Targa Adelaide 1st 4WD
Showroom & 5th Outright
After completing Targa Tasmania 2013 in 3rd position, the Neil Buckby Motorsport team was hoping for another podium finish in the Showroom 4WD category in Adelaide. Targa Adelaide was held in August 21st –25th 2013, over five fantastic days. Their 2010 Subaru STI Impreza was entered which they have campaigned with since 2011.
After arriving in Adelaide a few days before the event began, Ben Newman (driver) and Crichton Lewis (navigator) gave themselves enough time to drive a reconnaissance of the course. They quickly found the course very different from the Targa Tasmania course. It had shorter stages, many crests, intersections and corners. They also found that there were numerous brows that required immediate and very accurate calls straight after completing them. The next few days were certainly going to take a lot of concentration.
Targa Adelaide began on Wednesday August 21st with a night stage at the Adelaide Wayville Showgrounds. A crowd of 16,500 spectators were able to get close to the rally cars and talk to the drivers. Teams competed in a 2km, 2 lap sprint circuit where a couple of cars unfortunately came to grief in the wet, slippery conditions. The Neil Buckby Motors team recorded a second fastest time in their category of Showroom 4WD.
The competitors woke to rain which lasted all day. The first stage was held at Upper Hermitage in the Adelaide hills. The Neil Bucky Motors team soon realized that their selection of hard, compound tyres was going to limit their ability to be competitive in the wet. They finished the day 12 seconds behind the Mitsubishi Evo team of Flood / Green. Considering the wet conditions, they were happy with their day’s effort.
Once again the competitors were met with another wet day. Heavy rain made for hazardous conditions, with many teams aquaplaning and sliding off the road. The Neil Buckby Motors team had a constant battle with Mitsubishi Evo team from Western Australian Liddle/Lloyd. They finished the day 4 seconds behind this team in 2nd position.
Unfortunately Crichton contracted a bout of food poisoning overnight which wasn’t a great way for him to start the day. A positive, however, was that it was a mostly clear day with roads still very wet in some areas. Conditions were perfect for their Subaru All-Wheel-Drive car. They spent the day trading 1st and 2nd positions with the Liddle/Lloyd team until this team unfortunately crashed out on the 2nd last stage of the day. The Neil Buckby Motors team finished in 1st position, 1 minute and 32 seconds in front of 2nd place Mitsubishi Evo team, Arentz/Burrey.
This was a short day, with just 4 stages to race. It was just a matter of making sure they kept their car on the road to guarantee their first win in an Australian Targa Rally competition. They did just that, and finished Targa Adelaide 2013 in first position, 1 minute 44 seconds in front of second place getters, Arentz/Burrey. They were ecstatic with their win. Congratulations Ben and Crichton.
The team would also like to thank Launceston’s Les Walkden Rallying Service Crew of Bodge, Damo and Burger for all their efforts in the servicing of their vehicle.
Targa Tasmania 2013 – THE HIGHS, LOWS AND THEN THE HIGHS!!!
Targa Tasmania 2013 was held over 6 days from April 16 – April 21. It proved to be a journey of mixed emotions for the Neil Buckby Motorsport Team, Ben Newman (driver) and General Manager/Sales Manager, and Crichton Lewis (navigator) and Dealer Principal. They were supported by their racing crew, who are all Technicians from Neil Buckby Motors, Brendan Brown, David McFarlane and Daniel Youd. Targa Tasmania has always been a race where anything can happen and this year it threw everything at the team.
Neil Buckby Motorsport entered their 2010 Subaru Impreza STI in the Showroom 4WD Class of Targa Tasmania 2013 with high hopes of a podium finish. They were placed third in the CAMS Australian Targa Championships 2013 coming into the race, but they knew that there was going to be some fierce competition from several Subaru and Mitsubishi teams.
Day Zero - GEORGE TOWN PROLOGUE: The George Town Prologue is a day where drivers and navigators have time to get back into the swing of racing and iron out the cobwebs and nerves. Although results do not count, it is always a fun day where crowds flock to see the vast array of racing cars. The team recorded the fastest times for both stages in the Showroom 4WD Class.
