Targa Tasmania in a Coffee Cup By Sonja Luthi
It all started around Easter time 2006. The MG Car Club had their National Meeting in Launceston and we took our MG BGT to Tasmania. We planned to tour the island for about a week after the meeting to explore the west coast (Strahan) and Cradle Mountain. During that touring, we could not help but notice the boards stating road closures for the Targa, starting the weekend we were bound to leave. We had also picked up the Targa magazine in Launceston. All this created a voice in our brains that kept on asking: “Why don’t you participate in the Targa?”
So, we checked out the web site (where would we be without the Internet?). With the option of the Tour, the voice in our brains became louder. And we took the plunge. Our first decision was: Tour or Competition? The answer to that was pretty easy: tour, simple - we had never done something like that before. The second decision was: which car do we take. Here, the answer was not so straight forward. However, as it had to be a quite unique car (we thought), we decided to take the Cappuccino. Once these decisions had been made, we filled in the entry form, paid the fee and waited for the confirmation. When it finally came, and we had number 33 allocated to us, it hit home, we would be going to Targa. So, ferries were booked, accommodation found and the car booked into the workshop for a good check up. We knew, we needed a new clutch, brake pads and as it turned out, also a new exhaust and new shocks. The hail damage was fixed, and so was the front bumper bar.
The plan was to leave Sydney on Thursday 12 April late morning for a leisurely drive down the Hume on a two-day journey to Melbourne. Well, it turned out differently. Thursday turned out to be quite hectic, as the car was not ready until 1.30 pm. And with the lack of boot space in the Cappo, packing had to be thought through carefully. Anyway, we finally got under way, stayed overnight in Gundagai and met up with friends for Friday night. The ferry trip was uneventful and we arrived late Saturday in Launceston. Sunday was busy with car decoration, putting all the stickers and decals on in the right places and a quiet dinner; a little nervous in expectation of the things to come.
Monday morning, 11am sharp, was the briefing for the Tour, followed by a very generous lunch at the country club. It sounded quite serious regarding safety, speed and general behaviour. After lunch, we drove out to Simmons Plains for Documentation and Scrutineering. We collected the roadbooks, the jackets, the latest bulletins and badges, before we queued for the car inspection. We got the pink form signed, the tyres numbered and a time given by when we had to report back to the Silverdome for the nightly car exhibition. So, off we went, got the Cappuccino washed and parked it in the dedicated spot. The provided shuttle bus took us back to the accommodation, where there was just enough time to organise all the paperwork and read up on the next day, before it was time to head off. We were meeting up with Lui, Jeff, Thommo, Gerlachs, Carol and more for an Italian dinner.
Tuesday morning, we were given the pack and placement within the pack. We were the first car in pack 3, right behind the pack leader (a Fiat X-19). The tour always started about 45 minutes before the first competition car. So, around 9am, we took off in formation to TEMCO near Georgetown for a generous morning tea. All the 31 touring cars were suitably discussed and adored. Then it was off to Georgetown, the first real thing, the Prologue of Targa: a just-on 5km long town stage, with many left and right hand turns, kerbs and gutters. Ernst followed our leader closely through town and enjoyed the first taste of closed roads. After the short excitement, we were treated to a big lunch at the hospitality villas, set up in a prime viewing position. After all cars had passed, including Eric Banna and Grant Denier, we made