Bruce the wandering whale can’t wait to go racing!

Bruce the Wandering Whale getting keen.

Well, it’s been a big couple of weeks getting ready for the upcoming Targa rally, and Bruce the Wandering Whale is keen to come along for the ride! It has been lots of work getting the old Mustang ready and then I had a bombshell that my co-driver, our own oiler HR, had life conspire against him forcing him to withdraw. So cue much fretting but it’s okay, I’ve wrangled in my plumber, what could possibly go wrong?

Unfortunately one of our usual stages, the Glenorchy Road, had to be abandoned due to complaints from locals so we had to urgently try and get approval to use another alternative road as a stage. (That’s not as easy as you might think as the roads down this way tend to be too straight!) This involved knocking on about 130 doors talking to the occupants to let them know what we were hoping to do, when it would happen and how a road closure might affect them etc.

Fortunately this time the locals were pretty accommodating and the general response I received was quite positive. We now have that road closure confirmed and for the first time ever, we will have vehicles racing on Littles Rd near Queenstown. Littles Rd is a great road for a hoon. It is one that is sometimes used illegally by local boy racers so to be able to race it safely and legally is going to be pretty special. There will be around 600 km of closed roads for this event so you can imagine how many doors get knocked on in total.

Littles Rd near Queenstown

The other great thing about using Littles Road is that there will be lots of places for people to spectate from. Certainly plenty of the locals are keen to crack out the BBQ and chillybins and make an afternoon of it watching cars flying past their houses at up to 200 km/h. We love it when a community comes together like this and the racers really appreciate all the help we get from locals when it comes to road closures.

We also spent 4 days driving the entire Targa route checking that all the distances, road signs, cautions etc. that are noted in our route book were correct. We covered about 2,500 km in that time so it was a really big effort. We will be traversing some of the best countryside in New Zealand along the way and I will try and let you all know where we have been and where we will be next in the hope that some of you may be able to pop along to check everything out.

Another great part of Targa is the charity side of things. We do something called a ‘Passage Control” which involves directing all the racers, official vehicles etc. to stop at a designated point, often a local school, where their route book will be stamped to prove that they were there. To get this stamp costs a couple of bucks, with 100% of the money raised being kept by the school group to use on whatever they deem suitable. Some of the groups really get into it and get the whole town involved, selling baking, T-shirts etc. to further raise money.

Matarangi School welcomes Targa

This community involvement is something that I personally really like. In fact, keep an eye out for us as we tend to be the ones chucking lollies at the locals as we cruise by on the touring stages. You won’t miss us this year, we will sort of look like an Orca! I’ll post a photo when the decals are finished, I’m just waiting for a big Whaleoil one to arrive.

Every year Targa teams up with a charity and this year it is Race4Life.

race4life happy customer

Race4Life started out as a group of like minded people who organised a day at a local racetrack for people who were in palliative care, giving people rides in different machines etc. Things snowballed from there and it is now a registered charity with the aim of making wishes come true for people before they pass on.

There are some really great people involved and we’re all looking forward to raising as much money for them as possible. You can read some of the cool stories about the lovely people who have had a wish granted here. If any gentle oilers feel inclined to help out in that regard or even just donate a little cash, this link will point you in the right direction.

Just for your viewing pleasure, here is a photo of me driving one of the coolest Fords ever in my first Targa Tour event. My buddy’s Ford GT, full of 550 hp, rear wheel drive, supercharged goodness!

What sort of a crazy man would let me loose in this beast!

Hopefully I will soon have an announcement for all you General Motors fans. I believe something pretty cool is coming, with someone pretty cool driving it. I shall let you all know as soon as it’s confirmed.

So to sign off on this update, here is a wee video that highlights what the Targa Tour is all about, hosted by my extremely dodgy but very good mate Dev. Enjoy, and we’ll see you out there.