Targa News


Impact of COVID-19 sees 2020 TARGA Tasmania cancelled

After careful consideration for the health and welfare of everyone involved in TARGA Tasmania, but more importantly, the 500,000 plus people who call Tasmania home, we announce the cancellation of this year’s TARGA Tasmania event, which was due to be held from 27th April to 2nd May.  

Given the uniqueness of TARGA, an event which visits all corners of the island, we felt that the health risk to the Tasmanian community of conducting our iconic rally was too great based on sound advice from a number of experts.  

Whilst it is sad news that for the first time in its history, dating back to 1992, TARGA Tasmania will not be run, we are already focusing on the future and staging the 29th edition of TARGA Tasmania in 2021 followed by the 30th Anniversary event, which will now be held in 2022.

If you have any thoughts or questions, feel free to email us at enquiries@targa.com.au


Gina Siddins on women in motor sport

Gina has always had the need for speed having grown up around cars and following her Dad around from the age of 5 working on cars around the house.

“I remember my Mum had a Ford Capri and Dad needed to remove the valves.  He didn’t have the right tools to remove the collets so he used two screw drivers to push the springs down and I used my little fingers to pluck the collets out one by one!  Even so young, I was so proud of what I had achieved,” Siddins said.

Working at the Gold Coast Indy as Relationship Manager and other motor sport events in corporate areas, Gina always longed to get out on the track herself.

“I’ve always watched all the Bathurst events and followed some inspirational drivers in various forms of motor sport including Jim Richards, Dick Johnson, Kevin Bartlett, Scotty McLaughlin, Daniel Ricciardo, and Ari Vatanen.  Although all these drivers are all male, I grew up in an era where women in motor sport wasn’t promoted. 

“We’re lucky that isn’t the case anymore and I encourage women to get into motor sport at every opportunity. I’m actually speaking at a Historic Racing Car Club Queensland event later this year.”

Gina’s husband, Jon introduced her to motor sport where she finally found her niche!  “I started out with a Level 2 Speed licence and some training with Paul Stokell and loved every minute of it.  I graduated to a Clubman Circuit Licence and National Rally Licence and now compete in Track Sprints, Regularity, Improved Production and of course tarmac rally as Co-Driver with my husband in our Team 24oz in TARGA events in our 1970 Datsun 240z. 

We now have three Datsun 240z’s, a Nissan Pintara TRX 3E Production Touring Car which was raced at the 12 Hour in 1993 and 1994 (my first race car!) and a Datsun 1600.  After all, it’s like handbags, you can never have too many!”

Gina loves the exhilaration you get from motor sport – the thrill of bettering yourself in terms of your driving ability; being passionate about braking later, hitting that apex better on the next lap, focusing on your gear changes, increasing your lap speed, the camaraderie amongst competitors particularly at TARGA events, sticking it to the boys when you pass them on the track and of course winning trophies. “After all, I am known as the ‘Trophy Queen’!”

Gina competed in Regularity in the Bathurst Challenge event for the first time in 2017 in the Nissan Pintara and did 193.2 kilometres down Conrod Straight!  “I thought every panel was going to fall of the car!  Not bad for a stock standard engine and the only modification being better shocks. This was the most exhilarating experience being on the track at Bathurst in a car that had been raced there many years before.”

In terms of rallying, Gina said she would not be where she is today if it weren’t for their wonderful sponsors, service crews and our passionate fans.  “They make it all worthwhile when they support us through the ups and downs of motorsport.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, there is always the opportunity to get into motor sport in one form or another.  I remember a quote from Ari Vatanen, famous Finnish Rally Driver – “speed doesn’t know your age & neither does a rally car”.

“Whether it be volunteering as a track marshall, working in timing or as a part of the service crew for a team.  I’ve started out in these roles and have a much greater appreciation for the critical roles that volunteers play in allowing us to race.  These roles can lead to getting behind the wheel if you are keen.”

If you want to get into motor sport but you don’t know how, Gina has offered you contact her via her Team 24oz Facebook page and she would be happy to give you some ideas or put you in contact with some clubs or other volunteers in your area. 

