|Four years ago co-driver Bob Pettitt and I joined the line of competition cars awaiting the Bass Strait ferry. It was the
fulfillment of a dream – to compete in the 2003 Targa Tasmania. We felt a little sheepish with the couple of hundred thoroughbred cars assembled there – and us with our ‘duck egg’ blue 122. Preparation had been a rush having found a major twist in the front rails just a couple of months before the event. We had just enough time to straighten it on a rack and throw it all back together. We had just 75 bhp at the back wheels and the suspension was almost standard.
For 2004 we changed cams and managed 85KW at the back wheels. Preparation was improved with tighter springs (about 200lb/in effective rate at each corner), 28mm front bar and 18mm rear bar – both with adjustment, rear axle with discs from an 1800ES, twin master cylinders with balance bar. We had a difficult run with welsh plugs failing leading to a blown head gasket and then the works close ratio box started screaming and we went to a standard box.
Bob (co-driver) took a break in 2005 to renovate the kitchen and Ashley Yelds joined as co-driver. The motor was bored to 2 litre and more head work resulted in about 95 bhp at the back wheels – we were still disappointed with the power! The close ratio box was rebuilt and numerous other mods completed – it was beginning to be a well-built and bullet-proof car. A win in Category 3 leading home Porsches, the mighty Ullrich Jensen CV8, twin can Cortinas, Alfas and Shelby GT350’s for a tenth in Classic was a great result.
For 2006 standard carbs were replaced with HIF7’s from a 1974 Jaguar to give 100 bhp at the wheels and resulting in another Category win leading the Jensen home by just 23 seconds – it was the very first all dry Targa. Mike Batten’s PV 544 blew up on Day 4 – he later analysed the times and let me know that we lead him by 4 seconds after 26 stages (elapsed time) at the time of his demise.
2003 Targa Tas Andrew White/Bob Pettitt 34th Outright 2nd class
2004 Targa Tas Andrew White/Bob Pettitt 78th Outright
2005 Targa Tas Andrew White/Ashley Yelds 10th Outright 1st Class 1st Category 3
2006 Targa Tas Andrew White/Ashley Yelds 7th Outright 1st Class 1st Category 3
2007 Targa Tas Andrew White/Ashley Yelds 6th Outright
The car was built by the Volvo competition department and brought to Australia by British and Continental in Sydney. I once met the man that drove the car from the boat and he confirmed that it was delivered with a straight through side pipe exhaust! From the factory the car had a close ratio gearbox, modified head, balanced, 4.88:1 Dana 30 LSD, 90 litre tank with filler on the right C pillar, tacho mounted to A pillar, Koni shocks, chassis plating, sump and tank guards and a halda. The car was sold to Ossie Jackson (father of Arthur Jackson) who drove it to 11th Outright and a class win in the 1969 Southern Cross rally. He continued to rally it with success for another year or two before it became a road car and eventually being stored.
George Minassian bought it in the early 90’s and began refurbishing the car in among a number of other projects. I heard about the car and began annoying him with offers. Finally he agreed to sell it and I flew to the Gold Coast assembling the car in a week and driving it back home to Darwin.
Without a doubt Targa is the greatest motorsport experience I have ever been involved in. While the costs are considerable a 1960’s car with modest modifications can be very successful. Changes to the regulations are making it even more accessible with a rookies category for 2007 running over just a couple of days for first timers.
Any one who is considering preparing a 122 – we are happy to provide advice and specifications to build a competitive car.
White & Ashley Yelds 2007 Targa Tasmania website with video
to 2008/2009 Project
Email: Andrew White,