Targa Tasmania–Day 4

The last day of our Targa adventure started even earlier than before. We needed to be up super early to pack, checkout, have breakfast and then head to the first stage of the day which was about 40 minutes away.

I gotta say, that by this stage I was beginning to run out of steam. A full day’s driving, followed by dinner and early morning starts where not really providing the ability to be as fresh as these Tasmanian mornings.

None the less, with our luggage stashed in the support van, we completed our final briefing and breathalyser before heading onto the suburban streets for the drive to the first stage, Cethana.



During our trek we were greeted with some early morning fog that made the experience somewhat eerie as you can see from the above shots. Ferrari’s in the mist if you like.

Cethana, is quite a long stage by Targa standards at 40kms.

Our next stage, Castra, about 20 minutes away but would start off quite differently than all our other stages. Why? Well, we were greeted by about 5 kilometres of loose gravel as we climbed up the mountain.

There is nothing worse than the sound of stones constantly peppering a Ferrari as you will see when you watch the above video. Cringe-worthy to say the least.

At one point a stone appears to have gotten lodged in the brake calliper, so that during braking there was an awful grinding sound, which we didn’t appreciate exactly what it was at first. Luckily, the stone came loose not long after and there was no damage to the car and especially not to the carbon ceramic disks!

We continued along and completed the stage without further incident.

Gunns Plains was our next stage about 10 minutes away. This was a stage of about 15 kilometres.


From there it was only 5 minutes to probably the best stage of the day, Riana.


Riana is quite long at 36 kilometres and allows you to really get up some speed.


It has some long straights, sweeping bends and some tight turns that were all filled with spectators.

The above video gives you an idea of what being in the passenger’s seat was like. I gotta admit that I really like the sound track that accompanies these videos. Nothing beats the sound of a screaming 458 powerplant.

Riana was to be our last Targa stage. We headed to Burnie to regroup and grab some refreshments. Unfortunately, we also probably over whelmed the local coffee shop with a sudden rush of orders from a caravan of cars and caffeine deprived occupants.

We headed off to our next stop which was to be the car collection of Chas Kelly.


We parked up in the entrance way and had a tour of the cars he has on display there including an Ferrari F40 that Chas actually complete in Targa with (and crashed! Ouch).


Chas then took us to his ‘shed’ to see the remainder of his collection.


As you can see from the pictures, the collection in here is AMAZING! This is what I call a REAL man cave.


It was clear that it was going to be tough to drag everyone away from the collection but the time did eventually come that we needed to head off to our afternoon stop.

Not far away was a local winery where we spent the rest of the afternoon sharing all the experiences we’d enjoyed over the last few days. Many were already starting to plan their return next year. Here I managed to score the prized ‘chunder’ award for being the closest to actually throwing up (I will however point that I didn’t actually, but I did go close). My prize? A set of plastic raincoats ready for the next time on Targa. Other prizes were also awarded to worthy participants.

As the sun began to set, we headed back to the Devonport ferry terminal for the return trip to the mainland. As we were ending our journey before the end of the Targa proper, the ferry was much less crowded and luckily the weather was much friendly. This meant, that we could at least get some sleep without the massive swells we experienced on the journey over.

We sat around the upper deck and enjoyed some finger food and drinks before calling it a night and heading back to the cabins.

Before we knew it, were had arrived back in Melbourne and rolled onto the mainland to commence our journey home. We rendezvoused for the last time before going our own ways back home. Some headed to the airport, others the open road. I returned with the land convoy back up the Hume Highway for the long drive back, which was completed without incident.

We were all tired and keen to get home but glad we had come to Targa Tasmania.


So now it’s all done and dusted, and I’ve had a while to reflect, what are my thoughts? It was an amazing experience on the road as much as with a group of fellow car enthusiasts. Our accommodation was brilliant, the roads and scenery were amazing and the laughs we had were priceless.