International Women’s Day takes place in Sunday, March 8th. For more information, visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/


Kelly Handley advocating female participation in motor sport

Kelly Handley’s introduction to motor sport came via her husband, Duncan. He started doing track days when he bought a sports car many years ago.

“I’m not the kind of person that likes sitting on the sideline, so I jumped into the driver’s seat at an Oran Park track day, and the rest is history as they say,” Handley said.

Handley initially got into navigating because Duncan gets horribly travel sick! TARGA Tasmania was on both of their bucket lists, but since there was no chance Duncan would make it through the first stage without turning green, Handley jumped into the nav seat.

“I loved it from the moment I did my first prologue at George Town, worked out I was not too bad at navigating and have ended up doing more racing than Duncan over the years as a result. In fact, all going to plan next year will be my 15th Targa Tasmania.

“I’ve now been participating in motor sport at a club, state and national level for 15+ years, across a range of other disciplines including gravel rallying, super sprints, motorkhanas and hill climbs.  I’ve also been an active member of CAMS affiliated clubs through this time including taking on leadership roles such as the Vice President of the Skyline Club NSW.”

Handley believes the people you meet and friendships you make with people from all walks of life is one of the biggest reasons she stayed in the sport for so long.
“There are many amazing people in my life today who I would have never met if not for Motorsport.

“The thing I love specifically about rally is the teamwork that goes into getting a car to the finish line and the fact that it’s not just your own service crew but the rally field that’s got your back. We all help and look out for each other & do everything we can to make sure everyone makes the finish line.”

Handley attributes her self-confidence to her career in motor sport, “when you get into a rally car as a navigator, you take on a huge responsibility, and it has given me the ability to perform well under pressure and maintain focus. It’s also given me lots of practical life skills like being able to change a tyre quickly and diagnose and fix basic car problems.

“Finally – and most importantly – I love that motor sport is an equaliser when it comes to gender – many of the best drivers I’ve navigated for just so happen to be women including Matilda Mravičić, Melinda Bergmann and Luana Garwood. In fact, I stood on my first TARGA podium with a woman (Matilda at TARGA Wrest Point).

“I’ve always been an advocate for women’s equal participation in all areas of life, and I love that rallying is the most advanced in this area within motor sport. TARGA is really leading the way in this – something like almost 40% of participants are women (accounting for competitors, service crews, officials and of course the organising team!    

“The opportunities really are endless, and it’s so much easier to get involved than people think.

“I think it’s fair to say Motorsport has a reputation for being a male-dominated sport and that can be very intimidating. But it’s also absolutely changing, and in fact, some of the biggest supporters of women in motor sport I know are men.  

“The way we accelerate this change is with initiatives such as this – promoting the many ways women are involved and achieving in the sport.

“The biggest challenge is women don’t necessarily realise how easy it is to get involved in Motorsport and the many ways you can do this. You don’t have to be in a race car to be involved.  In my experience, the people involved in motor sport are all very welcoming, and like many volunteer organisations always have many roles to fill.

“In the context of TARGA, this can be joining a service crew, getting involved as an official or even standing behind a camera/video camera!

“The key really is continuing to cover and celebrate the many great women involved in the sport, supported by the message that everyone can do the same.”

International Women’s Day takes place in Sunday, March 8th. For more information, visit https://www.internationalwomensday.com/



TARGA Great Barrier Reef will undergo a major transformation with the exciting Cassowary Coast added to the tarmac rally course from September 4-6.

The biggest route change since the maiden TARGA Great Barrier Reef in 2018 will see multiple stages run in the Cassowary Coast region, approximately 100km to the south of the event’s base in Cairns.

Already widely acclaimed, the event injected $3 million in the Far North Queensland economy with 85 percent landing in the private sector last year.

The inclusion of the Cassowary Coast will see the total competitive distance of the event jump to 230.97km, an increase of 25 percent while the total number of timed stages increases to 20, up by four. 

