14 July 2023
TARGA Australia has today announced that it will suspend all future motorsport-based events until the full ramifications of Motorsport Australia’s review into tarmac rallying can be quantified and assessed. This means that the 2023 editions of TARGA Tasmania and TARGA Great Barrier Reef have today been cancelled.
The safety review process has been going for 15 months, and with many more months ahead before all the details are released and implemented, there is still too much uncertainty for all stakeholders.
The uncertainty and the lengthy review process has seen a record drop in entry numbers. The reduction of the TARGA Tour speed to just 110km/h has seen the withdrawal of over 80% of tour participants in the part of the event which has sustained TARGA’s commercial viability in recent years.
Due to these unprecedented challenges, TARGA Australia has advised Motorsport Australia that they can no longer align their business with the governing body and will not seek a contract renewal on future events run by TARGA Australia.
TARGA will now take the time needed to assess what the future holds for one of the world’s largest motorsport event providers.
It is not the first time that TARGA has taken a different direction to running its events. In 2007, TARGA left the then-called Confederation of Australia Motor Sport (CAMS) and ran TARGA Tasmania for four years with the Australian Auto Sport Alliance (AASA) until 2011, before returning to Motorsport Australia under a new agreement, which ensured TARGA’s viability. During this period, both TARGA and the AASA grew substantially with new TARGA events added to Tasmania (TARGA Wrest Point) and Victoria (TARGA High Country) to complement the world’s largest tarmac rally, TARGA Tasmania.
“Our events can only be run with the support of our loyal participants, and on the whole, they are understandably disenchanted with the current landscape, and we completely understand why,” said TARGA CEO Mark Perry.
“We have waited and been incredibly patient with the process put in place, however this process has now taken a year longer than similar reviews in the past.
“Competitors have little certainty with what the future looks like for them and are rightly holding off on entering our events. In turn, we have had to make the difficult but necessary decision to cancel our 2023 events and undertake our own review and assessment on the future viability of our iconic rallies.
“While it is another sad day for everyone involved in TARGA, we must now explore every conceivable option available to us to ensure the survival of TARGA and the return of the ultimate tarmac rally, TARGA Tasmania in April 2024”.
TARGA Australia will make further announcements as they are finalised.