Targa Tasmania starts each year with a prologue stage. Why? To seed the field for the first days’s starting order (slowest goes first, but more of that later) and to add an extra day to a five day event. And to keep the sponsors happy.
BHP Tempco (who do something nearby) are one of the major sponsors of the event, so each year we drive from Launceston to George Town, park in neat rows, in race order, in the park in the middle of town, run one lap of the town stage, back to the park in our neat rows while the guys behind do their run, then drive back to Launceston and Parc Ferme.
All day for a 4.5 Km stage.
It’s the first competition stage of the event, a chance to remind yourself why you’re here and what you’re supposed to be doing (paying attention to the navigator and driving as well as you can).
It’s also a place to screw your event before it starts – run wide on a corner, slam into the gutter and BANG there goes a wheel, and if you do it properly, perhaps your whole event before it’s started.
Motor sport is like most other sporting competitions: to finish first, first you have to finish. And this is a tough event. Five days, over 500 Km of competition stages, 2,000 or so of transport kilometers. Limits on tyres and servicing. This is an endurance event and just finishing is an achievement.
So you don’t want to overbook a corner. We we’re about the 100th car through and there were already two cars out. Nerves, cold tyres & brakes and probably a little too much red mist in the driver’s eyes.
So I took it a little easier: maybe 7/10 ths of what we could have done, and we’ll start a little closer to the front of the field tomorrow. Which isn’t such a bad thing: better to be the car doing the passing that the car being passed.