Many of you have been following our lack of progress in Targa Tasmania on the blog. If you haven’t, then you need to know that after running 18th out of 265 and second in our class on the first stage of the day, we took a strategic decision: drop back to 106th, where we are perfectly poised to strike at any weakness in the first 110. Friends, you know this is right. All we need is the first 105 runners to drop out and we are on the podium.
And the strategy is working. My tip for the gold medal, the Tasmanian royalty team of uncle and nephew, Jason and John White, were fined 10 minutes and put in the naughty corner with their Dodge Viper Extreme for being late for lunch. In a series decided by seconds, 10 minutes is the equivalent of having to put the Viper away and get in the back seat of a 1990 BMW with two old blokes up front driving and navigating and screaming like babies when a corner approaches.
Anyway, Steve Glenney and Dennis Sims took over the lead in one of the three million Lotuses in the field but then found a tree that severely altered the front of their car. That gave Matt Close and Cameron Reeves the lead in their Porker GT3 RS. Then the Porker had a few electrical problems, allowing Tasmania’s own Paul Stokell and Kate Catford their turn in front.
Paul is a serious race driver. He has been racing Lotuses for 11 years and now resides in Pauline Hanson and Clive Palmer land, a long way away from the snow, torrential rain, mist and darkness that caused all the prangs on Thursday.
If you hate all this rally stuff, you’ll be pleased to know the action finishes today in Hobart, when what’s left of the fleet crosses the line to thunderous applause from the thousands of fans who have nothing better to do. Then it’s the Targa Tasmania Presentation Dinner and Targa Bar Afterparty and Targa Afterparty hangover.
Now, while we have been sharing the driving and navigating duties, can I report that the King of Kensi is the same person who had so little confidence in my navigational abilities that he got a black Texta and wrote a big R with an arrow pointing right on the windscreen. Anyway, I voted Mick in to drive through the hamlet of George Town on the first day.
This wonderful piece of Australian history (founded 1804, the year Michael was born) now has a thriving population of 6740, all of whom were on the streets waiting to be mown down by 265 ratbags driving weapons of mass fossil fuel destruction at around one million miles an hour, including a section in front of the council chambers where lucky drivers could see how fast they could go between concrete bollards with two millimetres to spare on either side.
Look, as much as I love Tassie, there is a very scary side to the apple/wine/scallop state. And I’m not talking Tasmanian devils/tigers or locals. I’m talking driving into a service station and finding they want to serve you as they did in Ampol stations in 1964.
Now, many of our younger readers wouldn’t realise that service stations used to give service. In other words, you would drive in and the attendants would actually fill your car, check the oil, tyres and water and bid you bon voyage.
So, Mick was pouring the juice into the tank when a person came out and tried to nick the bowser out of Mick’s hands. Naturally, I got the baseball bat out of the back and was about to show this person what the punishment was for heinous crimes against humanity when I realised he was there to help. Friends, we have to stamp out this sort of service otherwise innocent employees of large multinational energy companies will die in droves.
For non-rally readers, which are 99 per cent of you, in a tarmac rally you drive at 60km/h for up to 10,000km, looking for the closed roads where you drive at 300km/h on what organisers have selected as giving local Tasmanian drivers the most advantage.
These advantages include but are not limited to: carefully laid black ice traps, straight roads that have a hairpin with a kiddies school on the corner with the kiddies and their teachers all out on the fence looking in horror as you head straight for them and funny road signs like Daisy Bell, Egg and Bacon Bay, Flowerpot, Milkshake Hills, Nook, Nowhere Else, Squeaking Point, Doo Town and the small rural community of Bagdad, 40km north of Hobart, which was bombarded by confused web users in 2003, after the Iraqi invasion began. Whereas the besieged Iraqi city of Baghdad is home to about 5 million people, the population of Tassie’s nearly namesake is just 650.
For those of you who like BMWs but are of the bike persuasion, Miami-based custom workshop NMoto is building a limited number of the 1934 BMW R7, one of the most beautiful bikes of all times. Built only as a prototype and really never shown, the original would be worth close to $2 million but the NMoto version can be yours for under $100k.
A big call-out to reader Wayne Hunt, who made the first donation to our fundraising campaign for Tasmanian rural mental health organisation RAW. You can do the same by hitting this link on the Google: