GTi Racing Girls update – Targa South
Dear Team GTi family
Killarnee Targa South West has come and gone and what an event it was, this May 2012.
Many of you were either present or had family and or friends participating and will know what a magnificent event the organisers put on in 2012.
The GTi Girls were thrilled to run alongside their new Team Green Colleagues at Thompson Racing and benefited greatly from the team’s collective wisdom and generous support. Mitch and Paul and all the boyz made the girls feel very welcome.
It is indeed wonderful to work with people who share our values – family, friends, racing – and who work as hard as we do to promote the sport, the sponsors and the good times that we are all fortunate to enjoy in this country.
Likewise, the GTi Boyz were pleased to show off the Perana in her first Targa hit out. With a late change in the co-driver’s seat (Jurgen, an experienced motorsport competition driver and instructor agreed to jump in next to Simon given Murray Armenti’s unexpected absence during the weekend) the boyz were a new team in a relatively untested car – and they delivered the goods. The car was a standout with the crowds decked out in traditional Ford racing colours and the deep blue of her Volvo Penta decals, and apart from one or two not-unexpected teething problems, ran beautifully all weekend.
Both the boyz and the girls missed a stage or two due to mechanical problems, but the team’s service crew swung into action during the event and managed to work miracles – particularly in the case of the girls’ car – working all night on Saturday to make sure they could run on Sunday. Dropping a gear box out of an evo to replace a clutch is not a preferred option mid event, but our boyz did it and did it well. This is why we run in Targa South West… to iron out the difficulties thereby allowing us to have a problem-free run in the bigger event – Targa West. The boyz’ Perana suffered very little, but we think it will need a paint touch up job after the liaison took us over dirt roads! Thank goodness for our car wrap courtesy of Stewie Liddle and the boyz at SignHere Signs. It does a great job protecting the car while promoting our sponsors and making us look pretty!
But I get ahead of myself…
You can check out our Facebook page GTi Racing Girls on Facebook or read on…….
On Thursday last week, Sharon and the GTi Boyz towed the cars to Pemberton in convoy with Team Green – albeit at some distance! – and by the time I arrived on late Friday afternoon Sharon had already done a week’s work entertaining the family of the young lady whose husband had successfully bid on behalf of his wife for our co-driver’s seat in the Pump Hill Charity Runs on Friday afternoon.
A new concept, the Friday afternoon charity runs in support of the Pemberton Aged Homes were by all accounts a great success. For $20 per run, each team could run a person up the hill – and was able to buy a maximum of four runs.
With the permission of the event organisers, we auctioned our co-driver’s seat and the successful bid was $500. (Lesley from Stories My Nana Tells had indicated that she was up for a run… we will just have to get you in car at Targa speed testing again Lesley. Looking forward to seeing you at Barbagallo!)
With typical generosity, Chris Caruso from Wyldcat Racing, Wayne Turner from Frank’s Classic Garage, Keenan Haigh from Team Green and Simon Gunson from GTi Racing offered up their co-driver’s seats and we raised a total of $1 000 for the charity. Again with the permission of the organisers, $500 went to the Pemberton Aged Homes (the event raised a little over $4000) and $500 went to the Killarnee charity of choice – Variety, the children’s charity.
Friday night was spent with the service crew. Volunteers all (we cover their expenses) we work very hard to make sure our service crew has a good time at these events.
In addition to supporting the GTi cars, our service crew supported (and our driving crews mentored) two rookie crews in the Staggol and Gascoine evos. Both cars delivered the goods and these rookie drivers will be at Targa West this year. The bug has bitten!
Saturday morning was an early start. While the service crew put the race yokies (supplied by sponsor Wheels World) on the car. Helen the more experienced GTi co-driver, walked the rookies threw the start of rally procedures and the race crews then jumped in their cars and lined up for the runs out to Big Brook Dam. Our first run proved we were a bit rusty (I had forgotten how quickly Sharon needs the calls!), but the time was good and we were confident in our start.
However, for the run back down the hill, we struggled to get the car to the line and to everyone’s surprise literally bunny hopped her over the start. Once over the line and on stage, we managed to get the car back down to the finish line in a quite respectable time only to discover that first gear was not really working out all that well for us. We limped back to service park as per the program and the boyz took one look at the car, and a second and a third, and eventually told us we needed a new clutch. Sharon launches like we still have the 2.3 stroker on board – hard and fast – and the poor little 2.0 stock standard evo engine required for Targa events doesn’t have the torque to cope. The boyz rang Perth and organised for a clutch to be ferried down. Sharon and I walked over to the BP garage and organised permission to access the hoist.
