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Targa New Zealand set to bring on one of the ‘big guns’ for 2015

13 October, 2015


Former V8 Supercar champion and Kiwi-racing great Greg Murphy will get his first taste of tarmac rallying when he fronts up for this year’s week-long Targa New Zealand event, which starts on Labour Day, Monday, October 26 in Auckland.

Murphy will be piloting the latest HSV Gen-F GTS, and part of his duties will include giving local dignitaries an insight into what it’s like to travel through selected special stages with an experienced race car driver. Murphy will also be offering ‘win a ride’ competition winners the same opportunity through closed special stages before the main competition field each day.

A second promo car will be driven by racing legend, and local motor-racing personality, ‘Racing Ray’ Williams, who will no doubt be providing passengers with an exhilarating experience.

The event finishes on Saturday, October 31 after 35 closed special stages comprising a total of 1035.5kms, linked by 1431.7kms of touring stages with overnight stops in Hamilton, New Plymouth (two nights), Palmerston North, and Havelock North before finishing back in Palmerston North (at The Square in the city).

For a full Targa programme and driver listing, be sure to check out the November issue of New Zealand Classic Car on sale October 19.

Becoming fond of Fords part two – happy times with Escorts

In part one of this Ford-flavoured trip down memory lane I recalled a sad and instructive episode when I learned my shortcomings as a car tuner, something that tainted my appreciation of Mk2 Ford Escort vans in particular. Prior to that I had a couple of other Ford entanglements of slightly more redeeming merit. There were two Mk1 Escorts I had got my hands on: a 1972 1300 XL belonging to my father and a later, end-of-line, English-assembled 1974 1100, which my partner and I bought from Panmure Motors Ford in Auckland in 1980. Both those cars were the high water mark of my relationship with the Ford Motor Co. I liked the Mk1 Escorts. They were nice, nippy, small cars, particularly the 1300, which handled really well, and had a very precise gearbox for the time.
Images of Jim Richards in the Carney Racing Williment-built Twin Cam Escort and Paul Fahey in the Alan Mann–built Escort FVA often loomed in my imagination when I was driving these Mk1 Escorts — not that I was under any illusion of comparable driving skills, but they had to be having just as much fun as I was steering the basic versions of these projectiles.

Fear and loathing the blue oval – part one

The slogan went something like ‘There’s a Ford in your future’. ‘Bugger off!’ were always the words that sprung to my mind. Ford and I have never really got on in the manner of many of my friends, so I’d say my relationship to the brand was distant. The accelerating blur of passing time has helpfully blanketed memories of a few Ford encounters which I probably wanted to forget but I have to admit, now I look at them, they are re-appearing through the mists of time. What comes to mind more readily, to quote some uncharitable wit, is that the letters Ford could stand for ‘fix or repair daily’. Still, I have to ’fess up, there were several Fords in my past.