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New Zealand Classic Car - - Special Feature -

Pace-set­ter

There was no deny­ing, of course, who was the ul­ti­mate pace set­ter, Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn win­ning 18 of the 21 stages out­right, and fin­ish­ing a com­fort­able four-andthree-quar­ter min­utes in front of fel­low In­stra.com All­com­ers 4WD cat­e­gory mem­ber, Nic de Waal, and his new co-driver Tom Grooten (Subaru Im­preza WRX), with In­stra.com Mod­ern 2WD class win­ners Clark and Somerville com­ing in an im­pres­sive third over­all in their M3.

Last year’s win­ner Leigh Hopper, and new co-driver Ben Grooten, pro­vided an early threat in Hopper’s Subaru Im­preza WRX, but the Orewa pair went out late on Fri­day morn­ing af­ter run­ning off the road.

How­ever, they re­turned in a leased Mit­subishi Evo on Satur­day — “Just to have fun!” ac­cord­ing to Hopper, event rules stat­ing that you can only re­main in con­tention for a place if you start and fin­ish in the same car.

De­spite last-minute dra­mas on the fi­nal day (in­clud­ing hav­ing to do a dif­fer­en­tial change at the side of the road on Sun­day morn­ing) vic­tory in the Me­tal­man Clas­sic 2WD class, and fourth place over­all, went to Be­van Clar­idge and his co-driver Camp­bell Tan­nock from class and event stal­wart Barry Kirk-burn­nand and co-driver Dave O’car­roll, from Auck­land, in their BMW M3.

For most of the event Clar­idge and Tan­nock were locked in a bat­tle for cat­e­gory supremacy with two other mem­bers of the Kirk-burn­nand mo­tor-sport clan, Mark and Chris from Welling­ton in their BMW M3, and Clar­idge’s for­mer co-driver, Jason Eas­ton, in a clas­sic notch­back Ford Mus­tang. Eas­ton was joined in the great­sound­ing pony car by co-driver Camp­bell Ward.

Alas, Eas­ton and Ward crashed out of the Hob­biton stage west of Mata­mata on Satur­day, while late in the penul­ti­mate event stage on Sun­day, Mark and Chris KirkBurn­nand were also forced to pull out af­ter a sus­pen­sion bolt broke.

Bat­tle of At­tri­tion

The In­stra.com Mod­ern 2WD cat­e­gory also turned into some­thing of a bat­tle of at­tri­tion, with Clark Proc­tor and Sue O’neil’s Me­tal­man Es­cort out on Fri­day with a bro­ken crankshaft, and clutch prob­lems. Me­chan­i­cal woes side­lined Ross and Carmel Graham’s To­rana on Satur­day morn­ing, their demise giv­ing Perth-based Kiwi ex­pat Robert Dar­ring­ton and his co-driver David Abetz the class lead in their E36 BMW M3. They, in turn, held that po­si­tion through Satur­day and into Sun­day morn­ing be­fore run­ning off the road in Stage 18 on Sun­day morn­ing, pass­ing the class ba­ton to Clark and Somerville in their M3.

Robert Dar­ring­ton and David Abetz hung on for sec­ond in their BMW from Mike Lea and Grant Han­d­ley’s BMW 318i.

There was real depth and di­ver­sity in the In­stra.com Mod­ern 2WD class, with six dif­fer­ent class win­ners. There was also a fas­ci­nat­ing event-long bat­tle in the In­stra.com Mod­ern 2WD class for Toy­ota 86 coupé brag­ging rights be­tween for­mer Mini rac­ing aces Chris Lewis and co-driver Kieran An­stis from Wai­heke Is­land, and Grant Aitken and Caro­line Cul­limore from Cromwell.

Lewis started and fin­ished with the up­per hand, end­ing up sev­enth in class to Aitken’s ninth, but of­ten there were only sec­onds be­tween the Toy­ota twins on stage.

This year’s three-day Targa North Is­land event at­tracted 50 starters, plus another 30 in the al­lied but non­com­pet­i­tive Targa Tour.

Targa New Zealand events are or­ga­nized with the sup­port of spon­sors Ecolight, Fed­eral Tyres, Global Se­cu­rity, In­stra Cor­po­ra­tion, Me­tal­man, Nzclassiccar mag­a­zine, Race Brakes, Teamtalk, Trackit, VTNZ, Chi­cane Racewear, Racetech and Wool­rest Biomag. Targa’s pre­ferred char­ity is Kids in Cars.

1. Yet another Mus­tang, this time the fast­back of Grant Rivers and Ross Fran­cis 2. Last year’s Bam­bina win­ners, Leigh Hopper and Ben Grooten out of the run­ning but hav­ing fun 3. Grant Aitken and Caro­line Cul­limore’s Toy­ota 86 coupé

Inkster and Winn on track for over­all hon­ours in their Mit­subishi Evo 4. Tony and Jo But­ler fin­ished in the top over­all and also took out the Mat­ri­mo­nial Tro­phy in their Holden Chee­tah 5. Rob Dar­ring­ton and David Abetz took their BMW to a sec­ond­plac­ing i

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