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Dermott’s perfect 10 at High Country

Brian and Linda Dermott will have reason to celebrate win, lose or draw at the 10th anniversary edition of Targa High Country from November 8.
Dermotts in action. Photo credit: Angryman Photography

Run around the gloriously twisting roads of their home town of Mansfield and nearby Mount Buller, the event has played a big part in the Dermott’s lives since the first running in 2010.

 

The British expats have the distinction of competing in all previous nine editions of High Country, the first eight were in a 1971 Holden Torana XU1.

 

Last year the husband and wife team reverted back to their widely travelled and highly successful 1962 Austin Healey 3000 Mk2 BT7. The Healey returned instant results as the Dermotts finished third in Classic Handicap.

 

Brian Dermott, 78, is a lifelong motorsport enthusiast and competitor who ran a successful advertising and marketing company which at one time held the account for GM Holden and Holden Special Vehicles from the late 1980’s.

 

“Motorsport has been my hobby all my life. My first event was at Goodwood in the UK in 1960 and I’ve been competing in racing and rallying on and off since,” Brian explained.

 

Dermott explains the stories behind the XU1 and beloved Healey.

 

“When we retired in 2005, we had a lot of success with the Healey at various Targa events.

 

“But we realized that we couldn’t afford to keep the Healey competitive so we found that in Mansfield where have owned a property since 1998, there were a lot of enthusiasts and mechanics who loved the Torana XU1, so I bought a racecar.

 

“I initially competed in Group N where we had quite a lot of success. 

 

“But the trouble with that is I got all the fun and if you know Lin (wife Linda) she is not a very good pit chick but is a very good navigator and that’s how we made the move really to Targa events with the Torana.

 

“So we found the Torana was not as competitive as the Healey because it was in the Classic handicap class.”

 

Linda says: “I’m very competitive and got fed up with the Torana not being competitive.

 

“So that’s when I suggested we get the Healey up and running again. It was all set up as a rally car. We hadn’t changed it.

 

“So the attraction was to go to Cairns for the first Targa Great Barrier Reef last year which we did. Then we did High Country and surprisingly we landed on the podium in third place in Classic.”

 

Brian retains fond memories of the maiden Targa event at Mount Buller.

 

“I remember the first Mount Buller in 2010, it was fantastic to drive those roads. Completely different to when you just drive on one side of the road only.

 

“You think you know the roads but when you’ve got the whole road suddenly corners you think you know are completely different.

 

Brian and Linda are looking forward to coaxing their Healey around the challenges of Mount Buller for a second time.

 

“It’s (Healey) an old friend, a member of the family. That car has been all over the Alps, we’ve taken it to Venice, we’ve been to Goodwood in it,” Brian said.

 

“We’ve done huge trips in Australia as well. It has competed at Bathurst three times in sports car events. It’s done hundreds of races. 

 

“There are a lot of things we could do to the Healey to make it quicker but we don’t do that because it would make it too modern and we like to keep it as a classic car.”

 

Brian added that the combined age of the crew and the car add up to a colossal figure.

 

“I’m 78 and Linda has just turned 70 and the Healey was built in 1961 so if you add those together our total age is over 200,” he laughed.

 

“But seriously we are no longer as competitive as we were. What we are trying to do is compete and we don’t go too hard.” 


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