This year’s Targa New Zealand tarmac motor rally – which starts in Taupo on Wednesday October 12 and finishes in Havelock North on Sunday October 16 will be a ‘leaner, fitter, faster’ affair.
After last year’s world-first 1000+km marathon over six days – and the 20th annual odyssey from Christchurch to Queenstown in 2014 also over six days – this year’s events returns to its roots with 663.5 kms of closed special stages linked by 970.3km of touring stages over four days.
Event Director Peter Martin says the response from existing and prospective competitors to this year’s ‘leaner, fitter, faster’ event has been ‘almost 100 percent positive’ with most agreeing that while cost is always a consideration, the biggest barrier to competing these days is finding the time.
“We’ve had the odd grumble but the feedback we’ve received so far has been very good, ‘ says Martin.
“Targa is still Targa, it’s an epic, roller-coaster of an event, one that’s still high on bucket lists the world over. It’s just that everyone – and here I’m not just talking competitors, I’m talking service crews, officials, volunteers, you name it – is under so much time pressure these days that fewer and fewer people have the luxury of contesting an event over the full five or six days.”
For similar reasons the event has also been brought forward a week.
Traditionally, Labour weekend marks the start of Targa New Zealand with documentation on the Monday and the event itself roaring into life the day after.
This year documentation is on Wednesday October 12 at Taupo’s Bruce McLaren Motorsport Park with parc ferme overnight at the Wairakei Resort and the event proper leaving Taupo at 7.00am on Thursday morning for a first overnight stop at Ohakune.
Leg two on Friday takes the field from Ohakune to Palmerston North, Leg three on Saturday from Palmerston North via the Gentle Annie road to Havelock North, before Sunday’s final leg in and around Hawke’s Bay, complete with ceremonial finish back in Havelock North and prize giving that evening at the Hawke’s Bay Opera House in Hastings.
Finally, no Targa event would be the same without a milestone to mark and celebrate and this year’s is no different.”
“That’s right,” says Martin,’ it all started when we were putting the stats together for the South Island event in 2014. That was the 20th annual Targa New Zealand. Last year’s back in North Island was the 21st and – if you add up all the other one, two and three day, Bambina, Dash, North Island, Rotorua, Sprint and Tauranga events – this year’ Targa New Zealand is the 50th Targa event run in this country so we thought that was something worth noting and celebrating.”
Targa New Zealand events are organised with the support of sponsors AndrewSimms.co.nz, Chicane Racewear, Ecolight, Global Security, Kids In Cars, Metalman.co.nz, NZ Classic Car magazine, Race Brakes, Racetech, TeamTalk, TrackIt and VTNZ.