18 April, 2023
Targa rally returns to tropics
TARGA Great Barrier Reef will return to the roads of the Far North and the Tablelands this September with entries now open for the national motorsport event.
BY NICK DALTON
Last year’s event was cancelled while Motorsport Australia conducted a review of the rallies after multiple fatalities involved in the Tasmanian circuit, including a death of a 59-year-old driver last year. There have been no deaths at the event in the Far North.
Following the release of the review panel report in late February, Targa Great Barrier Reef will be run from September 1 to 3.
TARGA Great Barrier Reef was first held in 2018, followed by 2019, 2020 and 2021 and In a bid to draw competitors this year, discounts on entry fees are being offered.
Targa chief executive Mark Perry said for the first time, entry fees would be based on competitors, instead of the cars they drove, with discounts applied based on time of entry and/or more importantly, years of competition.
Years of attendance discounts start at just five years, which is applicable to people entering their fifth event of the same name and so on through to 30 years.
Mr Perry said fully paid pricing also returned for the first time in many years, providing further discounted entry fee options.
For example, competitors who make a complete payment when entering, it will cost $3400, while an early bird pays $4400 and the regular fee is $4900 – the discount fee for a five-year veteran is $2900.
“It has been a very interesting period in Targa’s long and successful history, one no one would have imagined just five years ago,” Mr Perry said.
“On the back of the restrictions imposed during COVID, we have had to navigate through multiple tragedies and our sincere thoughts remain with all those affected by these incidents.
“Everyone wants to see a bright future for Targa, but we can’t sugar coat the challenges we face, and the reality is that only our customers can ensure our survival.
“It has always been an obvious fact that Targa requires very large fields of cars to operate at the scale it does, so we need them, old and new, to join us on the journey ahead, if we all wish to continue living out our Targa dreams.
“There is plenty of news to come with course layouts and other exciting innovations due for release in the weeks and months ahead.”
Some of the most spectacular driving roads in the Far North are used for Targa Great Barrier Reef and competitors make their way up to the Tablelands over one of the race’s legs.
Stages have been held near Gordonvale, Yungaburra, Malanda, Millaa Millaa and Ravenshoe, Innisfail and Mission Beach.
Special events have also been held on the Cairns Esplanade, Atherton, Malanda, Ravenshoe and Innisfail.
In 2021, a new event, the Cavalcade, travelled through northern Cairns with the “stars and cars” under police escort going through Aeroglen, Stratford, Freshwater, Kamerunga, Redlynch and finishing off at Brinsmead.
Most road closures are up to five hours with three for six hours maximum.