Home > Targa Rally

Event -2001 Targa New Zealand
Car - MG Montego

MG Montego Turbo - John Dalton / Gary Boxall - UK
The MG Montego Rally Car

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Two MG enthusiasts from the UK, John Dalton and Gary Boxall, have entered the 2001 Targa New Zealand. This is a 6-day tarmac stage rally for a variety of cars, from classics to current rally cars - bigger than the Rally of NZ World Rally Championship event locally.  The car they have entered is a 1987 MG Montego Turbo, just one of eight MG entries on the event.

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Some Background Information

Back in May John just happened to carelessly mention in an e-mail to a fellow MG enthusiast about doing the Targa New Zealand.
Two days later Gary replied that he had found 'the car' for the event and a week later John had agreed to buy it, and so they entered the event.  That's when it all started…..

External links with lots of information:




The car

Both John and Gary are members of the MG'M' Group, having owned and run several of the FWD models over the years, so it is perhaps not surprising that their choice of car is an MG Montego Turbo.

The car they bought is a race-prepared version, a car that was imported for the task by NZMC, the Rover distributor, in 1987.  It was raced in the Production Saloon Car championship for a few seasons, but more recently was being campaigned in club racing and speed events.


In theory the car was ‘ready to rally’ with a roll-cage and other competition equipment, and looked ideal for the event, and a bargain at NZD 4000 (GBP1200).  Unfortunately the spec was not quite as described/expected – it had only a rear cage which does not comply with the regulations (and the occupants needs!).  It was supposed to have an upgraded braking system with ‘Subaru rear discs’, but the braking system was standard.  The wheels it came on were off a Maestro, dished alloys that were too small and would not provide brake cooling.


So since June Gary, and a very helpful NZMGCC member, Daniel Richardson, have been hard at work preparing the car.  John sourced a lot of bits, including a set of MGF wheels and a front disc conversion kit in the UK, and shipped over about 1500GBP of parts for the project.

By the time the rally starts on 23 October the car may just about be complete by then….


Car details:         1987 MG Montego Turbo

Rally No:            #612

Registration         NB4728


The specification of the car includes the following:

Modified cylinder head and turbo to give 200 bhp.

Alloy intercooler.

VW G60 larger front brakes

Coil over shock absorbers with Bilstein inserts

MGF 15” wheels with Dunlop tyres.

Roll cage, sumpguard, racing seats, etc.


The team


Driver - John Dalton

Nationality: English

Address: Coventry, England

Occupation: Marketing Manager at MG Rover

Hobbies:Car Rallying, Travel, Photography, Computers.

Cars owned:      1988 MG Maestro 2.0i

                        1984 MG Maestro EFi Group N rally car

                        1975 Ford Escort RS 2000 Mk.2 clubman spec


John Dalton - over 25 years of MotorSport


John lives in Coventry, England, works for MG Rover, and has been rallying for over 25 years.

His early years were spent 'road rallying', a form of club motorsport that also requires good navigational skills, and it was here that he competed against Nicky Grist and Phil Mills, both World Championship Rally co-drivers today.

John moved to tarmac stage rallies, and competed 4 times on the Circuit of Ireland, which claimed to be the longest and toughest tarmac rally in the world.  He still occasionally rallies his clubman spec Mk.2 Ford Escort RS 2000, such as on the Tour of Mull, a rally on the Scottish isle that he first attempted in 1979.

In 1990 John bought an MG Maestro EFi Group N rally car to do International events, taking the car to events in Belgium and Ireland.  In 1991 he competed on the Manx Rally, won by Colin McRae with a class win by Richard Burns.  And in 1993 he became one of a small number of British privateers who have entered a foreign World Championship rally when he took part in the Tour de Corse in his MG Maestro.  He finished 36th overall, behind Carlos Sainz, Francois Delecour, Juha Kankunnen, Colin McRae, Didier Auriol…….


