Tarmac: Targa Tasmania newsletter 2009-03-13

Veterans line up for 17th Targa Tasmania Australia's ultimate tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania, has become a regular part of life for veteran competitors Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory. The "60+" cousins have competed in every Targa Tasmania ...

Veterans line up for 17th Targa Tasmania

Australia's ultimate tarmac rally, Targa Tasmania, has become a regular part of life for veteran competitors Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory.

The "60+" cousins have competed in every Targa Tasmania except 1996, meaning that the 2009 version of the event will be their 17th.

It will also be the 17th Targa for their durable little 1955 Fiat Abarth 750 GT, a car that has also competed regularly in events such as Classic Adelaide, Rally Tasmania, Targa Wrest Point and many other circuit race and hillclimb events.

"Targa Tasmania is a unique motorsport event where you can drive in competition all day for five days. It is also a great challenge in an early classic vehicle," co-driver Vin Gregory says.

"We enter the event to compete and to enjoy it. We enjoy the challenge of building the car, preparing the car, maintaining the car during the event and the competition.

"Each day holds new challenges and fantastic stages, and getting up and competing for so many days on end is one of the great joys of the event."

The pair will make pacenotes for the rally, allowing them to drive the tight and twisty stages with not only more speed, but increased safety.

As well as their bond as cousins, Waldron and Gregory have competed in motorsport together for over 40 years, including numerous car projects. And they have a loyal band of friends from the Fiat Car Club who will help with servicing the little car over the duration of Targa.

The iconic Fiat has become something of a cult car in Australian tarmac rallying. As well recognised as Jim Richards and his Porsche 911, it never fails to attract a crowd of enthusiastic onlookers.

The Abarth 750 GT was imported into Australia in the mid-1950s as a new car, straight from the Abarth workshops by Wal Gillespie, a Melbourne Fiat dealer. It was raced extensively by Gillespie throughout the late 1950s.

The car holds numerous class records and victories in this period at circuits such as Albert Park and Fisherman's Bend, as well as at Templestowe and Rob Roy hillclimbs. It is fitted with all required safety equipment and is modified to meet "Limited Modified Specification" or C2 regulations.

Waldron and Gregory receive support from Pedders Suspension, Vance Motors and Bits of Italy for their Targa Tasmania assault, and naturally, are counting down the days until the 2009 rally begins.

Targa Tasmania 2009 begins with a prologue through the streets of Georgetown on Tuesday, April 28, with the action proper getting underway the next day.

After the initial period in Launceston, the event will have an overnight stop in Strahan on the west coast of the Apple Isle on the Saturday, before finishing in the capital, Hobart, on Sunday, May 3.

-credit: tt

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