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Next week’s Targa High Country will see more than 160 cars competing over the twisty tarmac roads in north east Victoria, with nearly 60 of those battling it out for the hotly contested Classic Outright title.

Based at Mt Buller, Targa High Country is round two of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship – the fourth year that the event has been held.

The classic car competition, for those build before 1986, is a treasured class at Targa, highlighting many wonderful sports cars from an earlier era.

South Australian driver, Simon Hoff, took the Classic Outright victory at his home event in Adelaide in August, and with the points lead in the series after the opening round, he’ll be hoping for similar success in Victoria.

But the 1975 Ford Escort RS2000 driver will be making his debut on the event, which could put him at a real disadvantage against some of his more seasoned rivals.

Leading the list of challengers will be his fellow South Australian, Craig Haysman, who was third in Targa High Country in 2012. Driving a 1981 Triumph TR7 V8, Haysman looked on track for victory at Targa Adelaide, only for a mechanical failure to sideline him with the finish in sight.

Similarly, Roger Paterson will be one to watch in his 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS. The Adelaide surgeon was on the pace in his home event, only to crash out, but with a repaired car he’ll be hoping to make amends.

The dark horse will undoubtedly be former touring car star, Andrew Miedecke, who returns to tarmac rallying after a two year-lay-off after his son, George, crashed his 1970 Ford Capri Perana.

Miedecke has regularly shown that he has the speed to win at this level, and the powerful V8 Ford will be right at home on the Targa High Country stages, especially on the fast and flowing roads on day one.

Another with ample V8 power under his right foot will be Tasmanian, Greg Garwood, in a thumping 1977 Holden Torana A9X. A replica of the car Peter Brock drove to victory at Bathurst in 1978, Garwood’s machine will be a real crowd favourite, but more importantly, is also expected to be right at the pointy end of the Classic Outright field.

The classic competition features a huge spread of makes and models, and others to watch include Jon Siddins in his 1970 Datsun 240Z, and the Targa Adelaide ‘Rookie Rallye’ winner, Andy Sarandis, in a 1986 Toyota Corolla.

For local motorsport fans, Mansfield’s Brian and Linda Dermott will make their annual Targa High Country appearance in their 1971 Holden Torana GTR XU-1, a beautifully presented car that has the support of many local businesses.

All in all the Classic Outright competition promises to be one of the most competitive, and closely watched over the three days of competition.

Starting with the now traditional closed-road stage around the streets of the Mansfield on Friday night, Targa High Country will put competitors to the test over 16 stages.

A 5pm start to the street stage will allow Targa fans to come and watch the action after work, with the stage to be immediately followed by the popular Targa Fest in the town’s main street.

On Saturday, the first four stages will see competitors head down Mt Buller, then up and over Tolmie and Whitlands to Whitfield, before a lunch break at Pizzini Wines. Cars will return to Mt Buller after the same four stages, run in the reverse direction on Saturday afternoon.

Sunday’s route heads to and from Eildon over a further eight closed road stages, before the official champagne finish on Mt Buller on Sunday afternoon.

The field of over 160 cars will be made up of competitors in 10 different Targa categories, headed by the outright contending Modern section, and with classes for Classics, Showroom cars and Muscle Cars.

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