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Targa Tasmania cancelled for 2023

The 2023 running of the famous Targa Tasmania tarmac rally has been officially cancelled, with its organisers also announcing a split with Motorsport Australia.

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The event had already been postponed from its traditional April slot to late October amid an ongoing safety review into tarmac rallying.

Motorsport Australia suspended permits for tarmac rally events until July 1 this year as it worked on the review and outlined a list of 94 recommendations including limits on average and terminal speeds, car performance and a new licensing structure.

The review was a response to four competitor deaths in the past two Targa Tasmania events.

Targa Australia, which runs Targa Tasmania and other tarmac rally events, had been hopeful that a clear direction on the future of the discipline would follow the July 1 deadline.

However with the review still ongoing, it has made the decision to officially cancel both the Targa Great Barrier Reef and Targa Tasmania events for this year.

“We have waited and been incredibly patient with the process but there are still a number of outstanding issues that are yet to be resolved,” said Targa CEO Mark Perry.

“Given we need certainty well in advance of running these events, we have no other choice other than to cancel our 2023 events.

“Competitors are also waiting on a clear direction of what the future looks like for them, so are rightly holding off on entering our events. This in turn has forced us to cancel our 2023 events, after postponing Targa Tasmania earlier in the year to hopefully give the process more time to be effectively implemented.

“We have sincerely tried as hard as we can to ensure the return of Targa this year. It is another sad day for everyone involved in Targa.

“We will now focus on an exciting return of Targa Tasmania in its traditional place on the calendar from 8 to 13 April 2024."

Frustration over the length of the review has also led to Targa Australia cutting its ties with Motorsport Australia.

The return of the event will come via different governance, which is not unknown territory for Targa. Its events were run under the Australian Auto Sport Alliance banner between 2007 and 2011 before returning to the Motorsport Australia fold.

“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,” added 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."

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