Targa Trophy Bay Area Rally Fest Recap

The Targa Trophy just wrapped-up Event #2 of the 2010 Triple Crown Series. The Bay Area Rally Fest presented by NOS Energy Drink included over 40 exotics, super cars, sports cars, and of course a couple vintage cars courtesy of Fatlace. The W San Francisco hosted the rally and was the official starting point and kicked off the event on Saturday morning, where the teams consisting of at least a driver and navigator made their way through the Bay Area’s coastal, scenic, and country back roads on their way to the checkpoint at the W Silicon Valley for the NorCal vs SoCal CARnival presented by NOS Energy Drink. The teams then made their way back to the W SF through even more tight twists and turns through the hills before having dinner and the awards ceremony, where Alex Andonian in his modded BMW 335i took the victory staying the closest to the targeted Targa time and mileage.

On the first rally I drove a stock Lexus IS 350 and did pretty well considering it my first rally of this nature. This time I decided to enlist the help of industry experts and brought out the Import Tuner Lexus ISF built for time attack. The car was outfitted with a 150 shot nitrous bottle (which we didn’t end up using as there weren’t many straights), Tein suspension, Rays wheels, Fujitsubo exhaust system, Pioneer system, and a few engine mods for extra ponies.

Team ISF consisted of me along with Carter, editor of Import Tuner magazine, Philip Chase from Tein suspension, and Eddie Lee from Mackin / Rays wheels. Needless to say this was a total guys road trip and we started with a quick photoshoot in Malibu and pit stop to adjust the suspension. Rolling 4 dudes deep with luggage with a track set ride height was just not comfortable, but we did roll “Hella Flush” for a bit. We also didn’t want to destroy the 1 of 1 dry carbon front lip and exhaust.

We got to the W San Francisco, the host hotel of the event and parked the car out front. Then it was some light drinking before prepping for the early morning call time. When getting ready for these events you never know what you may need so we packed it all blackberries, iPads, iPhones, MacBook Pro, TomTom GPS, Escort Radar Detector, and our cameras.

Great view from the hotel room at the W SF

This typewriter caught my eye being a classic vintage piece of machinery set amongst the modern design of the W…I would love this displayed at home to remind me how simple times used to be.

We then met up with the rest of the teams, including the Fatlace team and their pair of sexy Skylines.

The collection of cars on this rally is pretty unreal and the drivers are true enthusiasts ready to push the limits of their 6 figure machinery.

The start of the rally is pretty exciting and the adrenaline begins to hit. The sounds of the cars rushing through the city streets, cameras flashing, people cheering…it’s a good time.

The course itself provided its challenges with tight twists and turns through the hills and back roads always watching for on-coming traffic, cyclists, and of course other Targa Trophy vehicles, while making sure not to get a ticket.

The scenery on the trip was simply amazing. The beautiful coast line.

Gorgeous countrysides. We spotted cattle, horses, a couple bobcats, road kill, vultures eating the road kill, and of course a few “cougars” along the way.

Cops are lurking everywhere and especially after a few of the first cars blast through the normally quiet roads they come out in full force. Luckily, only one car received a ticket and it was a fix-it ticket for tinted headlights. Even the Charger Cop Car w/ full police lights, siren, etc didn’t get a ticket when pulled over. We got stopped twice, but were let go when we told them we were just journalists on assignment covering the event.


We entered the W Silicon Valley for the NorCal vs SoCal CARnival presented by NOS Energy Drink. The parking lot was filled with hundreds of diverse vehicles ranging from AE86 to a Porsche GT3 RS.

Of course NOS Energy Drink came out in full force and energized the crowd with free samples, a DJ, giveaways, cars on display, and of course the infamous NOS girls.

After a quick breakdown of the 2nd leg of the rally the teams got ready to finish the event. Import Tuner set-up a photoshoot that would feature the ISF alongside both Fatlace Skylines. Unfortunately, Mark’s car had some issues and couldn’t make the last leg. Felix came through and the rolling shots came out amazing, be sure to pick-up a copy of the future issue of IT. Actually, it was better both cars didn’t go on with the next 150 miles or so because it was brutal.

Since we were already behind due to the photo shoot we decided to take our time and enjoy the scenery. The 2nd leg was filled with harsh terrain that tested our suspension and elevation changes as we drove through the winding roads. After being in a car 2 days straight, a bad hot dog, trying to take pics while the car moved, and checking out the route book it finally hit me and I got car sick (guess I wasn’t the only one on the rally.) This definitely impaired us to be really competitive in the rally, but we enjoyed the course and had a great time overall. I sit in 24th place overall with 1 event left in the series and will be sure to really go for it for the finale in Las Vegas right after SEMA. My goal is to place in the Top 10 overall…so wish me luck.

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John P

John P

Resides in Downtown Long Beach, CA and worked the agency life for a number of years before moving into the freelance world where he specializes in PR, marketing and photography. When not traveling with the Formula DRIFT series, he can be found surfing, watching MMA, or building various project cars.
Twitter and Instagram @john_pangilinan