Duo rev up for Targa Rally challenge
Richard Ramson's Ford Sierra will have more than enough grunt to tackle next week's Targa Rally.
The owner of a Palmerston North heavy equipment brokerage will be having his first bite at the full Targa tarmac rally after contesting parts of it in the previous two.
Outwardly the car is a 1984 2.8-litre Sierra XR4i, originally fuel-injected. Inwardly it has triple downdraft Weber carburettors.
"That's so you can chuck as much fuel down its throat as you want," Ramson chuckled.
Lift the bonnet and it might look like a Sierra V6 engine.
"It is a full race engine built by a car specialist in the Targa."
So Ramson and his navigator, squash man and Higgins Ltd engineer Adam Lyall, will be propelled forwards by 185 to 190 horsepower at the rear wheels.
Not that extreme speed is required in the Targa where the cars average about only 90kmh for the whole trip, mostly on twisty roads.
"You've just got to back yourself," Ramson said.
"The thing about the Targa is making it to the end."
Ramson also races the Sierra in the winter series at Manfeild, but has almost become too quick for the RS Cup class. Being nimble and agile, the car is better suited to rallying.
Palmerston North Targa veteran Geoff Boyden, not competing this year, and being part of the Classic Car Breakfast Club inspired Ramson to take rallying further. Ramson has always had cars; his garage houses another Sierra and a Mustang. He heads north to the start at Drury in south Auckland on Tuesday with his service crewmen, Jeff Braid and John Locke.
Ask Opiki farmer Bevan Claridge how he has prepared his 1992 V8 Commodore for the Targa and he replies: "I've given it a wash."
The giant Holden has also been straightened out since last year's crash. "We'll stick to the road this time," he said.
"I've had enough of getting myself on TV."
He and navigator Jason Easton are looking forward to the Taranaki leg being reinstated this year, including stages from Stratford to Whangamomona and on to Taumarunui.
They will also go over the Gentle Annie from Taihape to Napier for the first time.
Marton's Craig Pilet and pilot Lincoln Jones have entered again in the 1977 Holden Torana SS, and on the shorter Targa Tour will be Hunterville's Bruce Goodwin and his wife Margaret in their 1989 Chevrolet Corvette.
The more than 100 Targa cars arrive in The Square, Palmerston North, from 5pm Thursday (from Taupo after service stops at Waiouru, Taihape and Marton) where they will be parked overnight before leaving for Hawke's Bay the next morning via service stops at Kimbolton, Mangaweka and Taihape.
- © Fairfax NZ News