Targa back in the North West for 2019 opener

Friday 15 February, 2019
The CAMS Australian Targa Championship as Targa North West kicks off this weekend.

The CAMS Australian Targa Championship is back for its second year after an incredible inaugural season of drama as Targa North West kicks off this weekend.

All the key players in last year’s title fight will be making their grand return to the popular championship with Modern class champion Paul Stokell leading the 50-car field. 

Stokell will once again be behind the wheel of his trusty 2014 Lotus Exige, however this time, CAMS Australian Rally Championship (ARC) co-driver Kate Catford will be replacing the Queenslander’s previous partner, another ARC navigator in Malcolm Read. 

The pair will be under immense pressure to start the season strong, especially with Tasmanian locals Jason and John White breathing down their necks, the pair looking to make redemption for a disappointing result in last year’s corresponding round.

After suffering an early exit at last year’s event, the Whites managed to claim victory in the next three rounds, however their DNF at Targa North West ended up costing them the title.

An outright and GT2 class victory here in Targa North West would make it four consecutive Targa victories, further enhancing the 2016 Dodge Viper pilots’ reputation as legends within the sport. 

While Stokell and Catford will be looking to prevent a White win, there will be a host of other crews looking for glory in the GT2 ranks, including Peter Nunn and Keith Johnstone, Michael Pritchard and Adam Butler, while John Ireland and Janet Binns are also in with a chance. 

Headlining the Subaru dominated GT4 class will be Crichton Lewis who is partnered up with 2018 ARC runner-up and reigning Targa North West champion Steve Glenney.

The 2018 WRX STI drivers are heavy favourites to take out the class, however Ralph and Malcolm Norton will be looking to cause an upset with their the 2008 STI Hatch.

In the Early Modern class, Jon Mitchell and Anthony Carr will be the ones to beat in 2019 as their 2006 Subaru S204 will be facing pressure from some  Porsche Caymans crews.

Paul and Kathy Henry will do battle with fellow Caymans drivers Kingsley Wallman and Ellen Witte, while fans should keep an eye on the class dark horse, 2007 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 drivers Jordan and Debbie Bridge. 

Another big class which will catch the attention of spectators will be the GT Sports Trophy, which will see the battle of the Lotus Exige take centre stage. 

Driving the older 2013 Exige will be Tony and Sandra Seymour, while Mitchell and Darryl Ringuet will be looking to start this year’s campaign with a win inside their 2017 Exige Sport 350. 

Other classes will see 1979 Holden Commodore VB pilots Mick Downey and Jarrod Van Den Akker headline the Classic GT class, while Peter and Tristan Taylor will be looking to continue their stronghold over the TSD Trophy. 

Targa North West kicks off on Saturday 16 February at Burnie with drivers to compete on six stages before day two will see the convey take on the picturesque Hellyer Gorge.


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