Tales from Targa Tas­ma­nia

Whitsunday Times - - MOTORING -

HAMIL­TON Is­land’s Gail and Bruce Ab­solon have re­turned from their mam­moth six days of rac­ing at Targa Tas­ma­nia and, boy, do they have sto­ries to tell.

“We had the most amaz­ing time,” Mrs Ab­solon said.

There were 223 en­tries across a num­ber of di­vi­sions with each day con­sist­ing of sev­eral stages and in the cou­ple’s di­vi­sion was a new one called Sports Tro­phy for cars post 1985 to 2015.

The range of cars was enor­mous from the lat­est Porsche GT3 to an Elfin.

Day one was what the or­gan­is­ers called an easy start to the event.

For Mrs Ab­solon some­thing clicked on Day 2.

“I re­alised that Bruce wasn’t here to try and kill me or the car so I be­came far more re­laxed and my calls were much bet­ter. We per­formed as a team that day and the stages were awe­some,” she said.

“The first three stages were great, I was get­ting used to the pace notes and Bruce was get­ting used to lis­ten­ing to me. Poor thing, he had five more days of that to come.”

The fi­nal stage of the day was Ge­orge­town which was a street cir­cuit (most of the stages were coun­try roads).

At the end of day two, the cou­ple was 125th out of 223 en­tries which Mrs Ab­solon was “pretty darn happy” with.

“Then Bruce said at our crew din­ner that he reck­oned we might even make it to the top 100. All I wanted to do was fin­ish but no, my lead foot hus­band had set him­self a chal­lenge and I knew what that meant,” she said.

Day three took them to the north east of Tas­ma­nia.

There was slid­ing in the first stage which was chal­leng­ing but they over­took two cars on that stage which was a solid ef­fort. Ms Ab­solon re­calls a con­cern­ing sight see­ing a crashed Porsche point­ing their way through the stage.

Bruce was very ner­vous about this day as the stages were nar­row, tricky and bumpy but he drove beau­ti­fully and to­gether they got through all stages.

The fi­nal stage was Long­ford, an­other street cir­cuit, and Ms Ab­solon’s mem­o­ries of Ge­orge­town were vivid. How­ever they blitzed this one and came in un­der base time and ended the day at 115th.

On day four some­one had de­lib­er­ately sab­o­taged the first stage of the day by pour­ing oil all over the road.

It was de­clared too danger­ous and they were or­dered to cruise through at 60km/h but by the end of the day, the Hamil­ton Is­land cou­ple came in at 103rd.

Day five was the most dif­fi­cult day, ac­cord­ing to Mrs Ab­solon, with a 37km stage to start fol­lowed by a very tech­ni­cal Queen­stown stage and many slip­pery stages.

Af­ter go­ing air­borne, pass­ing cars and see­ing oth­ers on their roofs, they had cracked 100th place.

Day six was the fi­nal day and they snaked their way down the Huon Val­ley south of Ho­bart with four slip­pery stages – from oil on the road.

They made it to the end with a “Bruce fin­ish”, Ms Ab­solon said, as his lead foot came out all the way to the fin­ish line – plac­ing 94th.

“We were so proud to be rep­re­sent­ing the Whit­sun­days and a huge thank you to our spon­sors The Mantra Group, Pro­sail Whit­sun­days, Mas­ter Butch­ers Whit­sun­day and Ex­plore Whit­sun­days. Also to Ross An­gelo and Paul Al­cock who were our me­chan­ics and their lovely part­ners who looked af­ter us af­ter the day’s events were over, a huge thank you... We hope we have done the Whit­sun­days proud,” Ms Ab­solon said.

Footage is avail­able on YouTube, just search Team Whit­sun­day Targa Tas­ma­nia.

POST­CARD MO­MENT: Bruce and Gail Ab­solon in their Mercedes SL500 pass­ing El­len­dale just north of Ho­bart, Tas­ma­nia. Photo by An­gry­man Photography.

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