Well we couldn't have wished for a better first up Targa Wrest Point. It was a whole new experience for everyone and the course definitely made sure it was close with the first eight cars home in Modern being different models and the podium having three different brands in Porsche, Nissan and Lamborghini. It's been a long time since one or two models haven't dominated a tarmac rally.
The man that tried to kill the guy that would one day lead the Targa Tasmania world, Greg Garwood broke through for a maiden tarmac win after spending the best part of the last ten years in the top 5 (except 2004!!). Garwood with John Allen set the pace when they had to on the Geeveston stage and then hung on for dear life as the more powerful R35 GTR of Tony Quinn and Naomi Tillett threw everything but a slab of fresh pet food at them with just 3 seconds separating them at the finish line. John and Jason White again showed good pace in finishing 3rd and a reliable car at Targa Tasmania will give them a great chance of breaking through for a long awaited win for the Italian Supercar.
It was also great to see some new challengers in Classic with the total domination by Porsche under threat for the first time in a long, long time.
Not that any of us doubted it, but how good is Steve Glenney? Even better these days with Bernie Webb in the left seat. Their performance was superb and we are all sitting at the 'Targa Wishing Well' everyday hoping they will come back in the 'Red Corner Beast' for Targa Tasmania.
Interestingly, they were amazed at how much more interest the public showed in them when compared to the Evo, which just vindicated to us the importance of ensuring there are enough of these types of cars competing to keep the public interested. Seeding Glenney with the likes of Coad, O'Keefe, Barwick & Cooper naturally added to the whole experience.
Peter Eames & Will Logan drove a very steady race to see off the other Porsches and Kim Barwick & Kylie Benson also showed that even over the shorter distance, steady speed was the way to go with a surprising 3rd place.
Showroom again saw a diesel make the podium; but this time it had to beat the 4WD cars to get there making the 2nd placed result an amazing effort by Peter Brown & Nicole Locker in their Mazda 3 Diesel. Scott Millar and Chris Dean gave the new Evo X its first win in Australia after Tony Warren & Natasha Deniese crashed out on the 2nd last stage with a handy lead in their pockets.
Greg & Rhonda Burrows took some polished alloy back to QLD with them after a sold effort in their Evo IX to finish 3rd. They will be looking to improve this at Targa in there new Evo X.
Early Modern delivered straight out of the box with the cars that once lead the way at Targa dominating proceedings. Loyal local, David Ayers & Robbie Bolton lead all the way to become our first Early Modern winners in their R33 GTR. Another GTR, this time the R34 version, driven by Adam Poole and Clayton Lang were 2nd whilst Leigh Finlayson and Michael Stoneman hung on for 3rd in their Evo 6.5 just ahead of the unlucky Richard and Chris Perini in a GT3.
One of the best known cars in the country dominated Early Classic and was never headed. Steve Coad's orange Monaro is legendary and with his daughter Kaila calling the corners this time; they lead all the way. The Ford boys dominated the other places with Scott & Wayne Kent getting home by 14 seconds in their `65 Mustang from brother, Drew & Paul Krawczyk in an XY GT Falcon after George Nittis in another GT Falcon was forced to take a tyre and the penalty that comes with it.
By all accounts, the weekend was a huge success with many competitors already looking for the 2010 entry form to ensure they don't miss out.
Now for the Big One All focus is now on the 18th Annual running of Targa Tasmania. Entries are still coming in as competitors continue to choose which ones are important and which ones they can live with out. It is pleasing to see that most cannot live with their annual Targa fix.
The closeness of the results last weekend shows that this year's event will be the most competitive ever.Â Any number of cars can win Modern as is the case with Classic Outright, especially if Glenney & Webb decide to stay in their Commodore. Early Modern is likely to see a number of competitors give themselves a chance and as always the handicapping of Classic means anyone pushing hard can win.
Showroom sees the 4WD and 2WD cars up against each other and this should suit the Evo's and STi's but if Mazda get their way, they will be enjoying the champagne with their three pronged attack of duel MPS's and the 3 diesel that finished 2nd at Targa Wrest Point.