Rally driver Simon Gunson lining up in Ellenbrook during a Targa West event, which is being replaced by Tarmac West events. Picture: Elevation Digital

Rallysprints return to Ellenbrook and Malaga

Tarmac West replaces Targa West, with races happening September in Ellenbrook and Malaga.
August 10, 2023
Anita McInnes

RALLY fans will be able to see a new tarmac event replacing Targa West this year in Ellenbrook, Malaga and Langley Park next month but not in Bullsbrook, Chittering or Kalamunda.

Last week it was announced that Targa West would not run this year due to Motorsport Australia’s regulation changes requiring both the driver and co-driver to be assessed to get expensive international licences which enforced speed restrictions for their first 10 events, regardless of motorsport experience.

In its place new owner Tarmac Events WA is organising a Make Smoking History Tarmac West street rally to be held on September 7-10.

Run under the sanctioning body Australian Auto-Sport Alliance (AASA), Tarmac West 2023 will consist of three short and fast rallysprint events, namely Midland Toyota Ellenbrook rallysprint held on Thursday, September 7 in the evening and on Sunday, September 10, Make Smoking History Malaga rallysprint in the morning, and the City of Perth Rallysprint in the afternoon.

A rallysprint sees drivers and co-drivers race against the clock in 30-second intervals over a short course and repeating the stage four times making it spectacular to watch.

Tarmac Events WA director Ross Tapper said it was hoped racing at Bullsbrook, Chittering and Kalamunda would return as part of the full four-day Tarmac West in September 2024.

“We certainly hope to, that is in our long-term planning, we get locals make contact with us regularly asking when are we coming back,’’ he said.

On Monday, July 31 Motorsport Australia noted that Targa Tasmania had released its road book and course map for next year.

Motorsport Australia also noted that the event would not be sanctioned by Motorsport Australia but said it was still working with other event promoters to ensure Targa style tarmac rallies could be sanctioned on the basis they would implement the Targa Review Panel’s recommendations, which it said were the result of one of the most comprehensive and detailed safety reviews conducted in the sport.

“Further information about vehicle eligibility and technical regulations will be available shortly, allowing for events to run in 2023 and beyond as planned following the Motorsport Australia board’s decision to implement the panel’s recommendations,’’ Motorsport Australia said.

But Mr Tapper said the tarmac rally community had waited close to a year and a half for proposed changes from Motorsport Australia to lift the pause on events following the tragedies at Targa Tasmania in 2021 and 2022.

“They are still not fully released, and competitors in Western Australia have rejected MA’s proposal for the need for an international license and driver and co-driver assessments,” he said.

Echo News asked Mr Tapper if Targa West was working with Motorsport Australia to implement any of the Targa Review Panel’s recommendations.

“Many of their recommendations they copied from what we were already doing but other events weren’t,’’ he said.

“We will always implement any safety procedures that we believe will improve our events.’’

“If Motorsport Australia have a safety recommendation and it works for our competitors we will implement it, i.e seats and harness standards improve all the time, but to enforce a high-level seat in some cars is impossible as they don’t fit,” he said.

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