Bruce Absolon ready to tackle Targa Tasmania with wife
REACTING to pace notes as you're speeding through the tight tarmac roads of Tasmania is Bruce Absolon's idea of fun.
Next month the Hamilton Island resident will race in the iconic Targa Tasmania event.
Absolon competed in last year's Targa race, but this year's will not be the same.
"We will have to be down there at least a week before the event because there's some new stages they've never used before," Absolon said.
"We have to do reccy (reconnaissance) of all the stages because some of the roads may have been resurfaced, some may have degraded in condition since last year."
Absolon said he was really excited to be heading back to Tasmania for the race.
"We love it down there, the roads are awesome, the camaraderie within the event and with the general public is something to behold," he said.
"It's a pretty big exercise for us, by the time we get the car from up here and down, it's 11,000km by the time we get home."
Absolon will actually drive the car he is racing down to the event.
"The event down there is all on public roads, so cars must be road registered," he said.
"It's a case of taking it very quietly on the way down because the car has all the signs and numbers on it, and it's a bit of a magnet."
The car Absolon is using to tackle Tasmania's famous tarmac rally is a classic 1994 SL500 Mercedes Sport.
"It's got very, very low kilometres on it and you'd never pick it for being 20 years old," he said.
"Suspension and brakes have been modified to suit the combination; electronically it's been modified with all the navigation and safety gear in the car."
Absolon said the secret to success was good preparation of the car and all the reconnaissance of stages.
He will rely on pace notes from his wife, Gail.
"I was very worried because last year was Gail's first encounter with motorsport at any level, let alone an international level," he said.
"I used to race, many years ago, Formula 3 and Formula Ford... but Gail had never had any introduction to it, so I thought it was going to be a make or break situation.
"She handled it impeccably, she was like a seasoned navigator by the end of the event."
Last year Absolon finished 94th overall.
"This year is going to be huge. There's going to be between 350 and 400 entrants," he said.
"There is literally tens of millions of dollars worth of cars there. There's a huge mixture of vehicles."
Absolon said they were very competitive.
"Having said that we try and keep the red mist under control," he said.
"We have a very long drive home so you want to come off Tasmania with a very straight car. "It's just about being consistent."
Absolon said having faith in your co-driver and driving within your own ability was important to staying on the road.
The race runs from April 11-16.