A 1982 cherry-coloured hatchback wins GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint

Winner – Matt Cherry and Cade Bell in 1982 Toyota Starlet. Photo: Tim Allot


In a competitive field of rally cars, a 1982 Toyota Starlet driven by Matt Cherry and co-driver Cade Bell won the GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint yesterday (13th November).
A pleasant 22 degrees, the perfect rallying weather, drew thousands of spectators who lined the Bunbury street circuit. 
There were 110 competitors at the start who raced the clock in the Halifax Light Industrial Area along the 4-kilometre course, four times clockwise and four times anticlockwise, and 20 competitors retired, unable to complete all eight runs. 
The fastest was Cherry’s red 1982 Toyota Starlet built by Racing Dynamics, more like a rocket than a regular hatchback and highly modified for tarmac rallying. 
The 1.8-litre turbo two-wheel-drive Toyota Starlet has 420 rear-wheel horsepower and was faster than four-wheel-drive rally cars with bigger engines and more horsepower.
“We are all pretty amazed we managed to win such a great event – I’ve watched a lot of these good drivers for years, so to be the outright winner is something to be proud of,” says Cherry of Carine. 
“My strategy was to keep it clean and have a heap of fun which is easy to do when you’re flying around the streets in the Starlet; it’s a hand full.
“We had a few issues arise in the afternoon, including a leaking oil line, and I had a little spin on the second last run, but we managed to make it back up in the last run – thanks once again to Racing Dynamics for the super quick fix – it made it a little more exciting. 
“The crowd was great, and a lot of people came to have a chat about the car, and the first thing they ask is ‘what’s is this thing?’ which is quite funny, but they all loved the little rocket, and we hope they enjoyed watching it as much as I did driving it. It makes me smile.”
Cherry adds that he’d like to thank all officials and organisers on a well-run rally.  
In second place outright, just four seconds off the pace, was Cody Harris and co-driver Morgan Ward in their 2004 Mitsubishi Evo 8 MR. The duo took the class win for the Open Rallysprint: 4WD.
Harris, who was leading up until halfway, says it was an overall good day despite some challenges.
“We were struggling with the heat in our brakes and struggling with oil pressure all day,” says Harris of Osborne Park.
“A class win is great; you could say it was redemption for last year where we were second, and I had a fuel pump failure at the end of the day, so it’s nice to be able to finish this year with great result,” says Harris. 
Rounding out the top three was Matt James-Wallace and co-driver Ben Tuck in a 1993 Nissan GTR R32. 
There are eleven classes in the GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint determined by engine size, 2WD or 4WD and decade of manufacture. 
Winner of the ‘Targa Cup: 4WD 3500cc and over’ class and fifth outright was Dardanup’s Will White with co-driver Matt Thompson in his 2018 Nissan GTR Nismo.
White, who bought the Nissan GRT some 18 months ago, says he’s starting to get a handle on the car.
“There’s a lot of weight in this car compared to my previous Mitsubishi Evo, so I’m learning how to handle that weight, and doing the sprints helps learn about car control,” says White. 
“We had one run that was a bit slow, and it cost us a third outright when the car went into limp mode – a protection mode within in the car – and we had to stop the engine and restart it, and lost about 15 seconds on the fifth run. 
“It was a good fun event; hats off to all the organisers, Ross and the team; it’s fantastic they came out and help run a great event,” says White.
Clerk of Course Ross Tapper says that he’s happy that the GT Fabrication Targa Bunbury Sprint ran smoothly and was an incident-free event.
“Besides having to clean up some oil on the course, which delayed the rally for about 45 minutes, it all went well, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from competitors; they seem to love the short, sharp rallysprint format,” says Tapper.
Last year’s winner, Troy Wilson, had to retire his 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X after the first run.
The ex-AFL West Coast Eagle explains that a dump pipe broke off the turbo in the first five meters on his first run, and while trying to get through to the finish to do repairs, it melted the brake fluid plastic bottle and some wires. 
For full results, visit www.targabunburysprint.com.au. For more info on Targa events, please visit www.targawest.com.au and www.facebook.com/targawest.