Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Targa Tasmania: Temco - George Town Prologue

Targa Tasmania 2014

1976 Ferrari 308 GTB,
Driven by Robert Gambino
Targa is a tarmac rally and dates back to 1905 in Sicily, where the inaugural “Targa Florio” was unveiled.

The event took its name from organiser Vincenzo Florio and each winner was presented with a plate bearing the Florio family crest.

The Italian word for plate is “Targa”, thus, the name.

Targa Tasmania 2014 is run over 2000-plus km, through 38 stages and featuring some 144 cars competing in 10 classes including:
Regularity,  Early Classic Handicap,  Late Classic Handicap, Classic Outright,  Early Modern,
Modern,  Showroom 2WD, Showroom 4WD,  Showroom Sports and  Modern Muscle Car.

I finally made it

2013 Lotus Exige S
Driver: Martin Duursma, Navigator: Marc Sobbel
Well, I finally made it to the George Town stage of Targa Tasmania after missing out for the past two years.

I had watched parts of the rally on TV over the years from New South Wales and shortly after returning to Tasmania in 2012, was really looking forward to catching the local stage live.

My brother, from the south of the state, had the opportunity to pop up for a visit on the same day and my decision to miss the race was a no-brainer.

Fortunately I managed to catch the Longford stage, that year.

 1955 Fiat Abarth 750

A 1955 Fiat Abarth 750,
with driver Jack Waldron and co-driver, Vin Gregory
I had the opportunity to chat with Jack Waldron, driver of the 1955 Fiat Abarth - left - after the event and found both he and the little car impressive.

Jack, Vin and Fiat have done 21 Targas together, and show no sign of stopping, or slowing down!

Their 1955 Fiat Abarth 750 is one of the true classics in the field, and a very realistic chance of taking Early Classic Handicap honours this time out.

This little car shows the incredible diversity of vehicles competing in Targa Tasmania that make the race most watchable.

You can find full details of the cars and drivers along with the stages and placements in the Targa Tasmania website at: 

 So what happens when you get it wrong?

With over 2000 km of racing around some extremely tight circuits by highly competitive drivers, there are bound to be some dramas.

The photo, left, shows the remains of a Lamborghine driven by Jason White earlier in the year.

Targa official website talks about Jason White, saying:
'After a devastating week where he lost both his father and grandfather, reigning champion Jason White has bounced back to set the fastest time in the official Temco Prologue in George Town on the opening day of Targa Tasmania.

It’s been a tough year for White, whose $600,000 Lamborghini was burnt to the ground at Targa Wrest Point in February. But the local hope looked at home in his replacement Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, finishing the 4.8 kilometre stage 2.8 seconds quicker than the man considered his greatest rival for the modern crown, Steve Glenney. '

Temco - George Town Prologue 2014

The George Town stage of Targa Tasmania was run over an approximately 4.8 km course, through the near suburbs and the town centre, generating a great deal of local interest - though I did feel a little sorry for the main street traders due to an almost complete lock-down for the race.

At the conclusion of the stage the cars and drivers gathered in Regent Square allowing fans to get extremely close-up and personal.

Like so many people there, I was like a kid in a lolly shop who had just recieved the weekly pocket-money.

So many photos - So little space.

The town centre of George Town from York Cove 
The photo, left, features our Regent Square with around a half of the CBD's shops in the foreground, on York Cove, with the Tamar River top left.

The road running bottom to top on the right leads to the Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage.

 George Town, named for King George III, is one of the older European settlements in Australia and was first settled in 1804 by Colonel William Paterson two years before the nearby city of Launceston - 50 km to the South (around 3 km from the cottage).

A town in north-east Tasmania, on the eastern bank of the mouth of the Tamar River, George Town had a population of 6,906 (as at the 30 June 2011) and is the regional centre of the George Town Council local government area, well served with a regional hospital, supermarkets and infrastructure along with two pubs.

It became the oldest town in Australia as a result of all older towns becoming cities.

 Regent Square

Regent Square is the central public square in the grid-planned ‘George Town’ that Governor Lachlan Macquarie founded in 1811 to be the Headquarters for Northern Tasmania - a role it filled from 1819 until 1825.

Regent Square, George Town, Tasmania
 Such squares were a feature of the nine towns Macquarie founded in New South Wales and Van Diemen's Land in 1810 - 11. All were surveyed by James  Meehan, following Macquarie’s precise instructions on their layout.

Today only five of these squares are left and Regent Square and New Norfolk’s Arthur Square, in Tasmania, are two of the three squares to be intact within their original borders.

Sadly, the integrity of the square is currently under attack.

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