Day One: The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team finished in 3rd position at the end of Day 1. A mix up on the Sheffield start cost them quite a bit of time. The whole day had both Ben and Crichton rattled with the tragic loss of driver John Mansell who had unfortunately crashed earlier that morning. Crichton and Ben had dined with John and his navigator Tristan, only a few nights before.
Day Two: The Team gambled with the decision to use soft tyres, as it was looking like rain, and thinking that maybe they could make up some time by using them. Unfortunately only the first stage was wet and the rest of the stages were dry. Time was lost to the front runner, Scott Millar, in a Mitsubishi Evo, but Ben and Crichton managed to get into second place in front of Angus Kennard, in a Subaru Impreza STI. Overall it was good day, but a day where the softer tyres had to be conserved.
Day Three: The day started with a great run through the early stages. They pushed hard, consistently doing top ten outright stage times. At the Ulverstone lunch, the team was told that they had taken the lead as Scott Millar had crashed out on the Cethana stage. A great battle was had with Angus Kennard during the afternoon stages, swapping stage times and the lead. The Neil Buckby Team had a strategy to go hard to try and increase the gap between their first place position and Kennard in second place. Their strategy was the right one, beating Kennard by 25 seconds, and in the process also equalling Jim Richards’ time who was in seventh position outright (Pretty amazing that a showroom spec Subaru could equal a special race edition Porsche 911 GT2 RS worth in excess of $450,000!!). The Neil Buckby Team finished the day in first position by 30 seconds.
Day Four: Last year in Targa Tasmania 2012, Ben and Crichton lost time on the Reece Dam stage, so this year the team was determined that this was not going to happen again. During the stage this year, dash lights suddenly came on, but they still managed to beat their last year’s time by 1 minute.
By the end of the Reece Dam stage, the car had every warning light showing on the dash. After trying to reset the ECU by disconnecting the battery, the battery ran out of charge. The car managed to be roll- started to the beginning of the Pieman stage only to stop 200m into the stage. After further inspection, it was discovered that an isolator fuse switch had vibrated, overheated and melted, which stopped the battery from charging. It was frustrating to know that a $2.00 aftermarket part cost the team the Pieman and Murchison stages. As a result, a 20 minute penalty was given to the team which sent them from first position back to seventh position.
After much deliberation, a decision was made to fight on knowing that there was a very small chance of getting back onto the podium. By the day’s end the team had fought back into 5th position, winning all but one of the afternoon stages by big margins.
Day Five: The day started with Ben and Crichton being approximately three minutes away from a spot on the podium. During the day they were consistently doing top ten outright stage times. These times ensured that a podium finish was guaranteed and by the end of the day, they had completed Targa Tasmania 2013 in a well deserved 3rd position. In the process of trying to get back onto the podium, the Neil Buckby Motorsport Team actually got back to 11.26 minutes behind the winners Kennard and Wheeler in their Subaru Impreza STI. Considering a 20 minute penalty had been given to the team, it showed that they really had the pace to win.
While disappointed with such a simple mechanical failure, Ben and Crichton were very happy with their performance and it showed that their pace could mix it with, and occasionally beat, times from cars such as Porsche 911 GT2 RS and Nissan GTR in the showroom specification Subaru.
The team finished the CAMS Australian Targa Championship 2013 4WD Showroom Class in 3rd place for the 2nd year in a row.
The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team would like to thank their sponsors Subaru Genuine Parts and Subaru Finance for their assistance with the Tarmac Rally program. They would also like to thank the directors and owners of Neil Buckby Motors for their ongoing support.
Targa Wrest Point 2013
The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team of Ben Newman (Driver) and Crichton Lewis (Navigator) posted their best result of their short motorsport career at Targa Wrest Point in February. They were thrilled to finish second in the 4WD Showroom Class and thirteenth outright.
Targa Wrest Point covers the picturesque areas of the South of Tasmania including the Huon Valley, Peppermint Bay, Longley, Dover and the famous Tahune stages. The Team had previously entered this event in 2011 and 2012, and having that experience under their belt meant that they felt a little more comfortable rallying around the familiar course.
