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Great finish to 10th Anniversary Targa High Country

Jason White and his uncle John White tamed tricky conditions to surge to a fourth Outright win in the demanding Targa High Country.
Whites on the run off the mountain. Photo credit: Angryman Photography

Leading the three-day rally from start to finish, the Whites proved invincible throughout the snow and rain lashed event in Victoria’s alpine region to guide their powerful Dodge Viper to a two minute 23 second triumph.


In conditions more conducive to winter, Outright runner-up Paul Stokell and Kate Catford tried valiantly through the 270km journey in their 2014 Lotus Exige, but could not make any inroads into the long-nosed, rear-drive American machine.


Taking the final podium place in Outright was Eddie Maguire and Zak Brakey, who produced a solid performance in their Dodge Viper, highlighted by a stage win on Day 2, to finish three minutes 17 seconds behind the Whites.


The three also took the top placings in the Mt Buller GT2 class.


White, who won at Targa High Country in 2011, 2013 and 2018, continued to push the boundaries, squeezing the maximum out of the viper in extremely trying conditions.


Experienced circuit and rally racer Tony Quinn and Samantha Gray led from the outset to claim the Dutton Garage GT4 in their 2018 Nissan GTR by two minutes 17 seconds from Luke Anear and Alan Stephensen (Subaru WRX) with the Barrie Smith and Dale Moscatt combination (Audi TT RS) and Max Williams and Bruce Bush (Audi TTRS) tied for third another one minutes 23 seconds back.


The picture in Dutton Garage Early Modern was shaken up on the third last stage of the event, the 48.73km Jamieson run, when Guy and John Lilleyman’s 2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX stopped. The pair had been pushing the class leaders, Peter Nunn and Keith Johnstone (2001 Porsche 996 Turbo) across the opening two days.


However, there was no relief for Nunn who immediately faced a new challenge from Liam and Larry Howarth in their 1995 Nissan Skyline GTR. But the Tasmanian held the hard charging NSW pair off to take his Porsche to a 14 second class victory. Bill Stagoll and Glenys Stagoll finished third in their 2006 Mitsubishi Evo IX.


Mick Downey fought hard in Classic GT, taking the honours by three minutes 11 seconds from Roger Lomman/Annie Bainbridge (1971 Datsun 240Z), despite steering problems over the closing stages.


The complexion of Classic Handicap changed dramatically on the longest stage of the event, TS18 (Jamieson 48.73km), when leaders Graham Copeland and Josh Herbert stopped and dropped out of contention.


It left Nik Prieston and Stephanie Esterbauer to take over the lead and eventually take the class in their 1976 Fiat Abarth 131 Rallye.  The podium was completed by Philip Buggee and Paul Freame (1975 Fiat 131)  in second, six minutes 18 seconds behind, while locals Brian Dermott and Linda Dermott (1962 Austin Healey Mk2 BT7) completed the podium a further 26 seconds back.


The Mansfield Shire GT Sports Trophy was hotly contested across the three days with Mitchell and Darryl Ringuet tasting the spoils of victory in their 2017 Lotus Exige Sport 350. 


Tony Seymour and Sandra Seymour (2013 Lotus Exige Sport 350) moved up to second late in the event to finish just 28 seconds in arrears, one minute 39 seconds ahead of Anthony Grace and Craig Jones (2014 Subaru WRX STi) who had set the pace on the opening two days.


Targa Hall of Fame members Jack Waldron and Vin Gregory speared to a decisive victory in the Mansfield Shire Thoroughbred Trophy in their 1981 Mitsubishi Sigma, finishing 14 minutes 49 seconds clear of Robert Greig and Steve Harris (1971 Datsun 240Z), with John Stanton and Dennis Neagle (1981 Porsche 924 Turbo) third.


Peter and Tristan Taylor did a splendid job in the highly technical TSD Trophy section, claiming the prize after dropping just nine penalty points, well down on the 26 points that secured him victory in 2018.


Proving hot competition, Robert Bryden and Doc Lange (2017 Lotus 380 Cup) also did a super job to finish second on 14 points while Neville Emond and Stephen Jones (1996 Volvo 850 R Station Wagon ) were third on 44 points.




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Great finish to 10th Anniversary Targa High Country

Jason White and his uncle John White tamed tricky conditions to surge to a fourth Outright win in the demanding Targa High Country.
read more