V-Sport’s Barrie and Jan Smith have finished in fourth position in the Mt. Buller 4WD Showroom class at Targa High Country over the weekend. Taking place on the scenic mountain roads surrounding Victoria’s Mt. Buller, the event saw competitors contest 22 stages across three days of competition, in the biggest Targa High Country to date.
Targa High Country has grown since it’s inception in 2010, this year seeing the expansion of the event from two competitive days, to three. Day 1 took drivers across four new stages to the township of Euroa, with the unfamiliar route posing a new challenge to all.
“The new roads were very fast on Friday, but also had quite a rough surface which was unexpected by some. We finished in fourth, with three seconds to third and fifth,” said Barrie.
On Saturday, competitors returned to familiar stages, offering fast flowing roads out toward Whitfield. Third place extended their gap over Barrie, as Barrie did to their opponent sitting behind them in fifth.
“The Saturday stages are familiar to us, and we were looking forward to getting back on the normal roads. We pushed harder, as did everyone else. We couldn’t hold the pace of the front runners, but we were happy to hold fourth place,” said Barrie.
The final day of competition gave drivers another set of familiar roads, this time taking teams to the picturesque Lake Eildon, before a final run up the popular mountain hill climb road, finsihing atop Mt Buller.
“Sunday is always the hardest on drivers and cars, and we were on the brakes a lot. Crossing the line, we were both exhausted but satisfied with our result,” said Barrie.
“This rally we have pushed harder than we have pushed before, and more consistently. Fourth place is where we was expecting to come, though hoping for a little better.”
“Targa Tassie started somewhat as a mobile motor show. A casual event, you didn’t even need a roll cage, simply a three point harness and away you go. Tarmac rallies like Targa are highly competitive now, and the caliber of cars entering is increasing every event,” said Barrie.
Barrie and Jan have enjoyed the past four years behind the wheel of the V-Sport Evo X, but are looking forward to a new project.
“We’re building an Audi TTRS and hope to be in that come Hellyer Gorge,” said Barrie.
The next round of Targa Australia will see Barrie and Jan head to Tasmania for the Targa Hellyer Gorge, formerly, Targa Wrest Point, taking place on the 6th – 7th February, 2015.
For further information on Targa Australia, please click here.