With an eye on the weather, the decision to use medium compound tyres proved to be the wrong choice for the Neil Buckby Team on Day One. The wet conditions that they were hoping for did not eventuate and at the end of Day One, the Team was behind the leader by 45 seconds.
The weather conditions on Day Two were not as hot which meant it was not as punishing on the tyres. The stage distances were less and tyre degradation was reduced. The team fought their way back to close the gap to just 16 seconds by the end of the day. Comparing the times of Targa Wrest Point 2012, the Team has taken over 5 minutes off their time of the previous year.
The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team which includes Senior Technicians from the Neil Buckby Motors workshop, Brendan Brown, Darren McPharlin and Subaru Apprentice, Daniel Youd; are now planning their attack for Targa Tasmania 2013 which commences in Launceston on Tuesday 16th April and concludes Sunday 21st April in Hobart. They are looking forward to a safe and successful Targa Tasmania 2013.
The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team of Ben Newman (Driver) and Crichton Lewis (Navigator) has posted their best result of their short motorsport career. Their Subaru STI came home in third position in the Showroom 4WD competition of Targa High Country at Mt Bulla, Victoria. After finishing fourth in four consecutive Targa events, Ben and Crichton along with the service crew, David McPharlin, Brendon Brown and Daniel Youd, who are all Neil Buckby Motors Subaru specialized technicians, were very happy to get the car over the line after an intense two and a half day battle.
The event took place in the Victorian High Country from 9-11 November. A prologue around Mansfield on Friday night set the starting order for the next two days competition. Day One of the competition started on the outskirts of Mansfield and headed towards Wangarratta. The Day One stages were extremely challenging and the Neil Buckby Team were a little slow to get accustomed to the very high speeds and commitment required. After the lunch break, the return stages back to and including the stage up Mt Buller, saw the Neil Buckby Team up the ante and post very competitive stage times. They bettered their previous 2011 stage time up Mt Buller by eight seconds, despite a stage that was even more slippery than the previous year.
At the start of Day Two, the Neil Buckby Team was in fourth place, 9 seconds off third place and chasing a very quick Volkswagen Golf R. Throughout the day both teams pushed the limits and swapped places multiple times. The race for third place came down to a final showdown with the final run up the 22 kilometre Mt Bulla stage. The Neil Buckby Team held a narrow two second advantage and it was all down to having a clean fast run up the mountain. Luckily the Team pushed themselves and the car to the limits, with Crichton doing a fantastic job of navigating up the final run. The Team managed to pull out a further eight seconds to cross the line to take third position by 10 seconds after 220 kilometres of racing.
To actually get onto the podium for the first time was incredible. Champagne never tasted so good!!
The next Targa competition will be Targa Wrest Point, Hobart, in February 2013, followed by the big one, Targa Tasmania in May 2013.
Targa Tasmania 2012 Wrap-up
The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team combination of Ben Newman, Neil Buckby Motors General Sales Manager (Driver) and Crichton Lewis, Neil Buckby Motors Dealer Principal (Navigator) were very pleased with their first effort in Targa Tasmania 2012.
The Team finished in 4th position in the TMR Showroom 4WD Turbo Class and 22nd outright in Targa Tasmania. With their Subaru 2010 WRX STI Spec C they also achieved an overall 3rd place in the CAMS Australian Championship 2011-2012 in their class. The Championship takes into account Targa High Country Mt Bulla Victoria, Targa Wrest Point Hobart Tasmania and the iconic Targa Tasmania 2012.
This year, the course for Targa Tasmania was the longest in its 21-year history. It covered 620 competitive kilometres across 38 stages, which was 120 kilometres more than any previous races and over 6 days. Ben and Crichton acknowledged that the event was both challenging and exhilarating, especially when the conditions were mainly wet on many of the stages. The concentration needed on the extra long stages required a huge effort. For example, the Mt Arrowsmith stage was 27.5 minutes and 65 kilometres long!! Considering that they really are car dealers and not car racers, finishing the race unscathed was extremely pleasing.
