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Neil Gibson

(49 posts)

09/30/2009 11:50PM

Main British Car:

Targa Tasmania 2011 in a TR7V8
Posted by: nadg63
Date: May 02, 2011 03:22AM

This year we decided to have a go at the biggest tarmac rally this side of the world, Targa Tasmania, in our Triumph TR7V8. Having done a brief event report fro another forum, I have just 'lifted' it and posted here for the folks on this forum, (just being lazy!) Anyway, here it is below:-

Ok, here’s a brief event report of how Targa Tasmania 2011 went for us in the Triumph TR7V8, this being the first time we had entered:-

Arrived at Devonport airport on the Sunday and straight away went and collected the car (we’d left the race car, trailer, tow car, kit etc in a shed in Tasmania after the Classic Tasmania rally). Through a friend, we had access to a hoist so took the car there for an oil change and a general going over; we also had to re-calibrate the ‘Stack’ dash fuel gauge which meant emptying the tank, re-setting the gauge then adding 60 litres of fuel 5L at a time to allow the gauge to log it – took bloody ages!

On the Monday we had arranged to have a new set of tyres fitted locally in the morning, Kumho V70A’s, in medium compound rather than the soft’s we ran at Classic Tas. After that it was off to Launceston for doc/scrutineering which went smoothly and without hassle. That was it, parked the car in Silverdome, (Parc Ferme), along with approx 339 others, then just had to wait for Prologue the next day …………………………

Ready to go.

Day 0

Prologue was held in the centre of George Town, and as we’d not recce’d it we took it steady as the time was only for start position on Day 1, (have seen people crash out here before, and heard a rumour that someone did again this year!?)

Position in Classic field - 62

Day 1

The weather was good, and at around 8.30am Targa was finally happening for real. Due to our slow Prologue time, we were in amongst cars not as fast as ours so did a fair bit of overtaking on special stages; couldn’t really re-seed ourselves in the field due to the time penalty system they were running. The first couple of stages went fine without incident, but then the car started to misbehave, the engine was not running that good, had a bit of a ‘miss’, the idle was pretty much non-existent and we were definitely down on power? We had a quick look at the lunch break but couldn’t see anything obvious so on we went, (did wonder if we had put some dodgy fuel in at a local servo earlier in the day and that was the cause of the problems!?) By the end of the day the car seemed to be running better so we decided it was a fuel issue and it was gradually clearing itself – will come back to this later!

Completed all the stages in trophy time with no major dramas EXCEPT for the final stage of the day! We were flying around a 7-8 left to find a big yellow Monaro driving TOWARDS us! First I knew of it, (as reading the notes), was when I heard the driver over the intercom say “Oh F__K!” and as I looked up a flash of yellow went by my side of the car !?!? Luckily there was no collision so we carried on to the end of the day, but I did report the car to the CRO’s and had video footage to back my claim – the y were not happy with the other driver and were definitely going to seek him out! (Footnote: Later I asked the driver what he was doing and he said he’d spun out and was trying to get to the hard shoulder, as he was an American I just think he forgot which side of the road he was meant to be on! Anyway he said his wife was screaming at him when she saw us coming off the corner and that she’d had enough. Believe they dropped out of the Comp category and into the ‘Tour’ section instead as never saw them again.

Position at end of day - 51

Day 2

Believing that the engine/power problem had improved as the previous day went by we thought we were in for a better day – wrong! Almost straight away it started playing up again, but even though we looked we still could not find why!? Again got through all the stages OK but just as we were heading to the lunch stop the temp gauge was looking a bit on the high side, but then it settled down again. After the 15min lunch break we were off to start the next stage when again the temp went up, pulled over and found the thermo fan motor had packed it in, as it was the motor itself we couldn’t even short it to make it run full time – bit of a nuisance. We found that as long as the car was moving, the temp was fine, just couldn’t let it stand still running, so we’d cruise up to the start of stage, have a word with the stage commander explaining the situation and they’d just call us in at our time and at the 20 sec mark start the car then go on time. That’s how we got through the day.

Cooling off at lunch.

In the meantime, we’d contacted our ‘gopher’ and had him go shopping in Launceston for a new thermo fan. That evening, whilst laying under the car fitting this, we also discovered the reason for the bad engine performance, the vacuum advance/retard unit had become detached from the distributer and was hiding down in the bottom of the engine bay. Found a couple of screws we could ‘make’ fit and rang the guys back in Adelaide for a live step by step guide as to what to do. Once all back together took the car for a quick test and all seemed to be fine again.

Position at end of day – 33

Day 3

This was by far our best day as we had no problems at all – oh joy! The car was running really well, felt like we’d gained 100bhp, so we were able to set some decent times on the stages and move up the field. Apart from the already mentioned dice with Charlie/Mary, (XE351 on here), on Mt Roland, about the only thing I remember is hitting a 10 left over crest at about 190kmh and feeling the car go light and starting to rotate at the back – not the best sensation! Anyway, once back on the tarmac it gripped and carried on as if nothing had happened – phew! (do remember the driver saying that maybe he’ll slow down a bit or those in future though ……………………… ! It’s mainly due to the new engine we put in, we get to the next corner a lot faster now, in fact I’ve had to speed up my note reading to keep up, a 100 straight is more like our old 50 straight now!)

In action, (thanks Phil)

Position at end of day – 23

Day 4

The day started off good, but had a bit of a drama for the last 3 stages of the day. Had just started Mt Black when there was a ‘clunk’ at the back and the car started handling badly; got through the stage, had a look and found the Watts link had come adrift. As we had no tools in the car we decided to take it easy through the final two stages and fix it at service: luckily for us it chucked it down with rain for these stages so we still made time quite easily and the cars behind us didn’t gain much on us. As I said, it was raining really hard and quite a few cars went off, especially in Rosebury. As planned, fixed the Watts link at service so all was ready for the final day.

Position at end of day – 21

Day 5

The final day, we were almost there, but again the car tried to stuff us up once again. We had only just started the first stage of the day when again there was a loud ‘clunk’ from the rear of the car, but this time it sounded worse. Got through the stage, had a look and found the passenger side shock absorber had broken its mount off at the axle – damn! Had to drive the next stage in the same state but at the end pulled over and borrowed a service crew to remove the shock as it was hitting brake lines etc. Only trouble was that as soon as the car was lowered off the jack the guard dropped straight down on to the tyre, not good. They believed that around the next bend was a service van with a welder on board, so a block of wood was jammed in-between the axle and chassis and off we limped. When we got the though, the guy with the welder had already gone, double damn! Another service crew wandered over to offer help and saved the day with a rubber wheel chock and a load of cable ties – basically we jammed the chock in between the axle and chassis and then wrapped it with cable ties to keep it there. And that is how we drove for the rest of the day, one shock absorber and a wheel chock and cable ties – still cannot believe we got to the end, but have the finishers medallion to prove we did! Again, luckily for us, it was a wet day so we did not have to push that hard to make times and as the next car in our class was 7mins back they couldn’t catch us neither. With all this drama going on, we only dropped one position for the day.

Wheel Chock!

Position at end of day - 22 We got our trophy plates and won our class – happy with that [:D] [8D]

Things I’ve learnt from the experience:- Doing the TT is very tiring, mentally and physically. Tasmanian roads are as rough as guts, not surprised cars break! The roads are inconsistently VERY slippery in places when they get wet, Tasmania is the road-kill capital of the world! If doing it again, definitely need a more experienced mechanic in the service crew and a better service regime. You meet great people and make heaps of new friends. It’s a hoot! [:D]

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