Quinn to head up new tarmac rally association

Tony Quinn competing in Targa Great Barrier Reef, which he won, in 2020

The formation of the Tarmac Rally Competitors Association of Australia (TRCAA) has been announced, with Tony Quinn as its president.

The new body has the stated aim of “represent[ing] the interests of current Drivers, Co-drivers, and Navigators in Australian Tarmac Rallies,” and boasts a steering committee of 11 competitors.

Notably, it was less than a fortnight ago that Motorsport Australia announced a suspension of the issue of permits for “any Targa style tarmac rally event”, following a fourth death in two years in Targa Tasmania.

No explicit reference is made to Targa in the TRCAA’s announcement, although it does state that “The Association will advocate for tarmac rally competitors as a whole, sharing their perspectives and insights with Regulators and Event Organisers.”

Furthermore, “It will operate as an independent, impartial body with no specific allegiance to any Regulator or Event Provider.”

According to TRCAA spokesperson Mark Clair, the development is motivated by a desire to give competitors a stronger voice.

“Competitors have been a bit of a voice in the wilderness, with many of us often feeling that nobody is listening to our concerns,” he explained.

“The formation of TRCAA is the opportunity for competitors to help change that and help the sport.

“This founding group has come together to get the Association up and running and intends to hold elections for the various roles and for other participation options.”

Quinn is well-known as an owner of Triple Eight Race Engineering and circuits including Queensland Raceway, although he is also a regular participant in tarmac rallies and boasts multiple Targa Tasmania titles.

The former petfoods magnate is not the only significant business experience on the steering committee, either.

Named as chair is Phillippe Etienne; a former CEO, non-executive director of a number of ASX100 company boards and chair of the board health, safety and environment committees.

Etienne has been a navigator for over 45 years, with 10 Targa Tasmania finishes.

Additionally, Samantha Winter, the 2021 Motorsport Australia Targa Rally Champion for Classic Outright and Classic (Handicap), is the inaugural secretary.

Winter has also been a non-executive director, company secretary and chief financial officer with over 30 years’ experience.

Quinn has an existing relationship with the Australian Auto-Sport Alliance (AASA), a rival sanctioning body to Motorsport Australia to which Queensland Raceway began transitioning in February this year.

AASA, which is owned by Benalla Auto Club, already sanctions tarmac rallies, although it should be noted that there is no suggestion at this time that the TRCAA is interested in running its own events.

What TRCAA is offering at this point in time, however, is ‘Gold Foundation’ memberships, at a cost of $50.

They are available to drivers, co-drivers and navigators that have competed in at least one time-based (regularity style, speed limited, open competition) category in a special stage tarmac rally in Australia within the last four years.

“Gold Foundation members will get exclusive access to a range of website services including newsletters, polls and member only forums for discussing matters of importance, and most importantly enable them to provide feedback and make suggestions for the benefit of our sport,” said Clair.

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]