While the whole course remains provisional at the moment, the plan sees eight stages on the Cassowary Coast on the middle of the three day event, Saturday September 5. The inclusion adds an exciting new dimension to TARGA Great Barrier Reef with the area’s stunning topography and unique reef location.

“TARGA Great Barrier Reef brought this large scale motorsport event to Far North Queensland that engaged many motoring enthusiasts, along with activating hundreds of volunteers with an interest in cars,” TARGA chief executive Mark Perry said.

“Aside from injecting direct economic benefits to local business and trades, our various promotion and broadcast platforms offer great publicity value to the destination in which we’re touring.”

“We have identified provisional stages and will be issuing letters to all residents who may be impacted by the event, and encourage anyone with questions to contact TARGA direct.”

Attuned to operating in regional locations with precious wildlife populations, TARGA has enlisted the advice of world leading veterinarian specialising in Cassowaries, Dr Graham Lauridsen, to mitigate any risk to the region’s local population.

“I’m pleased to know that in designing this course TARGA officials are considering the habitats of local wildlife and will engage a mitigation strategy to ensure all due care is put into place for this event,” Dr Lauridsen said.

“Among those strategies will be considerations of time of day that particular roads will be utilised for the course to avoid Cassowary interactions, and spotting marshals as an added safety mechanism.”

TARGA’s major digital campaigns and television package will showcase the region’s majesty to a national and international audience through the Nine Network in HD and distributed to a potential global audience of two billion.

Cassowary Coast residents are encouraged to be part of TARGA Great Barrier Reef with the event organisers seeking to fill a multitude of volunteer positions.

Significantly more than 2000 people had direct involvement in the 2019 event with a further 40,000 spectators attending TARGAFest, TARGA Expo and the competition stages on Far North Queensland’s unique roads.

TARGA Great Barrier Reef is the second leg of the three-round Motorsport Australia TARGA Championship that begins with the time-honoured TARGA Tasmania in late April and concludes with TARGA High Country based at Mt Buller in Victoria in November.


TARGA launches powerful 2020 rebrand

The biggest revamp undertaken in the history of TARGA will take its suite of industry-leading tarmac rally events to the next level.

A comprehensive overhaul of TARGA’s brand and business strategy will target growth in new competitors and spark greater appeal for the fan base of the iconic TARGA Tasmania, TARGA Great Barrier Reef and TARGA High Country events.

A year on from the acclaimed Dutton Group purchasing TARGA, the brand recently commissioned an extensive in-house analysis that will now see a fresh business path and marketing direction.

The business known previously as Targa Australia will make way for a brand new name, TARGA, which will incorporate a powerful new logo that re-enforces the unique tarmac rally discipline while acknowledging the rich history and heritage of the brand.

While TARGA is adopting a more modern and contemporary look, it has a clear mission that will deliver the Ultimate Tarmac Rally experience for competition entrants, and become the must-have driving experience for car enthusiasts and fans.

TARGA is committed to investing in customer experiences, starting with streamlining the rules to enable competitors to have greater freedom and more choice.

Importantly this investment will make it easier for new competitors to participate and also transform the business into a more user-friendly fan experience.

The new structure recognises the historical significance of the competition classes while also giving added weight to the burgeoning numbers of motoring enthusiasts who want to drive their cars on closed roads.

The TARGA Competitions brand ambition is to be the bona fide leader in unique rally events while TARGA Tours aims to be the ultimate driving getaway.

Central to the new TARGA focus is a completely redesigned website, TARGA logo, refreshed event logos and more streamlined and clear social media presence across all the major platforms.

The TARGA website will provide comprehensive course outlines, entry lists and Australian TARGA Championship points table.

“The past year was an incredible year of change at TARGA and it’s now time to really focus our efforts, with the first step being a major rebrand and well overdue update of our customer facing website,” TARGA chief executive Mark Perry said.

“These updates are a small reflection of the big changes we’re making across the company to better serve our customers.”