Deciding we could not do any more damage than already done we opted not to run the difficult and tree-lined stages at Big Brook again (we instead stood on the side of the road waving off our fellow Team Green and GTi Racing team mates and giving them all the thumbs up), and following a quick interview with the TV crews documenting the rally, we set out to rejoin the race on the open and flowing Gloucester stages. Video of part of the Gloucester stage We gentled the car over the start line and completed the four runs out at Gloucester in good time (bettering our last year times by some five and seven seconds, which is testament to our improvement as a team because last year we ran with a clutch in full working order and the 2.3 stroker engine, and this year we had neither in the car!) and then headed into Manjimup to run one town stage and two of the Kurandra stages before the clutch insisted we give her a rest. We parked up the car to work the crowds and do a bit of PR, and to watch the rest of the Team Green and GTi cars finish the afternoon runs.
We delivered the car back to service crew at 6.00 pm on Saturday and the boyz, having done all the checks on the other three cars, set about putting her up on the hoist and remedying our problem. Sharon and I went to the official dinner while the boyz worked on through the night. We stood at the door shaking our Variety tins and the generosity of all crews was outstanding. We went back to the garage after the dinner and a TV crew showed up at 10.00 pm to film the boyz still working on the car and to interview our chief problem solver – Simon! I think our chief mechanic, Paul, reckons TV interviews are above and beyond the call of duty!
During all this we were given nothing but support and encouragement by our team. The Team Green mechanics were all happy to assist wherever and whenever possible and through it all the driving crews kept our spirits high as we waited to see the end result of the service crew’s handiwork.
Sunday morning dawned and the 7.00 arrival in service park was a very civilised start time in comparison with the 5.00 am starts that we do for Targa West. Helen took the evo out to Pump Hill and in the mist did some very cautious gear changing, working her way up and down the gears (keeping a close eye out for anyone on the road behind) in order to work some heat into the clutch. Competition clutches require about 500 kms of gentle running in and we were about to run in our new clutch on stage! The boyz readied the rest of the cars and by 9.30 we had the cars parked up in start order for the first of the Pemberton runs. The GTi Boyz were again interviewed by the documentary makers. The Perana really was a hit all weekend!
With the boyz running all stages, the girls opted to run three out of the four Pemberton stages and all three of the Pump Hill stages in good time – again bettering our times on last year – despite having to launch very gently. We opted not to run the last Pemberton stage, but to go to the back of the field and do a slow thank you run with our General Lee airhorn blasting. Miller and Marsland from Team Green joined us on the run. We drove at street legal pace and were able to speak / yell our thanks to the crowds and the officials alike. The people of Pemberton do a remarkable job hosting the event and it was good to be able to thank them properly.
Over the course of the three days, we spent all our time out of the car handing out posters and autographing tee shirts and hats and even people! Our service park had a constant flow of visitors, with interested parties peering under the Perana bonnet and admiring the car; and all the little and not-so-little girls wanted to get into the evo and have their picture taken. (Note to self, Helen: secure the time card or someone will souvenir it – again!) In the words of one of the interested parties, “that Perana is a work of art”. Even the most hard-bitten of the scrutineers were impressed by the quality of the build, and as the wife of the co-driver, I was impressed, because the car came home with flying colours – setting times equal to or better than evo 10s and even matching the times of the Moir’s multiple Targa podium finishing classic car – and in one piece with our boyz intact. Everything augers well for GTi Racing, barring unforeseen incidents, to do well at Targa West this year.
Normally we would provide exact results, but TSW is a unique event in that it provides times to individual teams but does not publish them in order to encourage drivers to take it easy and get some much-needed seat time, and, in particular, encourage rookie teams to give their first Targa a go. However, the unofficial comparisons that all teams do (we are all human!) indicate that our boyz were on the money right from the get go and that the girls are producing times much better than they were at this time last year.
We now have 78 days and counting down to prepare for Targa West; and it is going to be a full-time job for both teams.
Check out the excellent Press Release just prior to the event GTi Racing Girls Media Release
Stories My Nana Tells is proud to be a continuing sponsor of GTi Racing Girls team and to share the excitement of Targa racing with them. What Do We Do? We entertain, engage and educate children, through storytelling! Stories My Nana Tells has a Special Offer for Fans Of GTi Racing Girls