Targa introduce 1000km endurance epic for 2015 finale

20 July, 2015

Targa New Zealand’s 2015 season is set to end with one of their biggest bangs to date, in the form of a 1000km, six-day marathon between Auckland and Palmerston North. This will comprise of 35 closed special stages, making it one of the longest events of its kind in the world.

It’s the second time in consecutive years that Targa have done something special for their season final, with the 2014 Targa calendar ending with their first journey to the South Island as part of their 20th anniversary celebrations. While the length may seem gruelling, Event Director Peter Martin says that the revised length comes as a response to competitor feedback. The result of which has the potential to be a memorable event.

“What we’re doing, in effect, is celebrating our return to the North Island, to the event’s roots if you like, by taking some of the best and most popular stages from previous events and putting them together in one. It’s going to be mega,” Martin explains.

The compressed six-day slog will see the return of numerous memorable stages from past Targa New Zealand events, including the Glen Murray, Kawhia, Inglewood, Whangamomona, Gentle Annie, and Mangatainoka stages.

Glenn Inkster and co-driver Spencer Winn, in their Mitsubishi Evolution, enter the event as one of the favourite combinations for outright honours. The pair aim to take a clean sweep of all three Targa New Zealand events this year, following victories at the 2015 Metalman Targa Rally Sprint, which took place in Auckland on March 8, and the Targa Bambina, which ended on May 18.

“Winning the 20th anniversary event was our big goal last year, but now that we have done that, we decided that our main goal this year would be to not only finish all three Targa events — but to win them as well,” says Inkster.

While entries are still flowing in, Inkster is likely to face strong competition from the likes of past circuit racer Clark Proctor and his co-driver Sue O’Neill in Proctor’s eccentric Nissan-powered Ford Escort, as well as Leigh Hopper and co-driver Simon Kirkpatrick in Hopper’s rapid Subaru Impreza.

But, as is always the case with Targa New Zealand, the real talking point will centre around diversity and community. Keep an eye out for more coverage of the event at The Motorhood!

Travelling companion

It’s easy to see why the Morris Minor Traveller was one of the best-loved variants of the Morris Minor. Introduced in 1953, it was equipped with the same independent torsion bar front suspension, drum brakes, and rack and pinion steering as its saloon sibling but, with their foldable rear seat increasing versatility, many Travellers were used as trade vehicles, says Derek Goddard. Derek and Gail Goddard, the owners of this superbly restored example, have run Morris Minors since before they were married in 1974.
“Our honeymoon vehicle was a blue Morris Minor van — it was a rust bucket,” says Derek.

Super Leicht Gullwing

It’s fair to say that nothing much in the classic Mercedes world gets past Mercedes-Benz Club stalwart Garry Boyce so it wasn’t surprising to learn that around 15 years ago he had sniffed out an extremely rare 300SL lightweight Gullwing as well as a 1958 300SL Roadster hiding away in the Waikato. The cars were not for sale but Garry eventually managed to persuade the owner to allow him and his restoration team to take a look at the Roadster. They discovered a very distressed but largely unmolested car. The car was so original that the body had never been off the chassis, meaning most of the parts and fittings were still present and correct, as they had been fitted by the factory.