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New Zealand Classic Car - - Feature Car - Words: Ross Mackay Pho­tos: Fast Com­pany / Proshotz

Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn ar­rived at the fin­ish line of this year’s event in Palmer­ston North on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 31, with a nine-and-a-half minute lead over five-time for­mer win­ner Tony Quinn and his co-driver Naomi Til­lett (Nis­san GT-R35) and al­most 20 min­utes ahead of the third placeget­ters, 2013 event win­ners Martin Dip­pie and Jona Grant (Porsche 911 GT3).

In do­ing so, the Inkster and Winn com­pleted a rare Targa New Zealand ‘three-peat’, hav­ing also won the one-day Me­tal­man Targa Sprint in March and the three-day Targa Bam­bina (née Ro­torua) in May.

Record dis­tance

The 21st an­nual Targa New Zealand event cov­ered a record 1035.5kms of closed spe­cial stages and 1431.7kms of tour­ing stages, leav­ing Auck­land on Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 26, and trav­el­ling via Hamil­ton, New Ply­mouth, and Have­lock North to fin­ish in Palmer­ston North the fol­low­ing Satur­day.

Last year was the first time Inkster and Winn had won the main Targa event, but that was in the ab­sence of past Targa cham­pi­ons, Quinn and Til­lett, who crashed out on the se­cond day in Quinn’s then-new Lam­borgh­ini Hu­racán.

This year, the pair — Inkster, the for­mer gravel ace from Pa­tuma­hoe, near Pukekohe, and Winn, from How­ick in Auck­land — es­tab­lished an early lead over Quinn and

Til­lett and were never headed off, lead­ing both the An­drew Simms All­com­ers 4WD class and over­all clas­si­fi­ca­tion from start to fin­ish.

Hav­ing seen Inkster and Winn get­ting faster each year, long-time event pace-set­ter Tony Quinn said he knew the pair were go­ing to be the ones to watch this year: “I’m proud of Glenn that he has got to the point where he is a true chal­lenge. I thought if I kept enough pres­sure on him [Inkster] some­thing would hap­pen. But it didn’t — so full credit to him.”

Class lead­ers emerge

Af­ter early ex­its for high-pro­file en­tries Leigh Hop­per and Si­mon Kirk­patrick (via a crash on day one), Nic de Waal and Guy Hodg­son (a crash on day two), Clark Proc­tor and Sue O’neill (me­chan­i­cal woes on day three), and Mark and Chris Kirk-burn­nand (blown en­gine on day three), a pat­tern de­vel­oped.

Inkster and Winn led the An­drew Simms All­com­ers 4WD class and over­all, Martin Dip­pie and Jona Grant set the pace in In­ Mod­ern 2WD, and Holden Com­modore V8 pair Be­van Clar­idge and Camp­bell Tan­nock emerged as lead­ers in Me­tal­man Clas­sic 2WD.

Ini­tially, the ’65 Ford Mus­tang of for­mer mo­tor­cy­cle ace Ja­son Eas­ton and his co-driver, Camp­bell Ward, joined Clar­idge and Tan­nock as they bat­tled the var­i­ous Kirk-burn­nand com­bi­na­tions. How­ever, the Mus­tang was slowed and even­tu­ally stopped by sus­pen­sion break­ages; then, fol­low­ing a se­cond off-road ex­cur­sion, it was out.

Aus­tralian hus­band-and-wife duo Keith and Mary Anne Cal­li­nan then emerged as Clar­idge and Tan­nock’s main chal­lengers; their clas­sic Ford Es­cort RS1800 was orig­i­nally built for the Syd­ney to Lon­don Marathon Rally. Alas, just as they were look­ing at their best event fin­ish to date, they slipped back down the or­der when a bolt came out of the Es­cort’s wa­ter pump mount and the es­cap­ing wa­ter swamped the en­gine’s air cleaner.

Chief ben­e­fi­cia­ries were Nelson pair Bruce Far­ley and Glen Warner, and Carl Kirk-burn­nand and co-driver Scott Hay from Auck­land (both BMW 325i–mounted), who moved up to se­cond and third places, re­spec­tively, with an­other Nelson pair, Ash­ton Wood and Chris Lan­caster, fourth in Wood’s Ford Es­cort RS1800.

Wood bought the ex–ari Vata­nen / Blair Rob­son / Inky Tul­loch RS1800 from a mu­seum 15 years ago, and re­built it us­ing the orig­i­nal num­ber plate and me­chan­i­cals (gear­box, diff, sus­pen­sion, brakes, and so on) around a new shell. This year marked the car’s fourth Targa New Zealand event in its re­born state, and, bar get­ting a sur­face change wrong and run­ning off the road in one stage, Wood was hav­ing a ball.

Dunedin pair Martin Dip­pie and Jona Grant were ini­tially chal­lenged in In­ Mod­ern 2WD by Clark Proc­tor and Sue O’neill, and Ross and Carmel Gra­ham (Holden To­rana A9X).

How­ever, as those teams were struck down or slowed by me­chan­i­cal trou­ble, Steven Kirk-burn­nand and Mick Hay (BMW 318Ti Compact) took up the chal­lenge, even­tu­ally fin­ish­ing se­cond place in class and were an im­pres­sive fourth over­all, in front of the equally fast-fin­ish­ing BMW pair­ing of Perth-based Kiwi Robert Dar­ring­ton and co-driver David Abetz. Event first­timers Matt Todd and Dan Re­ichen­bach (BMW M3) from Gis­borne kept their best un­til last to take fourth place in class on the fi­nal day from mid-event stand­out pair Grant Aitken and Caro­line Cul­limore (Toy­ota 86) from Cromwell.

Fit­tingly, per­haps, the last word about this year’s marathon event comes from Barry Kirk-burn­nand — re­mem­ber­ing that he and Mike Lowe are the only driv­ers to have started and fin­ished all 21 Targa New Zealand events.

This year Barry and co-driver Dave O’car­roll fin­ished sev­enth in Me­tal­man Clas­sic 2WD, a class they have won be­fore in Barry’s fa­mil­iar BMW M3.

“We had a tough event this year,” Barry told the crowd at the fin­ish. “Lots of things went wrong with the car, but we stayed in it [the event] and we’re here, and that’s fan­tas­tic be­cause it is still bloody good fun!”

Targa New Zealand events are or­ga­nized with the sup­port of spon­sors Chi­cane Racewear, Eco­l­ight, Fed­eral Tyres, Global Se­cu­rity, Kids in Cars, Me­tal­man, NZ Clas­sic Car Mag­a­zine, Race Brakes, Racetech, Teamtalk, Trackit, and VTNZ.

Left: Peter Dud­son and Grant Shirley look­ing good in their Fiat 131R Below: (clock­wise from top left) The spirit of Targa — spectators to the res­cue The al­ways spec­tac­u­lar Clark Proc­tor was out early with a bro­ken in­put shaft Targa 2015 win­ners Glenn

Top: Class win­ners in The Square at Palmer­ston North (left to right) Jona Grant and Martin Dip­pie (In­ Mod­ern 2WD), Glenn Inkster and Spencer Winn (over­all and An­drew Simms All­com­ers 4WD), and Be­van Clar­idge and Camp­bell Tan­nock Above: Targa co

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