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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.

Motorsport Flashback – Kiwi rallying in the 1970s

Rallying arrived in New Zealand in 1973 like a tsunami. It had been only a few years since the sport was introduced here and shortly afterwards Heatway came on board as the sponsor to take rallying to a new level. The 1973 Heatway would be the longest and biggest yet, running in both islands with 120 drivers over eight days and covering some 5400 kilometres. The winner was 31-year-old Hannu Mikkola — a genuine Flying Finn who had been rallying since 1963 before putting any thoughts of a career on hold until he completed an economics degree. The likeable Finn became an instant hero to many attracted to this new motor sport thing. I was one of them.

Think of it as a four-door Cooper

New Zealand Mini Owners Club coordinator Josh Kelly of Dunedin loves his Minis. It’s a family affair. Julie and Mike, Josh’s mum and dad, are just as keen, and they can usually all be found taking part in the club’s annual ‘Goodbye, Pork Pie’ charity run from the North of the country to the South.
But lately Josh’s young head has been turned by some other revolutionary BMC cars. He has picked up a couple of Austin and Morris 1100 and 1300s, which he started to restore — that was until an opportunity arose to buy a rare example stored in a shed.