Paul Stokell and Kate Catford have won the 2019 CAMS Australian Targa Championship after a tough Targa High Country, in which they finished in second place behind Jason and John White.
In extremely difficult conditions consisting of heavy snow on Mount Buller and thick fog in the surrounding areas, the Whites led the competition from start to finish and finished two and half minutes faster than the runner-ups
Starting off with a delayed start on Friday due to the opening stages being covered in snow, the Whites went on to win 13 of the next 15 stages across the first two days before comfortably sealing the victory with two stage wins on the final day.
However, only needing to finish the event to take out the outright championship for the second time in as many years, a courageous Stokell and Catford piled on the pressure to come away with three stage wins of their own – one on each day.
“It was an awesome result over the weekend and going back to back in the championship was something I was hoping for,” Stokell said.
“But at the end of the day, I was just focused on going round by round and we managed to get some consistent results and end with the championship.
“We are really stoked. Three runner-up finishes and a Targa Tasmania victory made it a really good season. To go back-to back as well was really special. The car was mint, Kate and I have gelled as well. Hopefully we can continue in the future.
“Last year we got the national championship and Targa Tasmania this year and they were the two things I wanted to tick off the bucket list in my racing career which I had have done now so I am really happy.”
Rounding out the podium behind the 2019 champions were Eddie Maguire and Zak Brakey, with the duo highly consistent throughout the weekend, claiming a stage win of their own during the second day of action.
For the outright leaders, their third CAMS Australian Targa Australia Championship event victory for the year was the toughest of the lot and Jason White was thrilled to come away with the win, despite not taking out the title.
“It’s really great, it’s what we aspire to do. We had a failure in Targa Tasmania which stopped us there, but we won here which is awesome,” White said.
“John and I are working awesome in the car together and the preparation on the car is obviously showing through in the setup. WE have a great team of people around us to help us.
“It’s good to see it all come together. It’s through sheer hard work but it’s all worth it and it’s what we do.”
In the other competitions, Mick Downey fought hard to win the Classic GT class by three and half minutes over Roger Lomman and Annie Bainbridge, while Tony Quinn and Samantha Gray led from the outset to claim Dutton Garage GT4 honours over CAMS Australian Rally Championship regular Luke Anear.