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Richards rallies round in the Shannon Classic

While Jim Richards has stepped away from full-on competition on the tarmac, the eight-time Targa Tasmania winner will be involved in this year's 28th edition of the iconic event commencing on Monday April 29.

The owner of the car to be driven by Jim Richards in the Shannons Classic Rallye has had it wrapped in the same livery as Richards' 2018 tarmac rally car.

Richards has agreed to drive a 1978 Porsche 911 for the first three days of the six-day event in the Shannons Classic Rallye which is a non-competitive tour.

The car is owned by Phil Ross who is the Shannons Development Manager in Queensland and he has gone to a great deal of trouble to have the car wrapped in exactly the same livery as Richards' 2018 tarmac rally car.

Speaking this week from his home in Melbourne Richards said he was looking forward to the opportunity to drive over Tasmania's great roads at a more leisurely pace in an older car.

"Targa Tasmania has been a major part of my career for the last 26 years and this will be a nice, relaxing way to still be part of it," the seven-times Bathurst 1000 winner said.

The purpose of the rallye is to provide an opportunity for owners of classic cars to drive over the closed-road Targa stages prior to the balance of the field, safe in the knowledge that they can use all the road.

There are some strict criteria to be met, not the least of which is that all speed limits must be observed and all cars must be more than 30 years old.

There will be a lead car driven by an experienced driver familiar with the event to ensure that there are some safety measures in place, and equally there will be a tail-end car to make sure that nobody drops back so they can go faster.

The 30 entries will be able to drive over 20 of the 32 Targa stages as well as have the opportunity to visit some places of interest and attend the presentation dinner at the end of the event in Hobart.

There are 11 entries from Queensland, seven from Victoria, five each from New South Wales and Tasmania and one from the ACT.

The eclectic group of cars include Ford Mustang and Falcon XR GT, Torana SLR 5000, Porsche 911 and 944, MG A and B, Triumph TR3a, E Type Jaguar, Pontiac GTO and BMW 2800 CS and M635CSi.

Rod Belbin, who is Phil Ross's equivalent in Tasmania, has invited me to share his pristine 1980 Datsun 280ZX on the Tuesday and Wednesday which I am looking very forward to.

Maybe at some point I may have to take over Phil's seat so the old firm can get back together for old time's sake. 

Just a thought.

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As the time-honoured tarmac rally sweeps the length and breadth of the state, we have compiled an exhaustive Spectator’s Guide that covers everything you need to know to help you safely enjoy the event.

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As announced last month, Reeves will take the wheel of a production-based i30 N hatch with sister Rhianon Gelsomino calling the pace notes.

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Bray suffered a rare reliability issue in his 1975 Holden Torana in the dying kilometres of Targa High Country last November.
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