.
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