our way back to the Silverdome, to the car wash, then the exhibition parking and the shuttle bus back to the accommodation.
Wednesday morning was the real start of the event with the Northern Loop from Launceston via Deloraine, Sheffield, Frankford and Beaconsfield. It was a 7.30 am start with the first stage at Entally. Just as we pulled up for the stage, it started to rain. We thought, here we go, it will be wet, but by the time we were half way through the stage, the rain had stopped and this was the last rain we saw until Sunday. And then it went stage after stage to Sheffield for lunch. First Entally, quite straight forward, Reedy Marsh and the longer Paradise stage, with some tight and slippery corners. The map didn’t do it justice, as there were some really tight bends, 90 degree corners and hair pins. After a quick lunch, the next stages were waiting for us: Nookville and Harford and Holwell, before the next town stage in Beaconsfield. Ernst convinced me to drive a stage as well, and after the initial nervousness, I enjoyed it and wanted to do more, but I was happy to let Ernst drive to Beaconsfield. I did not feel comfortable enough for town stages (yet). After all that excitement, it was back to the Silverdome for the car wash the parking and the shuttle bus. That night, there was a dinner for the whole tour group organised in a Mexican restaurant. We finally had time to get to know our pack leader and the other members of the tour.
Thursday morning was the start to the Eastern Trundle. The whole Targa machine relocated to Hobart. It was an early start, driving the famous Sideling, which, if wet, always claims some victims. Fortunately, it was all dry this year. This was followed by Moorina, Weldborough Pass and Saint Mary’s Pass, before lunch at Saint Mary’s. The impact of the bushfires in that area was still visible. After lunch, it continued with Elephant Pass, Cranbrook and a town stage at Triabunna. Here we finally had a chance to see some of the competitors at the start. One certain Capri revved up his car right at the start - when the lights went out, the car went out at the same time. Instead of leaving with smoking tyres, it was all a bit of an anticlimax as the car was not moving anymore. Two very unhappy competitors stepped out of the car to push it aside. A brief discussion with the present service crew revealed that something was very wrong with the clutch. And then it was off to Hobart, car wash, putting the car into the car park at Wrest Point, finding the luggage and collapse at the hotel.
Friday dawned again to a beautiful day. It was the only day that allowed a bit of a sleep-in, as the start was scheduled to be at 9am. Off we went, passing through Hobart during morning peak hour for the first stage at Grasstree Hill. Here, we encountered a bit of a delay, as a private car had had an accident before the road closure. After this stage, there was Tunnel Hill and then back through Hobart to Bonnet Hill; very nice hill climbs all of them. After that, the work was done for the day and we all drove to Barilla Bay for a ‘Show and Shine’ and a sumptuous lunch. Ernst could not help himself to adore a Honda S600. He almost missed lunch because of it. The day was almost like a rest day, and it was very welcome.
Saturday was an early start, as we were leaving the car park at Wrest Point shortly after 6 am. First stage at 7.30 was Colebrook, then Ross and Longford and then the long stage of Cethana, 38 km of windy road, hair pins, climbs and descends; very exhilarating, but also very scary at times. I was glad when we arrived at lunch in Ulverstone... I needed the hot soup to recover! The afternoon only left Fern Glade, before the finish in Burnie. There, it was the usual drill of car wash, parking the car for the exhibition and finding the shuttle bus for the transfer to our hotel in Wynyard. On the way to Wynyard, it started to rain, which did not deter us for going for a walk after arrival. We needed a bit of exercise after the very long drive. And after a pleasant dinner at the hotel with fellow Targa tour participants, we had a