Co-driver: Gary Boxall


Nationality:   English

Address:       Auckland, New Zealand

Occupation:  Senior Anaesthetic Technician

Hobbies:       Motor Mechanics, Motorsport, Football, Photography, Real Ale

Car:              1993 Rover 220 GTi turbo 3dr hatch


Gary Boxall – MG enthusiast doing his first rally


Gary moved to Auckland in June 2000 to work in North Shore Hospital.

Its his first time as a navigator in a rally.  Until now his Motorsport experience has been limited to purpose built race circuits. He competed in the UK MGCC Sprint Championship and has attended track days in both the UK and NZ, as well as various motorkhanas.

Gary has been involved with FWD MGs for many years. He has been a member of The MG 'M' Group since its inauguration and is currently a member of the (Auckland) MGCC.

He has previously owned an MG Metro 1300, MG Maestro 2.0s and an MG Montego turbo. Having owned these cars has helped with the preparation of the rally car.

The MG Montego owned previously was modified firstly to over 200bhp before Gary converted it to T16 spec. He has also heavily modified his current Rover 220 GTi whilst living in New Zealand.


Service / support crew:            Daniel Richardson (Auckland) - Crewed for entire rally

David& Jackie Smith (England) - Crewed for rally preperation


David Smith competes in an MG Montego Turbo in the UK MGCC Sprint Championship, and got to know John when they did the Cape to Cape Challenge last year.  He has persuaded his wife Jackie to join him for a 'holiday' in New Zealand.

Auckland MGCC member, and Montego owner, Daniel Richardson volunteered to lend a hand preparing the Monty in his garage three months ago.  His wife has not seen him since…….


Why the Targa New Zealand?


John is a member of the Oxford University MDC, and helps with the organisation of the Targa Rusticana, an event first run in 1954, and the event that gave its name to Targa timing, a system used extensively on British rallies.

In 1997 his OUMDC co-driver and fellow Targa Rusticana organiser was based in Melbourne, and a plan was hatched to do the Targa Tasmania, but it did not come to fruition. 

But earlier this year when he dropped a one liner in an e-mail to Gary Boxall about doing the Targa NZ, things fell into place rather quickly.  Within days fellow Brit and MG enthusiast Gary, based in Auckland, had found a car to do it in, and agreed to co-drive.  Within a week they had bought the car, a race prepared 1987 MG Montego Turbo, and entered the event.


Rallying a Montego??


It probably quite appropriate for in June 1984 John Dalton gave the Montego its competition debut when he unofficially borrowed a company demonstrator and took part in a local road rally.  He finished fourth overall behind three Escort RS2000s.

The Targa NZ will be the first time he has competed behind the wheel of a Montego since, although last year he did take part in the 'Cape to Cape'.  This is an annual event driving 3500 miles non-stop at legal speeds, from Nordkapp in Norway to Cape Tarifa near Gibraltar, and in a Montego Estate, acquired for GBP 100 (less than 350NZD), the team beat the previous record of 57 hours.


David Smith, who did the Cape to Cape with John, is flying out to New Zealand with his wife Jackie to provide service support for the Montego on the Targa.



History of the Targa New Zealand


Inspired by the original Targa Florio, and contemporary tarmac rallies, Mike John dreamt of organising a Targa-style event  in New Zealand. The obstacles that had to be surmounted were many but Mike and a loyal band of enthusiasts brought that dream to reality with the inaugural Targa New Zealand in 1995.

The event was an instant success, hailed by the specialist motoring press as 'the stuff that legends are made', and, overnight, Targa NZ set new standards for all future motorsport events.

The Targa travelling circus brought together an incredibly diverse collection of cars and drivers.  From vintage sports cars, to Italian exotics, to current, state-of-the-art 4WD rally machines. Together they crossed the North Island, with over 2,000 kilometres of touring stages, backed up by 38 Special Stages run over closed public roads; gathering enthusiasts and new friends along the way.  This special esprit de corps became the key note of Targa NZ     '95, inspiring camaraderie amongst the competitors even though they were all battling each other for a highly prized Targa trophy.

This year's Targa takes place on 22nd - 28th October.