Although I didn’t bring a car I did get to drive a number of Ferrari’s during the trip, which is always special. I will readily admit that I don’t like being a passenger in a car at any time but probably more so at speed. There was never any doubt about my driver’s or the car’s ability but I’d rather be behind the wheel rather than in the passenger’s seat I will happily admit.

Would I come back? If I did, I certainly wouldn’t bring the F355. Why? Being a manual car, without lots of driver aids (like say traction control), it would certainly be hard work driving and I am the first to admit that I don’t have the ability or experience to drive the roads we were on at the speed we were going in my car. However, if I was driving a 458, it would be a different story.

Probably the biggest takeaway for me was simply the added respect I gained for the 458. It eat up every stage with ease and never missed a beat. It is amazingly quick but it’s control, poise and braking ability is something you simply don’t appreciate until you experience it for yourself.

As much fun as the driving was I feel that the real highlight of the event was simply being part of a group of enthusiastic car owners who were part of the special experience that is Targa Tasmania. This is such a unique event, so well supported by the locals and enjoyed by everyone I hope it continues well into the future.

There we go, Targa Tasmania done and dusted in a Ferrari.

Targa Tasmania–Day 3


Another crisp but clear Tasmanian morning greeted us on day 3 of Targa. We were up even earlier today for another full day of stages. Although everyone was keen for the off again, these early starts were not what many had in mind when they signed up, was a common conversation point as people shivered in the early dawn. However, everyone was keen for another full day of driving as we received our daily briefing and mounted up for the day.


Our first stage, The Sideling was about a 40 minute drive from the Country Club. The Sideling is a 14 km stage.


We then headed to Moorina about 50 minutes away. Moorina is stage that is all up hill. It was hill climb time and the 458 didn’t disappoint.

Only 3 minutes away was the Wedlborough Pass a 14 km stage which included a long descent down the mountain, which was not something we had really seen as yet. This did take some adjustment and braking as we wound down the mountain.


Next up, Pyengana, only a few minutes away.


From here we headed to St Helens for the lunch break. We parked up on a local football field and headed off to enjoy some refreshments.


As I have said previously, it is truly amazing the support this event enjoys with locals, none more so than here at St Helens. While waiting for the group in front of us to leave we were blown away with the number of locals who had come to look at the cars. They were all really keen to learn more about us and the cars. It was truly gratifying to see how enthusiastic they were about Targa going through their neck of the woods and the support they give competitors like us.

We then had about a 45 minute drive to the next stage, Elephant Pass.


This is the most famous East Coast pass of Targa. It is about 11 km long with plenty of challenging driving conditions starting with a hill climb and finishing with a hill descent.


We had an usually long wait before we commenced the stage. This was great as it again allowed us to take in the fantastic scenery and catch up with others.

Elephant Pass was probably the most enjoyable stage I found in that it included both a hill climb and descent, while also having a combination of twists and straights all combined with some spectacular scenery.

With Elephant Pass complete we now headed along normal roads for 50 minutes to the Rossarden stage.

Once again this stage was through the mountains both up, but mainly down a mountain. It was a real rare treat to be able to drive these mountain roads at speed.

At the end of the stage we were greeted with with about 5kms of unsealed gravel road, which had a different effect on different drivers. Some, tried to ‘tip toe’ through the never ending ‘crunching’ gravel in the vain hope of limiting the damage to their car. Others, like my driver, took it as an opportunity for a ‘real’ rally stage by doing fishtails, slides, launches, emergency stops and more. For a few, like my driver, it was a prefect way to finish the day and you couldn’t wipe the grin off their faces.

I once again was given the controls of the 458 and we headed back to the Country Club. The return trip was over 90 minutes so it was great to get an extend time behind the wheel of the 458 which had seen quite a bit of action on day 3. Many a time the car had bottomed or ‘nosed out’ when travelling a speed down the mountain, but once again it had performed flawlessly. It truly is an amazing piece of machinery.

Today we’d done over 380 kms through Tasmania and was unfortunately our last full day on Targa a fact we lamented on over dinner at Cataract on Paterson in Launceston after freshening up before heading out. Tomorrow would again be an early and we’d also need to check out as well so we chose to make an early evening of it and get a back to our accommodation early.

