Targa Tasmania seeks Hobart street stage

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30: Targa Tasmania organisers are planning to introduce an exciting new showcase stage through the streets of Hobart as part of the 10th anniversary of the tarmac rally. Promoters Octagon Worldwide announced today it had...

TUESDAY, JANUARY 30: Targa Tasmania organisers are planning to introduce an exciting new showcase stage through the streets of Hobart as part of the 10th anniversary of the tarmac rally.

Promoters Octagon Worldwide announced today it had applied to the Hobart City Council for permission include a 1.7km course known as 'Salamanca' as one of the 54 stages in the Targa, which will be held from April 18-24.

Octagon's General Manager Tasmania, Rob McGuire, said if the application was successful, the stage in Hobart would be held around Salamanca Place and the wharf area on Sunday, April 22, in the late afternoon-twilight period from 4.30pm to 7pm.

"We want to take the cars and stars to the people," said McGuire.

"Targa covers virtually every part of Tasmania, and we feel that introducing a stage through the streets of Hobart would be tremendously popular and generate enormous attention for the State's biggest city."

"It would also help tourism because the area where we want to run the cars shows Hobart at its picturesque best, and that would be communicated to millions of people around the world via television and other media coverage."

Tasmanian Barry Oliver, who has partnered Jim Richards to four Targa victories in Porsches, today threw his support behind the proposed stage through the streets of Hobart.

"The concept sounds fantastic for the competitors and fans, and it would provide better spectator viewing for the people of Hobart," said Oliver.

"As a Tasmanian I'm very proud of the way Targa has developed over the years, but we need new things like this to keep the event moving forward and improving."

McGuire said Octagon was keen to develop the proposed 'Salamanca' stage so that it would be a focal point in Targa, and rival the popularity of Perth's Langley Park opening stage in Rally Australia.

"Langley Park is a prime example of how to draw big crowds and create extra excitement with a one-off stage in the city to compliment the rest of their rally," he said.

"I think we have the potential to do the same with Targa on the streets of Hobart."

McGuire said Octagon's proposal to Council covered the crucial issues of safety, road closures, traffic flow, and access for residents and traders.

He said there were plans to erect concrete safety barriers to cater for crowds of 20,000, and the stage could be conducted with roads being closed for only three-and-a-half hours.

"We would want to keep disruption to a minimum, and closing the roads for such a short time is not too much to ask when you compare it with Surfers Paradise being basically shut down for four days for their Indy grand prix race," said McGuire.

McGuire said Octagon had sought approval from the Council and the Hobart Ports Corporation to erect temporary grandstands, provide additional toilet facilities, and adequate car parking in the area for the stage.

He said that Octagon had also distributed information sheets to residents and businesses in the area to ensure they were fully briefed on the low levels of disruption and the commercial benefits for businesses.

"Sunday evening is traditionally a quiet time in Hobart, but a stage of Targa would create extra cash-flow for local restaurants, hotels, cafes, and other nearby shops," he said.

The proposed 'Salamanca' stage will start in Castray Esplanade, 50-metrwes north of the junction with Battery Square, continuing west along Castray Esplanade, then turning left into Montpelier Retreat before turning right into Salamanca Place. The course then turns right into Morrison Street, left into Elizabeth Street, and left into Davey Street.

Mike Porter

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About this article
Series Other rally
Drivers Jim Richards