The route traverses North Island south of Auckland, and includes 58 special stages on closed  public metalled roads totalling 621km.


The schedule:

Mon 22nd Oct            Scrutineering - Turners Car Auction, Penrose

                        Motor Show - 12pm - 5.30pm

Tues 23rd Oct            Prologue

                        Start - Hotel du Vin, Mangatawhiri

                        Lunch - Mangatangi

                        Finish - Hotel du Vin, Mangatawhiri

                        5 Special Stages - 62km (Touring Distance 110km)

Wed 24th Oct            DAY 1

                        Start - Hotel du Vin, Mangatawhiri

                        Lunch - Cook's Landing, Te Kauwhata

                        Tea - Matamata

                        Finish - Quality Inn Hotel, Rotorua

                        10 Special Stages - 93km (Touring Distance 269km)

Thurs 25th Oct            DAY 2

                        Start - Quality Inn Hotel, Rotorua

                        Breakfast - Te Waotu

                        Lunch - Otorohanga      

                        Finish - Quality Inn Hotel, Rotorua 

                        11 Special Stages - 155km (Touring Distance 315km)

Fri 26th Oct            DAY 3

                        Start - Quality Inn Hotel, Rotorua

                        Lunch - Timberlands Hotel, Tokoroa

                        Tea - Rerewhakaaitu

                        Finish - Whakatane Quality Inn

                        12 Special Stages - 112km (Touring Distance 255km)

Sat 27th Oct            DAY 4

                        Start - Whakatane Quality Inn

                        Lunch - Longridge Park, nr. Te Puke

                        Tea - Spring St car park, Tauranga  

                        Finish - Hotel Armitage, Tauranga

                        10 Special Stages - 100km (Touring Distance 223km)

Sun 28th Oct            DAY 5

                        Start - Hotel Armitage, Tauranga

                        Lunch - Cambridge        

                        Tea - Tauranga          

                        Finish - The Strand, Tauranga - street party

                        9 Special Stages - 100km (Touring Distance 234km)

Event Total            58 Special Stages - 621km (Touring Distance 1405km)


The event is open to wide variety of cars, from classics to current cars.  There are 150 entries in the following classes:

1)       Historic - 1950 to 1965

#100 to #199  -1950 to 1960

#200 to #299  -1960 to 1965

2)       Classic - 1965 to 1980

#300 to #399 - 1965 to 1970

#400 to #499 - 1970 to 1975

#300 to #599 - 1975 to 1980

3)       Modern - 1980 to 1995

#600 to #699

4)       Contemporary - 1990 to 2001

#700 to #899

#900 to #999 - current rally cars

Interesting entries


Minis, Anglias, Escort Twin Cams and Lotus Cortinas, this could be the entry list of a British rally in the 1960's.  But the list goes on, and the sprinkling of Falcons and Commodores gives away the fact that this event is down under.  A couple of TR7 V8s and an MG Metro 6R4 will take on Porsche 911s, Mazda RX7s and Nissan Skylines.  Whilst a Lotus Elise is sandwiched between a Chevrolet Corvette and a Mustang Cobra.  And finally there are 3 Mitsubishi EVO3s and an Impreza STi.

The only other Brit entry is Ted Rollason in lightweight replica Jaguar E-type.

And MG is well represented by a selection of cars:


The MG entries

#147 1955 MG TF             Chris Floyd (Hamilton)
#214 1963 MGB               Kim Walker (Auckland) / Rosalind Jane (Australia)
#371 1964 MGB GT            Barry Hare (Auckland)
#404 1972 MGB               Peter Clarke/Tom Clarke (Wellington)
#458 1967 MGB GTV8          Graeme Collett (Cambridge)/Barbara Pool (Auckland)
#466 1964 MGB GTV8          Paul Forsyth/Ray Williams(Auckland)
#612 1987 MG Montego Turbo  John Dalton (GB)/Gary Boxall (Auckland)
#626 1985 MG Metro 6R4      Peter Johnson/Hayden Johnson (Auckland)


This webpage is kindly sponsored by the MG'M' Group