Tales from Targa Tasmania
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.