Twenty-one year old Victorian Brendan Reeves devotes his life to rallying. A truck driver by trade, all of Reeves’ spare time is taken up by his passion, with Targa Tasmania the next event on his extensive list.

Quite literally, Reeves is living the dream. As part of Mazda’s two-car assault on this year’s tarmac classic, Reeves continues to enhance his reputation as one of Australia’s most talented young drivers.

He made his impressive Targa Tasmania debut in 2009, steering a factory-backed Mazda3 MPS to victory in the two-wheel drive Showroom class.

So impressed were Mazda with his speed and maturity, they have once again thrown their full support behind him in 2010. He’ll be behind the wheel of a brand new Mazda3 MPS for the six-day marathon looking for Showroom honours.

Reeves started competing in motorsport events at the tender age of seven, racing go-karts, before moving into autocross and then rallying.

With his sister, Rhianon Smyth, calling the pacenotes from the co-driver’s seat, the pair has contested over 30 rallies together, with considerable success.

They had a stellar 2009 season that included their Targa Tasmania 2WD Showroom class win. A true all-rounder, Reeves also showed his style on the gravel, winning the Lithgow and Akademos rallies, and finishing an impressive third outright in New Zealand’s round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship.

Their season ended badly, however, with a massive crash in the Rally of South Australia that wrecked their Subaru, and left Smyth with multiple fractures, including two broken legs.

After months of rehabilitation, the brother and sister combination returned to the sport in February’s Rally of Tasmania where they immediately hit top form, finishing second outright in a Subaru.

Their preparation for the 19th running of Targa included spending Easter driving around the myriad of twisting, tarmac roads that make up the classic event.

“Targa Tasmania is like no other tarmac rally in Australia,” Reeves said.

“The thought of rallying for five straight days and competing over 500 kilometres of competitive stages is a great attraction for us. It is a rally all rally drivers should experience at least once.”

“There’s a lot that goes in to planning for an event of this length,” Smyth, 29, says. “Making sure that you have good pacenotes for every stage is just one of the many jobs that needs to be done prior to the event.”

Along with Reeves and Smyth, Mazda will also enter a Mazda RX8 for 2008 Targa winners Steve Glenney and Bernie Webb.

“Mazda Australia will have a large service crew with many mechanics to look after the cars during the event,” Reeves added.

“Last year we won the two-wheel drive Showroom competition, but in 2010 we’d like to be able to push towards an outright Showroom class win against the four-wheel drive cars.

“We’ll need dry weather to have a real shot at that, but we’re putting in all the preparation required and believe we have a realistic chance.”
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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