11th year of tarmac rallying for Quit Targa West
Photo: Bruce Hawley's R34 GTR competing in Quit Targa West 2014. Photo Credit: Manolo Photography
This year marks the 11th year of the Quit Targa West, for some of those first competitors in 2005 it was where the addiction to tarmac rallying began, and they have not missed a year since.
Bruce Hawley has competed in all eleven events, starting off as a motorsport novice in the Challenge category, a speed-limited category for showroom style non-caged vehicles, for five years before stepping up to the Competition category.
“I was very new to motorsport at the first Targa. I came back from spending 20 years as a professional engineer working in and around South-East Asia, which prompted my brothers to put the pressure on me saying ‘you’ve missed out on too many years of having fun so get yourself into Targa West, it is starting this year’,” said Hawley.
“The first car I used in Targa West was an open-top Cobra replica. That was in the good old days where you could race in a car without a roof. Although, the memories of that was it was bloody cold, and when the pace notes get wet you just have to guess where you are going.”
The Cobra is a very different vehicle to the Nissan R34 GTR that has been Bruce’s competition car for the past seven years.
“That’s been the biggest change throughout the years, going from sort of having nothing in the car, to the latest technology of video cameras and Rallysafe. The organisers know where you are every minute of the day - which is good from a safety point of view, but no good if you want cheat!” jokes Hawley.
“I have two brothers and nephews who also compete periodically, it’s a bit of a family affair. A first for this year for me will be that my step-son will be in the navigator’s seat, he’s very keen.”
Family seems to be a common theme this year, with fellow 11 year competitor Tolley Challis also introducing what could possibly be the next generation of Targa competitor to the sport.
“This year we are using a Triumph TR7 V8 which is a car that I have had for a long time. I’m literally just entering for fun this year because my 17-year old daughter will be co-driving for me. She has never done any motorsport before, but has shown some interest. We’ll have a go and hopefully it all goes smoothly,” said Challis.
“I had never competed in a tarmac rally before I did my first Targa West. I’ve been a gravel rally driver since the mid 80’s and I’ve competed in events such as Rally Australia, the Western Australian Rally Championship and Malaysia, so most of my rally up until then had been off-road. When Targa West came up I thought, ‘right we’ll just put some tarmac tyres on our gravel rally car and we’ll go and see what happens.’
“My most memorable Targa year would be 2010. It was the first year we won the Classic category outright which gave us a win in the Australian Championship as well.”
Both Hawley and Challis say the social aspect of the Targa West event is one of the things that keep them coming back.
“The social aspect of Targa is a highlight. Sometimes it does get all a little bit heavy duty because it is very competitive, but the camaraderie among competitors is fantastic,” said Challis.
“Both myself and my wife really enjoy the social side of Targa West. We’ve made some really good friends – especially Jim Richards who is part of my team, and the GTi Racing Team who handle our servicing,” said Hawley.
The 11th year of Targa West will also be the first for some competitors such as South Australian team David McDonough and co-driver Lyn Wilson.
“We have no idea what to expect from the Quit Targa West, except serious fun,” said McDonough.
“It’s been eight years since we last did a tarmac rally event. We’ve competed in the Rally of Tasmania in our 1970 Ford Capri Perena and were quite successful in the Classic category, but unfortunately that event is no more so we thought we’d have a go at Targa West instead.
“It’s been a very long time between tarmac events for us.”
Quit Targa West entrants will tackle 34 stages and 250 competitive kilometres in and around Wanneroo, Malaga, Whiteman Park, Kalamunda, Toodyay, Lower Chittering, Bullsbrook and Perth City from August 13 to 16.
Perth’s car enthusiasts will be given plenty of opportunity to see the rally vehicles up close with the Ceremonial Start in Forrest Place on Thursday August 13 from 11am to 2pm, Northbridge car display on Friday August 14 from 6pm to 9pm, and the City of Perth Super Stages including the Perth City Sprint and the Shannons Classics in the Park on Sunday 16th August.
For more information on 2015 Quit Targa West entries, road closures, event program and spectator locations please refer to www.targawest.com.au.
The 2015 Quit Targa West is proudly sponsored by Healthway and the Quit message.
Photo: Tolley Challis competing last year at the 2014 Quit Targa West in a Mitsubishi Evo. Photo Credit: Manolo Photography