Two Targa crashes in a day of action

By Patrick O'Sullivan -
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L-R: Glenn Inkster, Pukekohe, Spencer Winn, Howick, winner, with their Mitsubishi Evo 8 - Targa Rally finish line in Napier Rd, Havelock North. 16 October 2016 NEWS Hawke's Bay Today Photograph by Dun
L-R: Glenn Inkster, Pukekohe, Spencer Winn, Howick, winner, with their Mitsubishi Evo 8 - Targa Rally finish line in Napier Rd, Havelock North. 16 October 2016 NEWS Hawke's Bay Today Photograph by Dun

Two drivers were airlifted to hospital after the first of two crashes at the Targa New Zealand tarmac motor rally yesterday.

Auckland driver Kim McLeod and co-driver Ben Quin were taken to Hawke's Bay Hospital by the Lowe Corporation Rescue Helicopter with moderate injuries after their RX7 failed to take a bend on Crownthorpe Settlement Rd just before 9.30am.

Hastings fire service senior station officer Glenn Drew said the race was halted after the car failed to take a corner and "travelled a fair way off the road".

It rolled but came to rest on its wheels on the far side of a ditch, with Mr Quin able to exit the vehicle himself.

"We set up our gear to extricate [the driver] but we didn't have to use the gear, with assistance he was able to get out of the vehicle and on to a stretcher," he said.

Mr Martin said the driver regained consciousness before his trip to hospital.

A Targa media spokesman said the pair were experienced Targa competitors. They were running fifth overall in the two-day Targa Regional Rally when the accident occurred.

A second accident in the same stage did not injure driver Mark Hellier or co-driver Glenn Edley from Auckland but Mr Hellier's Porsche 911 was badly damaged.

Geoff Laurent from Cambridge said he was "thoroughly" enjoying Hawke's Bay in his turbocharged Subaru WRX, if a little torn.

"The scenery is so beautiful but I have to keep my eye on the road as well," he said.

With speeds up to 200km/h for the competitive class it is far from a jaunt in the country.

Auckland's Alasdair Patrick said it was "a bit of both" from his open-top Aston Martin.

In an orange Ford Mustang, rally goodwill ambassador Ray Williams took Napier MP Stuart Nash and Tukituki MP Craig Foss for a ride.

When not ferrying parliamentarians Mr Williams, the holder of the New Zealand road car land speed record of 317km/h, handed out sweets to children.

"I'm a Jaffa handing out Jaffas in a Jaffa car," he said.

Event director Peter Martin said it was "an excuse for people interested in cars to socialise".

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