The promoter and owner of Australia’s premier asphalt rally, Targa Tasmania, will go it alone after announcing it has split from national motorsport body Motorsport Australia.
TARGA, the entity behind Targa Tasmania and other Australian tarmac rally events, made the announcement last week, saying it had informed Motorsport Australia that it “does not see a viable future for TARGA under their sanction (MA)”.
The announcement also confirmed the cancellation of Targa Tasmania 2023 which has been postponed until October, but competitors have made it clear that they should start planning for the event which will take place in April 2024.
Meanwhile, the Tasmanian state government has confirmed that it will extend TARGA’s contract to stage the iconic tarmac rally until 2028. Tasmanian Premier Jeremy Rockliff told the Hobart Mercury that his government ” will do everything he can” to ensure that the event takes place in 2024.
Rockliff told the newspaper: “What’s also important is that we’re bringing certainty to the Targa event, and we’ll extend it for a year to 2028, in terms of the contractual agreement, and that will provide a certainty to the organisers, but also we’ll be working with the organizers to ensure the event takes place in 2024, as I know many Tasmanians will want it.
Motorsport Australia has suspended asphalt rallies under its auspices after fatalities at successive Targa Tasmania events. He instituted two investigations with the support of TARGA and issued a series of rule changes intended to be a “hard reset” of the sport.
Many of the proposed changes have been divisive and criticized by organizers and competitors.
Over the past few weeks, MA has unilaterally announced onerous new licensing and training requirements. It has since backtracked on some aspects of those requirements.
Motorsport Australia’s ban did not affect tarmac rally events which continued to run under other sanctioning bodies. It is understood that TARGA will seek alternative sanctioning arrangements for its events, including Targa Tasmania in 2024 and beyond.
TARGA boss Mark Perry told Carsales: “The most important aspect of this decision is the ability to determine our own course. We have strong community support both in Tasmania and in the world of asphalt rallying and we want to reward that trust.
“The MA review process is now in its 15th month with no clear timeline for full implementation, and after providing unequivocal support for this process, we had to draw a line in the sand at this stage.
“This decision will give us the opportunity to move forward… Our customers’ reaction to the recent training and licensing announcements made it clear what needed to happen next and so we are there,” said Perry.