Some last minute hiccups meant my co-driver Colleen (president of FIAT Car Club Qld), myself (Karen, FIAT and Ferrari tifosa) along with the third old lady (my 1979 Ferrari 308GTS) arrived at the ferry wharf in Melbourne with some trepidation. However, the camaraderie of fellow Targa Tourists and indeed many Targa competitors during the time on the wharf meant we boarded the boat in high spirits and settled in for a relaxed dinner and wine before tucking into our bunks for a cosy night, lulled by the sea and ship engines.
An hour or so driving next morning got us to Launceston and straight into registration, scrutineering, drivers’ briefing and finally the welcome party where we made first contact with our Tour leaders and other Tourists, as well as catching up with some folk we knew who were competing. Once again we hit the sack wondering what the next day was really going to bring…
The first of a week of early starts saw us heading north west out of Launceston and quickly into our first, short special stage at Kayena.
What fun to be driving these special stages which we’ve heard of so often from mates who’ve competed in Targa, but never imagined we’d be driving as closed roads!
A bit over-excited we then managed to make a Wrong Direction and lost our group of cars, arriving at the beginning of the Sideling special stage after they’d left…what a disaster, we thought miserably. However all was not lost and the organisers arranged for us to park up beside the road while the competition cars went through and we then followed the recovery vehicles through to complete the stage, just ahead of the sweep vehicle. Any trepidation I’d had up until now was swept away by the joy of being able to drive my car in the manner for which she was built and by the end of the stage I was as happy as I think I’ve ever been! Colleen drove Elephant Pass special stage in the afternoon and we ended the day jubilant – a feeling which stuck with us for the rest of the event!
The rest of the week was a blur of transport and special stages of all kinds – tight and twisty hillclimbs, lovely sweeping curves, the fun Georgetown street sprint, some long dashes across high plains and finally some short technical stages around Hobart.
Every single kilometer was great fun; we lived up to our team name, Squadra Felice, by grinning and laughing for nearly the whole event!
The 308 performed flawlessly, only spitting out some coolant after I’d overfilled it, and we ripped off the shackle on our front tow strap on a hump in the road somewhere, easily replaced in Burnie.
We enjoyed the week so much we decided to drive the 308 home to Queensland from Melbourne, putting a souvenir Fiat we’d picked up in Hobart on the transporter instead.
Total trip – 4700km, including over 2000km of Tour!
I’ve been very fortunate to enjoy many wonderful motoring events in my life and I put Targa Tasmania Tour up there with the Goodwood Revival and having seen Alonso win for Ferrari at Monza! If you just love driving your classic car, the joy of driving these closed roads without fear of oncoming traffic and with like-minded drivers is unbeatable.
Sincere thanks to Zane, Chris and all the Targa Tour team who made this such a fabulous event.
Karen Ho & Colleen Berry