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Andrew Bryson may one of the most travelled international competitors to tackle next month’s Targa Wrest Point, but he and navigator Craig Milich have unfinished business in the early classic handicap section of the event, for vehicles up to 1971.

Bryson has just returned to Western Australia after working in Dubai and will head to the US for more work in between Targa Wrest Point and the final round of the Australian Targa Championship, Targa Tasmania, in April.

While Bryson has been overseas, his trusty 1964 Hillman Imp Rallye has been prepared in Tasmania by co-driver Craig Milich at Legana, north of Launceston.

With a good result in Targa Wrest Point, Bryson and Milich, currently sixth in the championship, can push for a top three spot heading into the final round.

However, that is not their main motivation.

“We’ve got unfinished business at Targa Wrest Point,” Milich explained.

“We were winning early classic by almost two minutes last year with two stages to go when the oil filter on the engine came loose,” he said. “We should have won that event.”

So far this championship series, the pair have started in good form with a podium third at the opening round of the championship, Supaloc Targa Adelaide last year.

“I’ve tweaked the suspension and handling of the car in the front end and we would have finished higher than third in Adelaide but for two small mistakes,” Milich said.

One was the driver’s fault, a spin in wet conditions, and the other the navigator, with a late call resulting in a minor off-road excursion.

“We’ve proven we’re capable of a podium finish if everything goes our way and despite the car being 59 years old, it stands up to the competition well,” Milich said.

Bryson and Milich can expect some tough competition in Targa Wrest Point, especially from championship leaders and defending champions Don Todd and Dean Tighe, from Queensland, in their rapid 1971 V8-powered Ford Capri Perana.

Todd and Tighe finished fourth in the early classic handicap at Supaloc Targa Adelaide and also third in round two of the championship, Targa High Country, in Victoria, in November.

Another consistent performance could put them in the box seat with a round to go.

Supaloc Targa Adelaide early classic handicap winners Bill Brentzell and Karien Heimsohn will also be contenders in their 1965 Shelby GT350, while Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory can never be underestimated in their giant-killing 1955 Fiat Abarth 750.

Bretzell and Heimsohn are strategically well placed being able to drop around in a Championship, as Targa High County and Wrest Point are worth the same amount of points as they have already obtained 80 in Adelaide.

Targa Wrest Point will be the fourth Targa event for Andrew Bryson and Craig Milich, but both have had extensive motorsport experience before teaming up.

“I jumped into the car when Andy’s regular navigator was injured in a crash with another driver in another event and we’ve been together ever since,” Milich said.

The former New Zealand motorkhana champion said former drivers didn’t always make the best navigators, but he and Bryson had a good understanding.

“A lot depends on the individual as to whether or not a driver makes a good navigator, but at least as a driver, I know what to expect a bit more,” he said.

Targa Wrest Point is the third round of the four-round CAMS Australian Targa Championship series and will be held on roads in the Huon Valley and surrounding areas, south of Hobart, on February 2 and 3.
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