Targa North West attracts strong field
- 1st February 2017, 3:09am
The new 2017 Targa North West will host a top field of competitors when the field gathers in Burnie on February 18, enticed by the opportunity to take on the famous Savage River stage, a compelling test of driver and car.
The event has replaced Targa Hellyer Gorge on the annual Targa calendar and sees a 60% increase in entries over 2016 numbers, including some of the top teams in the sport who will use the event to prepare for the ultimate tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania, in April.
As well as attracting some of the most experienced drivers, the event also provides a great way to start competing in Targa events with a number of rookies set to test their skills on the roads around Burnie.
The format in 2017 will see cars tackle multiple stages, with competitive kilometres equal to any tough day at Targa Tasmania.
Last year’s Targa Hellyer Gorge winners, Trevor McLeod and Scott Hunter, return looking for another win in their Subaru WRX. They will be hotly pursued by Crichton Lewis and Adam Kudra, also in a Subaru, as well as Angus Kennard and Ian Wheeler in their awesome Nissan GTR, who finished third in Targa Tasmania GT4.
The GT2 competition will see a couple of the latest Dodge Viper’s go head to head for the first time since Targa Tasmania last year. Michael Pritchard and Gary Mourant had the best of that battle after five-time Targa Tasmania winners, Jason and John White, ran into mechanical problems while debuting their latest car and leading the 25th Anniversary event. Both teams will be looking to fine tune their Vipers for another tilt at Targa Tasmania in April.
Keeping the Vipers honest will be former Classic winner, John Ireland with Janet Binns, driving a Porsche Cayman GT4, along with Toby Gill and Matthew Rickards in their powerful HSV Commodore GTS after a great run at Targa High Country late last year.
Classic is wide open with the dark horse being the return of Geoff and Leon Duggan in their formidable Datsun 2000 Sports who have consistently run at the front of their competitions and secured wins at Targa Wrest Point in 2012 and 2013. Ashley Yelds steps into the driver’s seat for the first time with Targa Tasmania front runner Charlie Hughes calling notes, while long-time Targa competitors Stephen and Ginetta Rochester are bringing their beautiful 1959 Triumph TR3A to tackle the tough one-day course.
Classic GT will hopefully see a change of luck for the very quick Peter Nunn and Keith Johnstone team in their Porsche 944 Turbo and they will be very hard to beat. David Young, Mark Clair and Stewart McAuley will all be ready to pounce in their Porsche 911’s should Nunn falter.
Early Modern is always hotly contested with no team establishing themselves as the dominant outfit. This event will be no different with any number of combinations looking to stand on the top step of the podium. Paul Henry and Kim Burke in Porsche’s and Paul Bergmann in a Subaru WRX should figure in the outcome and Kingsley Wallman will be joined by Lee Harper in his new Porsche Cayman, and they are also looking to be near the front.
GT Sports Trophy will see Peter Pisko being the man to beat. Geoff Storr and Steve Caplice bring much experience to TSD Trophy and barring a mistake will be hard to beat.
The event starts and finishes in Burnie with the Official Finish being held outside the Burnie Arts and Function Centre from around 3.00pm on 18th February.
2017 sees the new Targa North West run for the first time under its new five-year agreement that will see the event run each year until at least 2021.
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