Day Two: Wednesday October 26

Mark and Sarah started the day by taking Porridge back to Qualitat yet again, this time for an engine extraction to determine the cause of the overheating which has led to the repeat carb fires. With Porridge now retired from Targa duties a cunning plan was needed to get the Twins back to full force... after considering a couple of very generous offers for loan cars the alternative was selected to match the criteria of reliability, moderate performance but high comedy value. Enter the rental MX5 in Austin Powers UK flag colour scheme. Groovy baby!



Lawrence, Neven and the crew started the day bright and bubbly in New Plymouth, heading off for a series of spectacular special stages around Taranaki's finest farm roads. While heading to the first stage of the day we had the unusual sight of Aja Rock, in the Honda in front of us, jettisoning her top from the car. Neven valiantly went to investigate, but it seems she was only trying to dry her spare outfit.



For the next couple of stages were were in front of the Ford Falcon and behind the 928, which suited all of us, I think. Everyone was taking things fairly easy. The tour stopped in Inglewood for a coffee break after SS12, giving us time to enjoy the spectacular views of the mountain under a bright blue sky.


It all came to a disastrous halt on SS14, when Neven got caught out by a blind brow right corner. Katrin ran wide, sliding backwards into the support wires of a power pole, which broke in two places dropping the live wires to the ground. The Targa rescue team were very quickly on the scene, but found they weren't able to extract Lawrence and Neven as the car was too buckled for the doors to open, so a fire rescue crew had to cut the roof off completely to get the guys out.

Although badly battered and cut they survived miraculously well; Lawrence was flown by rescue helicopter to New Plymouth hospital due to him being knocked unconscious briefly, while Neven followed by ambulance as he had an ear injury but was otherwise in good shape.


By this time Mark and Sarah were in Turangi, heading for Palmerston North, so they diverted across to New Plymouth hospital. Graham, Margaret and Ken were already there supporting the guys, having also dealt with the aftermath of the shunt. Ken worked with local restoration guru Ivan to collect the damaged car and secure the scattered bits, while the Targa organises cancelled the stage to allow the local power workers to replace the pole and restore power supplies.



We were all able to breathe a massive sigh of relief by the end of the day, as doctors determined Neven and Lawrence would both be okay after a few days of recovery. Neven needed some surgery on his left ear, while Lawrence escaped with a concussion and broken wrist, and both had nasty collections of bruises and abrasions. Nonetheless it was a very very lucky escape, as the car bore the brunt of the impact, crumpling up but protecting the passengers. Not a good day for the Targa Twins.