Targa Tasmania volunteers are ‘there for the love of it’

Targa Tasmania has been running for 27 years, and public event manager David Howlett has volunteered for 20 of them.

Mr Howlett said he first got involved with Targa through a friend.

“I was trying to get into motorsport marshalling and volunteering and he was one of the senior team members back then, so he asked me to come along,” he said.

“I did traffic management, loved being around all the cars, and from there I just got hooked on it.”

Mr Howlett said he’s continued volunteering due to his love for the event.

“We’re all volunteers, so we’re not there being paid, we’re just there for the love of it and the enjoyment of it,” he said.

“It’s interesting because a lot of competitors don’t realise that we volunteer.

“That’s just an amazing thing, to get 700 or 800 volunteers to come along and spend their time and money to do something like this just to see the smile on the competitors faces.”

Mr Howlett said, despite having many fond memories from his time volunteering, there were two that stood out the most.

“For a few years I worked as a stage director, so basically every day you run a stage in a different part of Tasmania with about 13 or 14 other people in a roving team,” he said.

“That was always good fun because you’d be spending the night at a hotel somewhere and go out and reminisce about what happened for the day.

“It’s just great to see different parts of Tassie, and the cars, and just be around the people you enjoy being around as well.

“I really enjoyed being in the course car as well, being able to actually go out there and drive the stages and see what the competitors see.”

To mark his two decades of volunteering, Mr Howlett is set to receive his 20-year official award this year.

“Two years ago, Targa celebrated it’s 25th anniversary. So as of this year, it’s only been running for 27 years,” he said.

“So [volunteering for 20 years] is fairly long, but we do have some officials who would have done the 25 years two years ago and are still around.”

With his love for volunteering for Targa still going strong, Mr Howlett said he had no plans to stop anytime soon.

“I’ve got a wife and two young kids, and spending my leave going away with Targa is sort of not ideal,” he said.

“But like I said, it’s like a family environment. As long as I keep feeling that family vibe, I’ll keep volunteering.”

  • Targa Tasmania will run from April 16 to 21, from Holwell to Longley.

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