New Targa a Tasmanian success story
The latest Targa offering, Targa High Country, might be based on Victoria's Mt Buller, but it is an all-Tasmanian production and, if Jason White has his way, it will boast a Tasmanian champion as well.
The new event is the third Targa tarmac rally run by the Hobart office of Octagon Australia, and is the first of a new national series, the Australian Targa Championship, which will take in January's Targa Wrest Point and in April, Targa Tasmania.
The successful motorsport formula developed over the past 20 years through the iconic Targa Tasmania is now a key export product for the state. But importantly it is more than just a concept being taken to a new location, it is a mass movement of people and their expertise.
Should White conquer the roads in Victoria's north east to stand on top of the winner's podium on Sunday, November 7, there will be plenty of his local fans on hand to cheer him on, as an incredible 98 per cent of the people running Targa High Country are Tasmanians.
The Burnie driver has his sights set on the championship title, and is considered by most good judges as the man to beat in his magnificent 2009 Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera.
Series Director, Mark Perry, who runs the Hobart office of Octagon, believes that the state should be proud of the series it has been able to nurture.
"The movement of personnel across Bass Straight for Targa High Country is huge, but we know that we are best to take the people and skills from here to this new location, because we have to get it right first time," Perry said.
"So we are really moving the Targa Tasmania team to Mt Buller for the weekend. All our key command officials, our course controllers, results and competitor officials are from Tasmania. The safety team is Burnie-based, while our media operation comes from Launceston.
"The logistics in running these events is huge. As a company we can't afford to be re-inventing the wheel, so the best thing we can do is take the operation that makes Targa Tasmania a success with us wherever we go.
"Interestingly, other tarmac rallies have failed in recent times, most noticeably Classic Adelaide, so we are onto a good formula and we're not going to mess with it."
White became the newly crowned king of tarmac rallies when he secured the 2010 Targa Tasmania with his uncle, John White, in the co-driver's seat.
He knows a victory would be the icing on the cake for a Tasmanian success story.
"The new event should be a great challenge, and I'm really looking forward to it," he said.
"Mt Buller is a great place to base a rally, and with the selection of roads on offer over the three days, it should provide great competition."
"Our aim is to win every rally we enter, but a new event always throws up new challenges and we just hope that we can overcome those challenges better than everyone else and try to be the first to get our names on the Targa High Country Trophy," White added.
Targa High Country consists of eight competitive stages each day, heading north to Wangaratta via Whitfield on the Saturday, and to Eildon via Jamieson on Sunday. Each day will end with a 16-kilometre stage up Mt Buller. A 3.5 kilometre stage around the streets of Mansfield will kick off the event at 5pm on Friday November 5.