With around 60% of the field at this year’s Targa High Country using Smoothline it’s no surprise that the winners of most competitions were using their Stage Notes. When Smoothline’s Bernie Webb presented at the Targa Experience information sessions it was obvious though that their primary focus was anything but outright speed. Bernie’s presentation centred on “understanding the whole process of rallying”, outlining that notes should be an accurate, consistent description of where the road goes while providing the information required to safely negotiate the course.
To understand why notes written with these ideals in mind are used by many of our leading competitors we spoke to Pete Nunn and Toby Gill (winners of Classic Outright and Modern respectively) after the champagne flowed.
TARGA: Thanks for your time Pete [Nunn], tell us about your experience using Smoothline Notes.
NUNN: Keith and I have been using Smoothline for about 3 years now. In the beginning we ordered a sample of notes from their website and liked what we saw so we started out using their least complex Medallion-level notes, progressing last year to the middle-level Trophy option. We keep using them because they’re accurate and dependable.
TARGA: You’ve shown on the weekend that you can lay down some astonishing times in an older car, surely there’s more to the notes for you than just accuracy?
NUNN: Not really! Steve and Bernie [from Smoothline] have been at the front of our sport for a long time and they understand exactly what information we need to get through each stage at full-pace with confidence. In a car like ours having the confidence to know when to lift off the throttle and when not to makes all the difference!
Toby Gill however had a very different story:
TARGA: Hi Toby, congratulations on your maiden victory in the Modern competition. We’ve been told you’re using Smoothline notes and we’re keen to hear what you like about them.
GILL: I swapped over to Smoothline a couple of events ago. I love the consistency of their notes but there’s more to it than that. Knowing they’ll send out updates if anything on the course changes makes a difference during the event and having Steve and Bernie around to pop their heads in the window and give a word of advice or just check-in is really great!
TARGA: You came along to the Targa Experience despite having quite a few events under your belt. What led you to attend an event for first-timers?
GILL: Matt my co-driver is new to the sport. We’ve done quite a bit of recce on the Targa Tasmania stages getting him up to speed on reading notes but he hadn’t done any racing before the weekend. Targa Experience was about getting him in the car before the main game. He got a lot out of the info sessions too.
TARGA: It’s impressive to turn up with a brand new co-driver and win Modern, you must be happy?GILL: I’m stoked! We’ve been preparing for a long time and it’s really paid off. Steve and Bernie from Smoothline have really helped Matt get up to speed too, and not just with the notes.The Targa Experience Mt. Buller will be an annual event held the weekend before Targa High Country each year. It will help to ensure that Targa continues to prosper long into the future by providing better trained and skilled competitors.Make sure you have your Smoothline Notes for the 25th Targa Tasmania next year.