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Datsun Team 240Z charger Jon Siddins is ready for a reversal of fortune in TARGA Great Barrier Reef to be held this week in Cairns from September 4 to 6. Handling one of the crowd-pleasing machines of TARGA Classic GT competition, Siddins and co-driving wife Gina have arrived ahead of schedule for the popular Far North Queensland tarmac rally. After being forced to miss the inaugural Cairns-based event in 2018, the Siddins duo are keen to make amends from a premature departure last year in their rapid 1970 Datsun 240Z. The pair, based at Oxenford on the Gold Coast, had an off-course excursion on stage 9, the 6.85km North Johnstone test, in 2019 after performing solidly on the opening day. “The damage looked far worse than it really was,” Jon Siddins said. “While the spoiler was beyond repair, the guards and bonnet just needed fibre-glass repairs and thankfully there was no damage underneath.” The Siddins’ entry is one of the spearheads of the hugely popular Classic GT section which traditionally highlights some of the best machinery predominantly from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. “We headed off a week early and stopped in Townsville before driving on up to Cairns,” Gina Siddins said “We really want to support the Cairns region and the tourism there. “As we’ve said to the organisers, we will do everything we can to promote the area and promote the event.” Innisfail competitor Anthony Genocchio and co-driver Robert Horsfall finished second in the class last year in their 1983 Holden Commodore VH. Genocchio finished just over three minutes astern of Classic GT star Mick Downey who has been unable to make the event this year from Victoria. “It definitely helps knowing the roads up there and he (Genocchio) was strong last year so we will have to be on our game,” Jon Siddins said. Recently the Siddins duo took the TARGA Z car and another Z to Morgan Park for separate track events. “Jon took the TARGA Z up to Morgan Park for the inter-club Porsche challenge. “We took another Z car up there for the sprints which has got 30 years worth of development in it. “The set-up that Jon does is absolutely amazing. That car could drive itself around that track. “You can’t phantom how good the set-up is in the car’s that Jon prepares for TARGA and for the circuit.” TARGA Great Barrier Reef across three days and covers more than 200km of competitive distance over 18 special stages. Details of all spectator and road closure information for TARGA Great Barrier Reef is also available on the TARGA website. A new feature of the event this year will be the TARGAcavalcade which will see the field of nine categories travel through a dedicated 27km Cairns route on Saturday, September 5. This will replace the TARGAfest which had been held on The Esplanade in the Cairns CBD. The first cars are expected to depart Edmonton, to the south of the Cairns CBD, at 3.40pm and travel north eventually finishing at the Cairns Showgrounds.
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