Instead of a walk up the river on Saturday I followed the throaty gravelly exhaust burbles to the Turangi “CBD” carpark. This signalled another strange fishing report… The carpark was completely full for the TARGA lunch time stop over. They had travelled down from Rotorua this morning and were to go to Napier via “Gentle Annie”. The support crews, waiting for their team cars to arrive, filled the car park.
The most popular tent stand was the Tongariro School volunteers who were supplying lunch to all the crews. Their excitement with all the action and enthusiasm for cool racy cars was infectious. The place was buzzing.
So often we have claimed that a large part of Turangi’s appeal is that it is half way to everywhere. This Targa lunch stop is further proof of that. They could have chosen any other town but preferred Turangi. Such events are very important to Turangi. Indeed, so important that this had to be prioritised over a trout fishing report. Wow!
Out of curiosity, I asked some officials why Turangi was selected instead of a more prominent centre like Taupo? (Sorry Mayor David – I had to ask!) They replied it was always the most friendly place where there was ample parking without Council uniformed officials running around making sure they were complying with parking bylaws (or speeding?) where all sorts of mid-race repairs or mechanical crisis with cars could be sorted in an instant without fuss where the local pit crews can’t do enough to help out in every way… In small towns they get top VIP treatment. OK? So in return I promised them a big “write-up” on TRM’s racy fishing report…
I was checking it out to investigate if TRM could enter our airport taxi, BENY, next year. Just for fun. Many of the cars were older than BENY but had been completely rebuilt. (So relax SWMBO – we wouldn’t stand a chance against their machines. But it would be fun..) I would not fit into the team TRM racy overalls anyway although several inmates offered to volunteer to drive and my son would like to give it a go…
TRM’s regal airport taxi, BENY, would cringe with fear of being beaten. Worse, it could lose prestige if it was plastered with big race numbers and advertising all over it – despite Bentley’s original reputation from racing almost 100 years ago.
The requirements to enter a car appear to provide for the family car until you realise how the other finely tuned classic cars are more than just a passion but a full time commitment. TRM could not afford the tyres let alone allowing me to escape the laundry for so long.
So what is Targa? Following description from: Info@targa.co.nz
TARGA TIME TRIAL
The Targa Time Trial allows any road registered vehicle the opportunity to drive the same iconic roads as Targa Competition and Targa Tour. This is not a speed event, but rather an exercise in precise driving and time-keeping to maintain a set average speed through all closed stages
The Targa Competition is the passport to driving your competition car (or rent one of our competition vehicles) through gorgeous, technically challenging Kiwi roads, testing your driving capability and your service crews tenacity, through the most beautiful scenery of any Targa in the world.
The Targa Tour is for those who want to enjoy their non-competition vehicles on the same stunning roads. You will be able to drive your car in a way not offered anywhere else on the planet, with
world class instructors and world class (Tongariro School bbq?) food as well.
THE ULTIMATE ROAD RACE!
The annual calendar of events differs from year to year, however there is typically a weekend event in March and May and the main event in October.
Targa New Zealand, the planet’s Ultimate Road Race, is run like clockwork. You will either be touring or racing for the entire day, with just a few brief moments to catch you breath before the start of each exhilarating stage. Stage distances vary, with an average distance of 25km per stage. Your body, mind and car will be tested. For most, simply completing the Targa New Zealand – much like the original Targa Florio – is a success. Drivers rely heavily on their co-drivers/navigators. Navigators are either a good friend, a professional co-driver, a partner or can be sourced for you by Targa New Zealand.
After your final stage, you will tour to a local community car wash. From there you’ll typically head back to parc ferme. If there are repairs needed to your vehicle that your service crew wasn’t able to sort out during any of the service stops, now is your chance to address them. If your vehicle is good to go, and you’ve rotated your tires, checked your brakes, looked over your fluids and cleaned glass, etc. then you can start on your homework. There is not a formal planned evening event for most competition nights, so dinner is up to you. We recommend driver and co-driver go over the next days stages, and agree the language to use to describe the corners and approaches.
There is always someone who is willing to help, give advice and join you and your crew for dinner and a drink. Expect your day to be completely chocka, with no time for anything else other than to eat, breathe and sleep Targa New Zealand. After competing in Targa New Zealand, you won’t be the same person – it’s that great an event, so be warned! It’s an experience for you, your crew and your supporter’s – that’s what makes Targa New Zealand The Ultimate Road Race!!