Hobart tyre dealer Geoff Duggan, lining up for his 15th assault on Targa Tasmania, describes the event as his “Bathurst 1000”.

The 57-year-old has a passion for motorsport, and sees the journey around his home state as the ultimate test of his driving skills and of his car.

Duggan will be behind the wheel of a 1969 Datsun 2000 Sports in the Classic competition of Targa Tasmania, with his brother Leon Duggan, 49, in the navigator’s seat calling the notes.

“The opportunity to compete against fellow motor sport enthusiasts in classic vehicles around the roads of Tasmania is what really draws us back to Targa,” Geoff Duggan says.

He first competed in Australia’s greatest tarmac rally in 1995, and six of his entries since have been with his brother.

Their Datsun 2000 Sports has done Targa Tasmania on 12 occasions, but their biggest success was in January’s Targa Wrest Point in Hobart, when they took out the Classic competition after a brilliant drive.
That success thrilled the brothers, but their goals over the longer, six-day Targa are a little less ambitious.

“Our aim is to finish in the top 10 in the Classic competition, and also do well in our category (1966 to 1971),” Geoff says.

“We were third in the classics in 1997 and second in 2001, but the competition is getting tougher every year.”

The rear-wheel drive Datsun is best suited to dry weather, although in Tasmania in autumn rain is almost a certainty.

“Of course we’d prefer dry conditions, but our car performs and handles well in the wet.”

With four-wheel disc brakes, a limited slip differential, twin carbies and extractors, the 2000 Sports is a long way from being the most modified car in the field, but reliability will be a factor, and this is where the little Datsun should excel.

“The car has 12 Targas and eight Rally Tasmanias under its belt, so we’re pretty confident that it will go the distance again.”

The Duggans’ family affair will also include a further two family members who will act as their service crew during the event, helping to get both car and crew to the finish in Hobart on May 2.
“Early in the week it’s easy to get up and going each day, however day four of the rally – from Launceston to Strahan - is the longest, hardest and most demanding day,” Geoff explains.
“Targa Tasmania is a great event. It’s our Bathurst 1000 and it is a major achievement just to finish.”

Targa Tasmania is a cavalcade of motoring history and starts on Tuesday, April 27.

After a 5.1 kilometre prologue around the streets of George Town to decide the event running order competitors tackle 39 Targa stages over a total competitive distance of over 400 kilometres.

The 19th Targa Tasmania is primarily based in Launceston, while the event also spends one night in the west coast town of Strahan, before finishing in Hobart on May 2.
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