BUCKET LIST: Targa Tasmania

Targa Tasmania

With COVID-19 playing havoc on the motorsport world and international travel bans in place for Australia, you might be forgiven for contemplating a future escape.

Speedcafe.com has worked to develop a list of dream places, events and experiences for fans of motorsport and motoring for you to tick off your Bucket List once we return to some sort of normal.

Targa Tasmania, April 19-24, 2021

It has been described as the best fun you can have sitting down.

Embracing the entire state, TARGA Tasmania has grown to become the pre-eminent tarmac rally on the world motorsport calendar.

And for those rally, motoring and adventure tourism buffs who have been constrained by lockdown during the COVID-19 crisis, TARGA Tasmania is calling.

It is literally the best tonic to break loose again by cracking on in your favourite machine across some of the most stunning roads and breath-taking topography in the country.

If you have never experienced tarmac rallying, TARGA Tasmania is the ‘Everest’ of road rallies globally. It is where you can match your wits with the elements and converse with fellow competitors on the thrills and spills of past close calls in between special stages.

The 2021 event from April 19-24 will feature 39 competitive stages totalling 626km spread over six days. This epic event is designed for all budgets and all motoring and motorsport-minded people.

Attracting an expected bumper entry line-up following the abandonment of the 2020 earlier this year due to virus-led border complications, TARGA Tasmania is firmly entrenched as a showpiece automotive event.

TARGA is to Tasmania what Targa Florio was to Italy’s island mecca, Sicily, which embraced the world’s best drivers from 1906 until its final event on a colossal 72km road course loop in the mountains behind Palermo in 1977.

TARGA Tasmania was born in 1992 following an idea hatched by the late John Large, who was then CAMS President and who also served as the vice-president of the FIA at the time.

Together with celebrated motoring journalist Max Stahl and Large’s wife Ronda Matthews (who is known as ‘mamma Targa’), a plot was hatched that would revive memories of Targa Florio and Italy’s beloved Mille Miglia.

Large was born and raised in Tasmania before moving to the mainland where he enjoyed a successful pharmacy career.

According to his widow Ronda Matthews, Large had a long-held desire for Tasmania to hold a motorsport event with international flavour.

The Apple Isle was ground zero during the heady days of the Tasman Series at Longford in the 1960s which attracted the world’s best F1 drivers who raced open wheel machinery against Australia’s leading steerers.

Large had plenty of skin in rallying – a competitive highlight being as navigator for the great Ross Dunkerton who drove a Datsun 240Z to the first of his five Australian Rally Championship victories in 1975.

“Growing up on this Island (Tasmania), when John gained his driver’s licence, he explored all over and was amazed at the abundance of remote, tight, twisty, fun-to-drive-a-car, fast roads around the State,” Ronda Matthews recalled.

“(This was) compliments mainly to the Hydro and Forestry Commissions back in the ‘50s and ‘60s, built by top engineers to gain heavy vehicle access, in rugged weather, to the remote locations required for both industries to operate.

“John was also a devotee of the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia concept of road events, popular in Europe through the early to mid-1900s.

“He’d describe how he saw the roads of Tasmania as ideal for an International tarmac race, similar to the two famous Italian events of years gone by.”

The first of many meetings occurred in early 1991 at Stahl’s home on the Central Coast in New South Wales. More meetings between Large, Matthews and Stahl followed in Melbourne where plans, budgets, strategies, course design, Targa number plates, et cetera would be devised.

Once the name, TARGA Tasmania, was settled upon the final part of the jigsaw was pitching the concept to the Tasmanian Government.

The government was duly won over by the concept which at its crux, was the amount of new dollars such an event would bring into the state.

That first running of TARGA Tasmania in 1992 attracted some huge names in world motorsport including Sir Jack Brabham, Sir Stirling Moss and Denny Hulme.

However, one of the great strengths of TARGA is that you don’t have to be an F1 World Champion or a World Rally Champion to compete. By its very nature, it attracts a broad cross section of competitors with varying experience and skill levels.

The event’s DNA tailors categories for all standards and calibre of car as well as the non-competitive and highly popular Tour component.

The TARGA Tour, popular with car clubs, marques and adventure tourism buffs allows entrants to enjoy all of the iconic special stages at a safe speed while enjoying all the finest in accommodation and dining over the course of the event.

There are 11 competitive categories for TARGA Tasmania in 2021.

For more on technical regs, sporting regs and entry conditions click on TARGA.com.au. Entries are open.

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Travel options

TasVacations can assist you with accommodation options and bookings.

Contact: 1300 827 822 or (03) 6234 4666 or email: [email protected]

The Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart is offering discounted TARGA rates for TARGA competitors.

The Spirit of Tasmania is TARGA’s dedicated travel partner for competitors and their vehicles when travelling to and from Tasmania. Call the Groups and Special Events team on 1800 204 687 to secure a spot on your preferred sailing date.

Activity overview

Website targa.com.au
Address Suite 3/31 Davey St, Hobart, TAS 7000, Australia
How to get there The spirit of Tasmania is a dedicated travel partner for vehicle and competitor movement. Flights also available into Launceston and Hobart.
Opening hours and tickets April 19-24, 2021. Entry fees: Early bird pricing starts at $A4990 for Targa Tour and fluctuates up to $8490 for several leading classes. All inclusive packages (accommodation, meals, Spirit of Tasmania transfers) start at $A7990 per car for 3 nights or $A8865 for 6 nights)
Phone +61 3 6144 9500
Email [email protected]
Additional tip TasVacations can assist you with accommodation options and bookings.

Contact: 1300 827 822 or (03) 6234 4666 or email: [email protected]

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