AUS: Bathurst preparing to host East Coast Targa

The spiritual home of Australian Motor Racing, Mount Panorama, Bathurst will be the hub for the only closed public road tarmac rally conducted on the Eastern Seaboard, the East Coast Targa. During the four days of the 2004 event (October 27 to...

The spiritual home of Australian Motor Racing, Mount Panorama, Bathurst will be the hub for the only closed public road tarmac rally conducted on the Eastern Seaboard, the East Coast Targa.

During the four days of the 2004 event (October 27 to 30), the internationally acclaimed circuit will play host to a number of competitive stages for the most eclectic mix of road machinery ever gathered in Australia for an event of this type.

The vehicles range from a 1925 Bugatti Brescia, being campaigned by Anto and Ernest Molina, the sons of legendary Australian rally and race driver, Lou Molina, to a number of Australian GT-Performance race cars, Carrera Cup Cars and a 2004 Ferrari F360 Challenge Stradale, being imported especially for the event.

The Mount Panorama stages will perfectly complement the array of other special stages conducted on public roads (closed especially for the event) and on other well-known race circuits.

According to event Managing Director, Philip Griffin, a change in direction for this year's event will make it easier than ever for new entrants to participate in the East Coast Targa.

"As the East Coast Targa is a CAMS sanctioned event, all competitors are required to have a CAMS Licence to enter. To that end, we have instigated a 'Rookie Package' for this year's event. The package includes a special training and licensing day, along with supply and fitting of all necessary safety equipment required for them to enter the Touring Category. Fitting of the equipment will not require any cutting, bending or drilling on the car, so it will be a simple matter to return cars to their normal road-going state after the event, if desired."

"We are aiming to position the East Coast Targa as the most prestigious event of its type on the East Coast of Australia," Griffin stated. "With the stages we have planned in and around the Mount Panorama precinct, along with special stages that will be conducted at Eastern Creek Raceway, the Western Sydney International Dragway, Oran Park Raceway and, of course, over a great mix of closed public road stages (both fast and slow), competitors who enter the East Coast Targa will have a unique opportunity to explore their own and their car's capabilities."

Griffin was quick to point out though that the East Coast Targa isn't all about outright speed.

"There are two categories within the East Coast Targa event structure - the Competition Category is for competitors who wish to test the limits of their vehicles in attaining the shortest point-to-point time, whilst the Touring Category requires competitors to achieve preset maximum average speeds that the organisers have set for each specific stage. The winner is the team that consistently gets closest to the targeted speed. Whilst it won't be an out and out speed competition in the Touring Category, the target speeds will be set to give competitors the opportunity to put in a spirited drive, within the boundaries of the rules, which are based on common sense and safety issues"

Classic cars were the backbone of the East Coast Targa's predecessor, the East Coast Classic Rally and will continue with a very strong and valued presence at this year's event and in the future. Nevertheless, the organisers are keen to improve the number of modern cars that contest the rally.

"There are not many situations in which owners of some fine modern machinery get the opportunity to stretch the legs of their vehicles in a controlled environment over a period of time," Philip added. "The Modern Category is for any car manufactured after 1981 and already we have entries from some of the world's leading marques, including Porsche, Ferrari and BMW."

"We are keen to increase the numbers of high performance imports that are so popular in the marketplace at the moment, including the likes of WRXs, EVOs and GTRs. This also opens the event up to a new, younger audience."

The 2004 East Coast Targa is a CAMS sanctioned event and is run with the full co-operation of the NSW Police Service and all the local councils that will host the event stages.

-www.eastcoasttarga.com.au

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Series Other rally