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Exmoor Targa Rally

Tavern Motor Club, Burnham on Sea Motor Club + Minehead Motor Club

29th October 2022

Exmoor Targa Rally 2022
Winners: Keith Lane/Martin Lane (Ford Ka)
Photograph: M&H Photography

Organiser: Tavern Motor Club, Burnham on Sea Motor Club + Minehead Motor Club

Date: 29th October 2022

Clerk of the Course: Gavin Rogers

Route: 12 Tests (40 Test Miles)

Base: Wheddon Cross

Starters: 69

A capacity entry of 70 cars was reduced by one non-show to 69 starters on the Exmoor Targa. The event had moved from its traditional base at Ralegh's Cross, to Wheddon Cross, putting the rally HQ closer to the action.

There were 12 tests, giving a total of just over 40 competitive miles. The first four with in Croydon Hill Wood; two tests repeated twice, before two runs up the Porlock Toll Road. After a lunch break, the four Croydon tests were reversed and the day ended with another visit to Porlock.

Pre-event favourites and top seeds, Ethan Davies/Jamie Woolley (Ford Puma) were fastest by three seconds on the first test and extended their lead to 50 seconds by the end of Test 3. They were fastest again on Test 4, but they had serious problems, their Puma had lost second and third gear. This forced their retirement, when they held a lead of 53 seconds.

Also out at this early stage were James Griffiths/Matt Veneables (Vauxhall Astra); they suffered a broken shaft on Test 4.

Rain had been falling when the first crews tackled the opening tests, but it dried up and this allowed some lower numbered crews to put in a few of the quickest times on some of the tests.

Elliott Sharp/Michael Spicer (MG ZR) had been in second place behind Davies/Woolley and should have taken the lead following their retirement, but they were adjudged to have failed to stop safely at the end of both Porlock tests; this added 40 seconds to their test times. This allowed Pat Thomas/James Aldridge (Ford Escort) into first place. They were fastest on the first run up the Porlock Toll Road and would have been quickest on the second run, but a cone fault cost them ten seconds. Despite this, they arrived at the lunch halt with a lead of 49 seconds.

At this point Keith Lane/Martin Lane (Ford Ka) were in second place, while Sharp/Spicer were now in third, just over a minute off the lead. Lucas Redwood/Zak Linham (Ford Sierra) were fourth, 1m 08 behind the leaders, notably they'd amassed 1m 10s in cone penalties over the morning tests.

Sixth place had been held by Paul Watts/Chris Perry (MG ZR), but a failing clutch put them out before the break. Meanwhile a suspected failed head gasket had stopped the Ford Fiesta of Paul Gillard/Trevor Disney.

The slippery conditions caused the number test faults to build up dramatically. By the end of the day an unprecedented 523 faults had been recorded. At the lunch halt only two crews had escaped being penalised for a fault; these were John Graham Taylor/Nick Taylor (MG ZR), who were in ninth place and led Class 1, and Tom Jefferis/Will Jefferis (Ford Escort), who were 11th.

By the end of the rally, both of these crews had received test faults, but Taylor/Taylor had just one cone fault to claim the neatest performance of the day.

Thomas/Aldridge weren't destined to keep their lead; on the second visit to Croydon Hill their Escort broke a strut and they were out.

Lane/Lane now moved into a lead that they weren't to lose. They took fastest time on four of the afternoon's six tests, they were second on another, and their only blot was a cone fault that dropped them to sixth fastest on Test 11. They finished with a victory margin of 48 seconds.

Despite being in one of the larger cars on the event, Redwood/Linham, managed to guide their Sierra through the tight chicanes to claim a clear runner up spot. Ayris/Lassam completed the podium, although they were over two and a half minutes off first place.

Simon Ayris/Robert Hall won the Clubman Rally, ending the event 11 seconds ahead of second placed Chris White/Jason Harris (Ford Escort).