Young tarmac rally driver Cody Harris will be ticking the Make Smoking History Targa West off his bucket list 12 months sooner than expected due to the generosity of fellow entrant Andy van Kann.
The annual motorsport event is considered to be the State’s premiere tarmac rally, and has attracted well-known Australian motorsport names such as Jim Richards and Ross Dunkerton. The full event is four-days long and equates to almost 900kms of travel for competitors around Perth CBD, Perth Hills and surrounding areas. But, for those on a tighter schedule a two-day Rallye format is available.
Regular Targa West competitor van Kann planned to again compete in the full event, but after a discussion with co-driver Madelin Kirkhouse, decided on the two day format to minimise Kirkhouse’s absence from the family business. The money saved off the full entry price, van Kann has put towards a two day entry for Harris.
“I mentioned to my lifelong friend and Targa West Event Director Ross Tapper that our decision to do the two day event was based on the availability of time rather than the availability of budget – and asked whether I could sponsor the rally in some way,” van Kann said.
“Ross responded by telling me a story about a young driver named Cody Harris whom both Ross and his wife Jan held in high regard, and who was struggling to stretch his budget to have a run at Targa West.
“I suggested that perhaps I could contribute some of the ‘savings’ from my four day budget towards helping this young man whom I was yet to meet.”
For those in the motorsport community who know van Kann, this isn’t an unusual offer from a man who is well-known for his generosity in helping young people get a start in the sport he loves.
“Ten years ago I came up with the idea of dedicating my time in motorsport to assist young people to participate. It has lived up to all expectations of being a fun and rewarding thing to do. So far, I’ve been repaid with enduring friendships with all whom I have assisted.
“In a few short years I’ll be celebrating 50 years since my first rally. Being involved with young people keeps me young and motivated to hopefully carry on for many years yet!”
Harris who has been a keen follower of the tarmac rally scene for many years, is grateful for the assistance to be able to do something that he has always loved.
“My motorsport journey started as soon as I got my P plates,” Harris said. “You would find me at the Motorplex watching the Rallysprints, and I would religiously attend Targa West in August as a spectator.
“The amazing thing about these events is watching the raw talent and the way people are capable of handling a car on its limits.
“I idolise so many of the top competitors, and this year I’ve been lucky enough to be able to introduce myself to many of them. They’ve even helped me throughout my own events, which is just insanely cool!
For someone you idolise to actually acknowledge you and help you do what they do, is what puts this sport on another level.
“I’ve always wanted to race cars, but for people with no background in karting or any kind of budget – it’s almost near impossible!
“Andy has made a dream come true out of pure kindness, and words can’t even describe how thankful and gratuitous I am for this opportunity. I’m sure I’ll have to repay him by pulling off a terrific result for the 2 Day Rallye.”
Harris will be teaming up with friend Jacob Zurzolo and driving a Mitsubishi Evo8, which he has been slowly tailoring to suit the event.
Event Director Ross Tapper says that he is impressed with Harris’s mature and keen approach to motorsport.
“Everything Cody has said and done has been in line with how we would want anyone to move up the tree in motorsport,” Tapper said. “He’s started with a standard car at grassroots level, and as he has begun competing more regularly he’s slowly started to prepare it for Targa level events. Far too often we see the focus being on building a super-fast car with little regard to improving skill.”
The 14th Make Smoking History Targa West revs into action from 9th to 12th August 2017, and will see a mix of performance, classic and exotic vehicles racing the clock on some of Perth’s most iconic roads.
The event kicks off with a Ceremonial Start on Thursday 9th August from 11am to 1.30pm at Yagan Square in the CBD. Competitors will then race the clock over 34 stages in and around Perth, Whiteman Park, Kalamunda (including the infamous Zig Zag), Toodyay, Chittering, Bullsbrook and Malaga.
The finale will be held on Riverside Drive, where the Targa cars will be joined by hundreds of other vehicles for the Celebration of Motorsport and Shannons Classics on the Park, turning the riverside precinct into a motoring enthusiast’s paradise.
The Make Smoking History Targa West is a free event for spectators.
For more information visit www.targawest.com.au and www.facebook.com/targawest.