Ben and Crichton agree that the Subaru All Wheel Drive WRX STI was the perfect car to endure the rigors of Targa Tasmania. The Subaru All Wheel Drive gave confidence to the Team and it was outstanding at high speed in the wet and winding conditions which is very common in Targa Tasmania. With the combination of Stability Control, Sport and ABS, the WRX STI was extremely reliable.
We would like to thank the Neil Buckby Motorsport Crew, Brendan Brown, David McPharlin and Daniel Youd, for their commitment to this project. Their preparation, planning and eye for detail made the job of finishing more achievable. Because of their effort the Team did not experience any major issues.
We would like to congratulate Adam Kudra, Neil Buckby Motors Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz Vans Sales Consultant, who along with his wife Hayley won the Rookie Class in Targa Tasmania 2012. To say that both Adam and Hayley are hooked on the sport of racing rally cars is an understatement!
Our congratulations also go to Travis Dean, Neil Buckby Motors Service Advisor, who had enormous success in Targa Tasmania 2012. Travis was the navigator for one of our valued customers Brendan Manion who drove a Subaru 2010 STI Spec C. Brendan was a previous class winner a few years ago. Together Brendan and Travis steered their way into 6th place in Modern Class.
We should also mention the father and son team of Phil and David Frith, another valued customer of Neil Buckby Motors, who won the Targa Regularity Competition in their 2010 Porsche Boxster S. Well done.
Targa Wrest Point - 2012
The last weekend in January saw the Neil Buckby Subaru Motorsport Team of Ben Newman and Crichton Lewis, successfully compete in Targa Wrest Point 2012.
Held in the Huon area, south of Hobart, the Subaru team came home a solid fourth place again, making this their third fourth position in a row for the team.
Day One: The main challenges for this day were the Tahune Airwalk stages that were completed by going in and out of the area twice. It was made up of close to 100 kilometres of high speed racing on challenging tarmac roads. The day was successful with a great run through the town of Longley as the day's highlight.
Day Two: Day two was held in the Cygnet area where most of the stages had changed from the previous Targa Wrest Point in 2011. Again a strong and consistent performance got the team to the finish line unscathed.
TARGA TASMANIA 2012 The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team is really looking forward to the 'Big One', Targa Tasmania 2012. This has been the aim of the team for the last few years to compete in this iconic event. Unfortunately, after last year's mishap, the team's aspirations of competing in Targa Tasmania 2011 ended. So bring it on!!!
Targa High Country 2011
Solid Result for Neil Buckby Subaru
The Neil Buckby Subaru Team of Ben Newman and Crichton Lewis had a strong result at last week’s Targa High Country, held in and around Mt Buller and Mansfield in rural Victoria.
The Launceston Subaru dealers finished fourth in the 4WD showroom competition, coming home in front of a large contingent of Mitsubishi Evolution rally cars and beating home many exotic European sports cars, in the outright competition.
Day One: The first day was a street stage around the township of Mansfield on Friday afternoon, similar to the George Town prologue that kicks off Targa Tasmania, with Newman and Lewis setting a safe consistent lap to get a good spot in the starting order for day two.
Day Two: We headed towards Wangaratta with the Team taking a little while to settle into the high speeds. After the lunch stop, they started to lift the pace, putting in some solid times to keep to the heels of the leading cars. The day finished with a stage up Mt Buller where Newman and Lewis pushed hard to set a great time up the mountain.
Day Three: This was the longest and most challenging day. The roads were more technical and were mixed with high speed sections but the Team were able to set solid consistent stage times. The day was made more challenging by the changing grip levels where the alpine Tarmac was breaking up in the heat, and made worse by 160 rally cars tearing up the surface. By the final three stages of the day, the Neil Buckby Subaru Team had started to push the pace again. Some small suspension tweaks had made the car more drivable and the Team pushed hard on the return run up Mt Buller to set solid stage times again.
The Team of Ben Newman, Crichton Lewis and service crew, David McPharlin, Brendan Brown and Peter Nunn were thrilled to get the car home considering the challenging roads and surface conditions. They now look towards the next events, Targa Wrest Point in Janauary and the iconic Targa Tasmania in Late April.