Today, for me, was probably the best day on tour. We completed stages that really had everything and were truly characteristic of this wonderful place. The car and my driver performed flawlessly and we had some great times between stages. I don’t think it could get much better than this!

Targa Tasmania–Day 2

Today was to be our first complete day of stages, morning and afternoon, so we needed our energy and as such, most people were at breakfast early, with many still babbling about the prior day’s experiences.


We excitedly headed down to the car park where we were again greeted by a clear but extremely crisp morning. We completed our last minute briefing for the day, grabbed our radios, got our stage notes out, passed the breathalyser and once again headed off across Tasmania to our first Targa stage.

High Plains was our first challenge, about a 40 minute road trip from the Country Club. This stage is about 6 kms in length.

After High Plains we needed to travel about 50 minutes to the next stage, Sheffield.


As you can see, there is no shortage of scenery to look at while driving in Tasmania. Once again, the weather was magic, fine and clear.

I had also made a bit a discovery for myself while navigating during the rip roaring tour stages. I found that if I pushed my head firmly into the head rest I could read the notes and see the trip counter without becoming as motion sick. I think if I looked forward during the stages I would have been fine, but looking down, trying to read stage notes and then looking back up does not do one’s stomach well. Seems to me that you either look down at the course notes for the entirety of the stage or you look forward.


Sheffield is about 15 kms in length and starts with an uphill run. When we arrived the group in front of us were yet to start so we parked alongside and as usual, drivers and passengers, made a beeline for the bushed to help irrigate the local fauna.

As we stood around shivering and stamping our feet to ward away the cold of mid-morning Tasmania we were joined by a few locals, who were keen to check out the cars.


Another amazing sight we became accustom to down here is that fact that while we felt it was freezing and surely about to snow, the locals were getting around in shorts, thongs and T-shirts! They’re a hearty bunch down here.

Soon the group in front of us mounted up and rolled towards the start. As they took off from the start and headed up the mountain we could hear the roar of their engines and that made us all even more excited.


Soon, it was our turn to tackle the uphill climb which was very different from most of the previous stages.

It was at about this point during the tour that I confirmed my growing admiration for the ol’ 458. It is an absolutely AMAZING car. Not only is it quick, it accelerates, brakes and handles beautifully. In short, I want one!

The above video will give you some idea of what it was like during the climb. Don’t forget, that Targa is conducted on closed roads so you don’t have to worry about traffic (read logging trucks) coming the other way. Travelling at speed across double lines, around blind corners, what can I say? Gold bless Tasmania!

From Sheffield we had a short drive of only about 15 minutes to the next stage, Nook.

Nook is about 6.5 kms long.

We now headed for lunch at Latrobe.


Moriarty was the next stage after lunch, about a 15 minute drive from lunch. There was no time to ‘dilly-dally’ we had to be off at an exact time, directly behind the group in front. Stragglers would be left behind.

Moriarty is about 5.6 kms long.

Next up was Paloona, about 25 minutes away which was a 17 kms stage with plenty of twisty bits and tight corners.


Mt Roland was next up, about 30 minutes away. This was one of the longer stages at 27 kms and basically starts with a hill climb, goes across a plateau and then down the other side.


Mt Roland was our sixth and final Targa stage for the day. With the trip back to the Country Club, that would make fourteen driving stages in all up, over 350 kms for the day.

We regrouped at the end of the stage and confirmed plans for dinner tonight in Launceston at the Mud Bar Restaurant.

My driver and I swapped seats and I sedately headed back to the Country Club to rest and refresh before dinner.

Day 2 had been bigger, better and longer than day 1 and everyone was much more exhausted once the adrenaline had subsided. Today we’d taken on our first real mountain stage, both up and down, which was really special. We’d also had challenging twists and turns as well as flying straights. Everyone was really grateful that they’d made the time to come and looked forward to an even earlier start tomorrow for another full day of Targa Tasmania.