Barry Oliver | Targa is going troppo

TROPICAL TRACK: Targa Australia has just announced Targa Great Barrier Reef which like Targa Tasmania seeks to capitalise on the destination. Picture: Targa Australia
TROPICAL TRACK: Targa Australia has just announced Targa Great Barrier Reef which like Targa Tasmania seeks to capitalise on the destination. Picture: Targa Australia

On Thursday Targa Australia announced that Cairns would be the base for an exciting new event on the tarmac rally calendar to be known as Targa Great Barrier Reef.

The three-day event, which will be held on August 31 and September 1 and 2, will be round three of the 2018 CAMS Australian Targa Championship.

The inaugural event will cover a course surrounding Cairns, Innisfail, Port Douglas and the Atherton Tablelands with fifteen stages over 200 competitive kilometres.

Clerk of Course Hamish Marquis said this week there were some excellent sections of road for the competition, with the longest stage at thirty kilometres and the shortest being just under three kilometres.

The four-round championship will commence with the two-day Targa North West in Tasmania early in the year to be followed by the 27th running of the six-day Targa Tasmania in April before the teams head to Queensland for round three.

The final round of the championship will be the traditional three-day Targa High Country event in Victoria which has proved to be very popular with the competitors.

Targa Great Barrier Reef will start and finish each day in Cairns and there will be a Super Street stage on the Saturday night right in the heart of the city.

In addition there will be a Targa Fest in the city on Friday night to give spectators the opportunity to get up close to the cars and the teams while regional towns will host the lunch stop on each day.

With such a major event more than five hundred local officials and various community groups will be involved to ensure the event runs smoothly.

The extension of the CAMS Australian Targa Championship into Queensland was made possible through a three-year funding deal by Tourism and Events Queensland and the Cairns Regional Council with series organiser Targa Australia.

Queensland Tourism and Major Events Minister Kate Jones said she couldn’t wait to see Targa kick off in Northern Queensland.

“With the backdrop of the Great Barrier Reef this event will be an attractive proposition to Targa teams around the country.”

Targa Australia Director Mark Perry is excited with the expansion.

“The secret to the long-term success of Targa Tasmania is that it is a tourism destination event built around a passion for the motor vehicle,” Perry said.

“It attracts people and their cars from all around Australia and overseas, and it’s a format that sees the event travel to the fans, stopping at a number of towns along the way.

“It’s not just one town or one city that is the winner and our “stadium” covers thousands of square kilometres of iconic landscapes that will showcase the region to the world,” the former Targa Tasmania competitor said.

LOCAL HERO: Adam Garwood's Bathurst campaign has elevated him to outright fifth in the championship with one round remaining. Picture: Paul Scambler

LOCAL HERO: Adam Garwood's Bathurst campaign has elevated him to outright fifth in the championship with one round remaining. Picture: Paul Scambler

Garwood a Master

Launceston’s Adam Garwood had his most successful Touring Car Masters event in his short TCM career, finishing third overall at the Bathurst round last weekend.

Driving his Chevrolet-powered Holden Torana, Garwood qualified a very competitive fourth behind seasoned campaigners Steve Johnson, Adam Bressington and five-time TCM champion John Bowe.

In the reverse grid trophy race Garwood started 22nd and carved his way through the field to finish sixth, starting the next race from fourth to finish in that position.

The final race saw the teenager finish third behind Johnson and Bowe recording a fastest lap only eight-tenths-of-a-second slower than Bowe’s record lap.

The results meant he won the weekend’s Pro-Am class, backing up his first outright podium and elevating him to outright fifth in the championship with one round to go at the newly-constructed Newcastle street circuit.

“Overall I was very happy with the results and each time I went out I gained more confidence with the circuit layout which is very daunting,” Garwood said.

Garwood’s plans for next year may include a move to another category.