CLASSIC TASMANIA RALLY 25th-27th February 2011
The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team headed into the Classic Tasmania Rally more relaxed after surviving a steep learning curve at Targa Wrest Point. The rally was held on the North West Coast of Tasmania and covers some famous landmarks including Hellyer Gorge and Savage River.
Day One: Right from the start, the Neil Buckby Motors Team of Newman and Lewis were more than competitive, ending Day One leading the Showroom Class, and lying seventh overall.
Day Two: Day Two continued in the same successful way with the Neil Buckby Motors Team winning most stages in the Showroom Class and by the days end leading this class by over a minute. The highlight of Day Two was a magnificent second run over Hellyer Gorge, beating the nearest showroom competitor by seventeen seconds. The Team was thoroughly enjoying the event and the learning experience along the way.
Day Three: Day Three did not go to plan. The first stage of the day, the Calder – Yolla Stage, the Neil Buckby Motorsport Team left the road approximately 1 kilometre into the stage. The combination of an 8 left at high speed, into a down hill 6 right with a crest in between, caught driver Ben Newman out by not being able to slow the car over the crest between a fast and slow corner. The Subaru slid off the road and down a steep bank, through some fences and came to rest in some blackberry bushes on its side.
While the car was not comprehensively damaged, the damage was enough to bring the event to an abrupt end for the team. Both Newman and Lewis came out unscathed except for heavily jarred backs. This unfortunate setback for Targa 2011 has not dampened the Team’s enthusiasm as they now prepare for up and coming rallies which include Targa High Country Victoria in November 2011, Targa Wrest Point 2012, Classic Tasmania 2012 and Targa Tasmania 2012.
Targa Wrest Point 29th-30th January 2011
After 6 months of research, building and preparing, the Neil Buckby Motorsport Team of Ben Newman (driver) and Crichton Lewis (Navigator) were extremely nervous ahead of their competition debut.
Targa Wrest Point is a lead-up event held prior to the world renowned Targa Tasmania. Targa Wrest Point is held on roads south of Hobart including areas such as Tahune, Cygnet, Dover etc.
Day One: Day One of the rally proved to be a huge learning curve for the inexperienced driver and navigator pairing, taking the morning to come to terms with the extreme speeds required to be competitive in a modern Tarmac Rally vehicle. The highlight of Day One was the final stage of the day, Longley. The team really started to hit its straps, (showing potential!!) feeling confident in the car and with their own ability. They turned up the intensity to return a third fastest on the stage which was only a few seconds off first place, and matching some very experienced competitors.
Day Two: Day Two started with the amazing Pelverata Stage. Newman and Lewis, after the strong showing in the previous afternoon stage, decided to push reasonably hard and again come up with a top three time. Throughout the day, the team was consistently competitive, swapping positions with much more experienced competition, with the Cygnet Stage a highlight of the afternoon.
A decision was made on the last few stages of the day to conserve a strong forth position, having dropped quite a lot of time on the morning of Day One. The gap between forth to third was too great to try and reach.
The Neil Buckby Motorsport Team was rapt to come home forth in their maiden event, beating many experienced drivers.
Neil Buckby Motors is pleased to announce its intention to enter Tasmania's Iconic Targa Tasmania Tarmac Rally, Neil Buckby Motors has managed to secure a limited edition Subaru Impreza STI Spec C, and plans to compete in Targa and similar motorsport events in the state.
The car is the big brother of the already potent Subaru WRX, however the Spec C is specifically built by Subaru Technica Inernational (STI) for the purpose of motorsport, with many modifications to make the car faster and safer.
The car will be campaigned by Neil Buckby Motors' Ben Newman and Crichton Lewis, both novices to motorsport, but combined with the performance of Subaru's legendary flat four turbo engine and Subaru's acclaimed All-Wheel-Drive, the Neil Buckby Motors Team expects to be competitive from the start.
Stay Tuned for updates on this exciting foray into motorsport by the Neil Buckby Motors Team.
Click the button in the sidebar to view the press release from Subaru explaining some modifications to the Subaru Impreza Spec C.