TARGA’s business and marketing restructure comes soon after confirmation that TARGA Tasmania (April 27-May 2) will see the longest competitive course in the famed event’s history. 

TARGA Tasmania will feature 39 stages over 626 kilometers that will include two brand new stages and a recall of several discontinued tests.


2019 Modern Outright results now confirmed

The results of the 2019 CAMS Australian TARGA Championship are now official.

The positions of Modern Outright had remained provisional following TARGA High Country last November.

Paul Stokell and Kate Catford (2014 Lotus Exige 350) compiled 389 points to claim the title over Tasmanian’s Jason and John White (2016 Dodge Viper) who finished on 240 points.

Motorsport Australia confirmed the results after protests were dismissed following the final round at Mt Buller.


Stokell and Downey secure prestigious CAMS awards

Tasmanian raised Paul Stokell is adopting a no-risk approach as he attempts to cap off a signature season at the 10th anniversary TARGA High Country from November 8 to 10.

The Brisbane-based Stokell is coming off a highly successful year highlighted by a maiden win in the flagship TARGA Tasmania six months ago.

A former highly decorated circuit racer, Stokell has combined seamlessly with the experienced co-driver Catford for the last three events (runner-up at TARGA North West, won TARGA Tasmania, runner-up TARGA Great Barrier Reef).

“Kate hasn’t missed a beat and has been well and truly up to the job,” Stokell appraised.

“Even when it is wet and slippery and a bit hairy on some stages she doesn’t get thrown.

“It’s a credit to her and is very good at what she does.”

Stokell has taken heart that his 2014 Lotus Exige Sport 350, upgraded this year with a new supercharger package, is closer to the outright speed of his chief rival Jason White, driver of the 2016 Dodge Viper alongside uncle John White.

At the North Queensland event in early September, Stokell managed to edge the Viper in dry conditions on the Gillies Range and Little Mulgrave stages on the opening day.

“It was the first time we took him on a level playing field and beat him in the dry so I was pretty happy with our performance,” Stokell said.

“I think we are in a pretty comfortable position (going into High Country) providing we stay on the road.

“I’m not going to do anything silly. It’s pretty achievable for us.

“I guess when you are pushing for a podium the risks go up a bit.

“But I’ll push as much as we are comfortable without making mistakes and see where that leaves us.

“The High Country roads probably don’t suit us as much as other events.

“It’s not ideal but we will see how we go.”

Victorian Matt Close, who has netted a couple of High Country wins and is a regular competitor at the event, will run a brand-new Porsche 911 GT3 in lizard green livery.

Close and co-driver Cameron Reeves are yet to test the new Porsche however it essentially is running the same suspension as his previous GT3 in which he finished second behind the White Viper at High Country last year.

In outright classifications last year at TARGA High Country, Close was runner-up to the White Viper while Stokell was sixth.

Mick Downey and Jarrod Van Den Akker are favourites to defend their 2018 High Country crown in Classic GT after a solid year.

Similarly Luke Anear and Alan Stephensen have been strong all year in GT4 and are keen to erase memories of their DNF at the Mt Buller event last year.

In Early Modern, the season’s form driver Will Gordon will be joined by new co-driver Kelly Handley as he seeks to continue his class-leading edge.

Classic Handicap is always an intriguing battle with top contender Nik Prieston joined by Stephanie Esterbauer in his 1975 Fiat Abarth 131 Rallye.

Last year’s High Country handicap runners-up Peter Gluskie and Sam Winter will prove stiff competition to the Fiat after strong form in their brilliantly competitive BMW E30 325i.

Mitchell and Darryl Ringuet (2017 Lotus Exige Sport 350) and Anthony and Sandra Seymour (2013) have waged a fierce battle all season and are set to continue their fight in GT Sports Trophy)

Peter and Tristan Taylor are in the box seat to defend their High Country title from last year in the penalty-based TSD Sports Trophy category.

The ever popular Street Stage and TargaFest is scheduled to be held at Mansfield from 3pm on Saturday, November 9.

Check Road Closures and Opening Times across the three-day event.