Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Drive like you stole it ....

Before I tell how well we did today, if you're looking for a cozy pub, with good food and great atmosphere, give the Royal Oak in Launceston a try. Corner of Tamar & Brisbane, and an excellent front bar. Cold beer, and no pokies or other distractions.

So, today was Day 1. A little odd that we've been here since Saturday morning and Wednesday was the first day.

Targa Tasmania make the first two days "easy". Maybe a better way to describe it would be "not crazy hard".

The Base & Trophy times (see below) are set for reasonable speeds - the idea is to ease crews into the first couple of days so nobody drives off the road trying to make a target time before they've warmed up and gotten comfortable in their cars.

And that's exactly what we did - got settled into the car, and got used to each other's company again.

Base time is sort of "scratch" or "par" but you don't score any points for going faster, only lose them for going slower. So if Base time is 5:00 there isn't much point in going through at Warp Factor 5 and doing the stage in 4:00. By the same token, you don't want to be any slower than 5:00 if you can avoid it.

We have to be under Trophy time to get a Targa Trophy (which we're trying to get).

Base time is set for the entire field, Trophy times vary by Category.

Both get quicker over the course of the week. The times shorten and the average speeds go up. By the end of the week, Base time is set at something like a 130kph average. Doesn't sound that fast if you're cruising down the freeway. Now try it over a 25k winding goat track of the country road, up and down a mountain - and throw in a couple of almost U turns into side roads to make it a little more enjoyable. This is serious stuff.

We 'cleaned' the first three stages - in other words, under Base time. And we comfortably hit Trophy time on all nine stages.

There were a few messy corners, along with a couple of gear changes that I'm not all that proud of, and I reckon Scott isn't claiming a 100% success rate with his calls.

But overall, a great day and we drove it like we'd stolen it.

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