Targa Tasmania 2015

One of the most renowned events in Tassie is Targa Tasmania, a race that's been running for more than 20 years. It's just one branch of the Australian Targa Championship, a motorsport competition that also takes place in Adelaide, High Country and Wrest Point.

It takes its name from the Targa Florio; however, the race was designed to combine all the best features of the Coupe des Alpes, Tour de Corse and Mille Miglia as well as the Targa Florio. The Tasmania instalment is the last of the four rounds of the larger tournament, and the winner takes home the coveted Australian Targa Championship title. 


You don't have to be a race car driver to take part in the excitement - spectators are welcome to come and cheer on their favourite competitors and celebrate with other fans as the winner crosses the finish line. In 2015, the event takes place April 27 through May 2 on an extensive course that spans the entire island. Prepare yourself for an exhilarating experience by learning about the highlights of the event:


The Course

The Targa Tasmania course, known as the Ultimate Tarmac Rally, winds and weaves its way all around the island. Some 300 cars travel more than 2,000 kilometres on closed roads. The six-day event is made up of several parts. Throughout the six legs and 40 stages of the race, drivers will pass through dozens of cities, including Oldina, Murchison, Roseberry,Tarraleah, Mount Black, Longford, Moorina, Strahan and Queenstown.


The Format

Thousands of drivers enter for the chance to compete in Targa Tasmania, but only 300 actually make the cut. The race is divided into several categories depending on the type of car that each driver uses. The Vintage Rallye is exclusive to the Tasmania instalment of the Targa competitions, and it's intended for vehicles made before 1947. Cars in this division are also sectioned off into classes according to their modification levels and engine capacities.


The Regularity category is made for cars manufactured in the 20th and 21st centuries, while the Rookie Rallye (which is also exclusive to Tasmania) is designed specifically for people who have never competed in a Targa race. There's also a showroom category as well as showroom sports and 4WD. Other divisions include Modern, Classic Florio, Modern Muscle Car and Early Modern as well as Early Classic and Late Classic handicaps.


The Winners

Each driver who completes the race is awarded a finisher's medallion; however, competitors who complete all of the stages within a pre-set time limit will also get a special Targa plate. Once a winner receives thee plates in three consecutive years, he or she takes home a golden Targa trophy. Three more and the racer receives a platinum trophy, while someone who wins nine years in three consecutive periods wins a diamond trophy.


The greatest achievement one can get is the Hall of Fame Legend status, which requires five sets of three plates. Seven people hold Legend status: Reg Kenny Robert Edwards, Barry Oliver, Jim Richards, Glenn Ridge, Neville Smith and Greg Cook, though dozens more racers are also recognised in the Hall of Fame.


What Else to do in Tasmania

As you follow the follow the course and make your way through Tasmania, you may find yourself with down time that you can use to explore the island. It's a small destination by both population and size, but there's plenty to keep you intrigued and entertained. The waterfront serves as the hot spot for locals and tourists alike - people gather here to swim, fish, soak up some sun and grab a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants lining the coast. For a more intense experience with nature, stop by Mount Field National Park, which attracts people with its gorgeous setting full of majestic mountains, tranquil lakes and rushing waterfalls as well as dense rainforest and thriving wildlife.


While you're in Tasmania, take some time to discover the rich history of the area. Port Arthur Historic Site, for example, is an old convict site where you can stroll through more than 30 buildings to see restored homes and ruins while learning about the role this penal settlement had on the island's heritage. After that, head to Hobart for a visit to Salamanca Place, a row of sandstone warehouses that let you feel like you're stepping back in time to the colonial era. Other sites worth stopping by include the Moorilla Estate in Berriedale, Maria Island National Park just east of Orford and Cataract Gorge in Launceston.


*Banner Image from Tom Reynolds

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