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Tasmanians Eddie Maguire and Peter Nunn were the big winners from this month’s Targa High Country, which was held in Victoria’s north-east from November 7 to 9.

Eddie Maguire won Targa High Country in a Lancer Evolution.After success in the Modern and Classic Outright competitions, the pair are likely to look ahead to the new Targa Hellyer Gorge event in Tasmania (February 7) as a shake-down before the six-day Targa Tasmania at the end of April.

The fifth running of the Targa High Country included stages from Mt Buller to Euroa and back for the first time. It was also the first time that multiple stages had been held on the Friday of the event, which proved popular for both competitors and Targa fans.

Once again based high in the Victorian alps at Mt Buller, Targa High Country attracted a field of 200 cars for an event that continues to gather momentum.

While Friday’s stages were new (apart from the runs down and up Mt Buller), the tarmac tests on Saturday and Sunday were identical to those from previous events.

The popular stage through the streets of nearby Mansfield took place on Saturday afternoon, and despite temperatures that were in the mid-thirties, a big crowd of motorsport fans were on hand to watch the cars light up the tarmac.

As always, Targa events are about taking the excitement to local communities, and this year lunch breaks were held in Euroa, at Pizzini’s Winery in Whitfield, and in Eildon.

While Peter Nunn and his Porsche had an untroubled run to victory in Classic Outright, Modern winner, Eddie Maguire, had a last day scare when his Lancer’s gearbox faltered early in the day. It was only the work of multiple Targa winner and head mechanic, Jason White, that enabled Maguire to get the car to the finish.

Bathurst legend, Jim Richards, had trailed rival Neill Ford in the Showroom competition at the start of the day, but the wily veteran came good when it counted to give his Porsche an 11 second win over the Chevrolet Corvette of Ford.

The 4WD Showroom cars of Stewart Liddle (Mitsubishi Lancer) and Angus Kennard (Subaru WRX) couldn’t be separated after two days, but in the final stanza it was Kennard who came out on top to the tune of just 10 seconds.

There were convincing wins to Peter Ullrich (Early Classic) and Peter Nunn (Late Classic), Adam Kaplan took out Early Modern in his Holden Commodore after the Lancer Evo of Jason Whitburn crashed three stages from home, while Ben Newman was a run-away winner in Sports Trophy in a Jaguar F-Type Coupe R.

In Thoroughbred Trophy, Keith Brooke’s Porsche was too good, and Alan Gluyas the class of the TSD Trophy competition.

Looking ahead to 2015, Targa Hellyer Gorge will replace Targa Wrest Point and the Targa Tasmania Rookie Rallye with an event that is primarily designed to give first time drivers a taste of real Targa competition on one of Targa's most legendary stages.

It will also provide a great day's competition for all those preparing for Targa Tasmania, along with those who have limited time and/or budget and who just want to experience a Targa event.

For more details on Targa Hellyer Gorge and Targa Tasmania, visited the official website at www.targa.com.au

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