After a series of tragic accidents in tarmac rally events in Australia, culminating in three deaths in the Targa Tasmania last April, Motorsport Australia suspended all tarmac rallying in the country while a full review was undertaken. That review was made public at the end of February with a comprehensive list of recommendations. The review panel considered that, “Nothing less than a “hard reset” of tarmac rallying is required in light of the multiple recent fatalities, serious injuries and a significant number of crashes.”
Targa-type events thrive in Australia. These are rally events run on the public roads that include closed-road special stages in which normal classic or modern road cars with certain safety equipment, and fully prepared rally cars run in the same event. When this form of rally became popular, even the most highly performing cars were well under what a modern super-sports car can now achieve, however little has changed in the regulations during that time.
The 23 recommendations put forward by the panel cover everything from more stringent vehicle safety requirements for all cars but especially for the more modern high performance cars (and even classing some cars as unsuitable for rallying), a complete look at licence requirements, with higher grades necessary for higher performance cars, course design and hazard warnings, reconnaissance and pace notes, vehicle tracking, medicals for drivers, to creating a singular set of Targa Regulations that all must follow across all events regardless of who the organiser is.
It is conceded that these cannot all be implemented at once, and in the meantime, Targa events can run again, but must work with Motorsport Australia to implement as many of the recommendations as possible.
Targa Great Barrier Reef and Targa Tasmania
Entries are now invited for Australia’s two most popular Targa events, which take place in September and October respectively, and competitors have been sent new specs for roll cages, seats and general vehicle safety. See https://targa.com.au for details and entries.
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