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Inkster and Winn claim Targa Bambina honours

18 May, 2015

Following the successful one-day Targa Sprint event in Auckland earlier this year, the three-day Targa Bambina event just wound up in Rotorua on Sunday, May 17. Taking top honours were Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn in the Ecolight Mitsubishi Evo VIII — their second win of the year, after winning the earlier Targa Sprint event.

So far, all is going to plan for the pair, who are determined to both finish and win all three Targa events this year.

“Winning the 20th anniversary event [last year] was obviously our main goal. But having to pull out of the North Island one [with engine problems] last year was like unfinished business,” Inkster said. 

The Targa Bambina left Auckland on Friday, May 15, finishing in Rotorua on the Sunday. Over that distance, the pair won 18 of the 21 stages, finishing four and three-quarter minutes ahead of fellow Allcomers 4WD class member Nic de Waal, and his new co-driver Tom Grooten, in their Subaru Impreza WRX.

Image: Fast Company/ProShotz

In the Metalman Classic 2WD class, Foxton-based driver Bevan Claridge and co-driver Campbell Tannock took the victory, and fourth place overall, despite needing to do an emergency diff change on the side of the road.

The class was hard-fought between Claridge and Tannock, event stalwart Barry Kirk-Burnnand and co-driver Dave O’Carroll, Mark and Chris Kirk-Burnnand, and Jason Easton and Campbell Ward. Easton and Ward crashed near Matamata on Saturday, followed by Mark and Chris Kirk-Burnnand pulling out with a broken suspension bolt.  

Adding to the hot competition in the Metalman Classic 2WD class was class sponsor Clark Proctor, and co-driver Sue O’Neill, in the rapid Nissan–powered Ford Escort. Unfortunately, a crankshaft issue forced them out on the Friday.

Image: Fast Company/ProShotz

Just as fierce was the competition in the Modern 2WD class — finally won by Simon Clark and Richard Somerville in the BMW M3. Ross and Carmel Graham’s Holden Torana A9X kept the class honest early on in the event, but were unfortunately finished on Saturday morning with clutch problems. In their absence, ex-pat Kiwi Robert Darrington and David Abetz pushed their BMW M3 to the lead and held it until Sunday morning, where they went off-road, handing pole to Clark and Somerville.

With 50 starters, plus another 30 in the allied (but non-competitive) Targa Tour, the vehicle line-up was suitably large to provide a full three days’ racing.

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.

Class struggle

For a British car, it is huge; for those sitting inside, the bonnet seems to extend past the horizon. The front seats are very comfortable rather than body hugging. The dashboard and centre console cluster are beautifully laid out, reminiscent of a fighter plane cockpit, with acres of red leather all around. Its V8 burble is on show. It is not a car to sneak about in, and it gets attention wherever it goes.
The large back window, possibly the best-known feature of the Interceptor and one that sets it apart, has very good functionality, allowing greater access to the boot. It would not be an easy job to replace it, so Interceptor owners are careful about reversing and not hitting anything.