Racing to rally – Make Smoking History Targa West

Racing to the start line are 64 West Australian tarmac rally drivers who’ll take to the streets of Perth for the 17th Make Smoking History Targa West from 16th to 19th September.

The State’s best rally drivers are all confirmed entrants including reigning champion Mark Greenham (Forrestfield) in his winning 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, Will White (Dardanup) who finished second last year in his 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer and Jeffrey Foster (Bicton) in his 2019 Porsche 911 who took third last year.

The 2018 winner of the Modern Category, Peter Rullo (Gooseberry Hill), will be competing in his 13th Targa West event and will be looking to repeat that success in his 2020 SSC Lotus Exige against formidable rivals in four times winner Steve Jones (Attadale) in his 2008 Nissan R35 GTR, David Heaton (Dalkeith) in a 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS, Mark Cates (Bunbury) in his 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, and the WA State Rally Champion on gravel, John O’Dowd (Gooseberry Hill) who has bought a new car for tarmac rallying, a 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 RS purchased from racing great Jim Richards.

Mark Greenham / Steph Esterbauer. Photo: CMR Photographic

In the Classic Category, last year’s winner and one of Targa West’s greatest competitors, Simon Gunson (Bibra Lake) will again be in his 1971 Ford Capri Perana racing against Tim Wolfe in his 1974 Porsche 911, Paul Pernechele (Gidgegannup) in his 1971 Ford Falcon XY, and Simon Lingford (Hillarys) in his London to Sydney Marathon car, 1973 Datsun 240Z that’ll be amongst a great range of classic cars.

There are 15 rookies racing the clock this year, which is close to a quarter of the total field including teenager Max McRae who is following in the footsteps of his father Alister and uncle and rally champion, the late Colin McRae.

Event Director Ross Tapper says that the strong competitor list is a testament to sport.

“We feel fortunate that we’re able to hold events while the rest of the world grapples with the pandemic,” Mr Tapper says.

“It’s safe to say that West Australian competitors are making the most of it with all of our State’s top rally drivers in the entry list, which means tough competition and a great show for spectators.”

Simon Gunson / Peter Morley.  Photo: Murray Armenti

Highlights for spectators at the 2021 Make Smoking History Targa West include the new ceremonial start venue at the Supreme Court Gardens from 10.30am to 12.15pm on Thursday 16th September, and the hugely popular Ellenbrook street stages from 5pm Thursday night that also includes a jaw-dropping display of drift cars. On Friday, Kalamunda and Zig Zag stages are crowd favourites and the rally cars will later be on display at the Northbridge Show ‘n’ Shine on Friday night. On Saturday, the Toodyay, Chittering and Bullsbrook stages are loved by spectators for their speed, and on Sunday, crowds line the streets of the industrial areas of Malaga for the street stages that includes the crazy D1WA Drift Cars, followed by the City of Perth stages along Riverside Drive and then the podium finish with the winners and the traditional champagne spray.

Also on Sunday from 10am is the City Sprint, and on Langley Park and along Riverside Drive, a mega display of racing cars, hot rods, classics, muscle cars, vintage cars, exotic cars motorbikes, go-karts and everything in between at the Celebration of Motorsport and Shannons Classics on the Swan. Best of all, it’s all free entry.

Competitors start the Make Smoking History Targa West at 30 second intervals, with the winner being the fastest over all 37 stages, a total of 272 competitive kilometres, across four days.

It’s completely free to watch Western Australia’s premier tarmac rally, and there are plenty of spectator points to catch the fast-paced action.

Make Smoking History Targa West is owned by Targa West and is only possible thanks to a dedicated committee and an army of 500 volunteers.

D1WA Drift Cars. Photo: CMR Photographic


Thursday 16th September – City, Whiteman Park, Wanneroo, Ellenbrook

From 10.30am at the Supreme Court Gardens in the City of Perth, rally cars will be on display and then, with anticipation at an all-time high, competitors will be flagged off at 11.45am for the Ceremonial Start of the Make Smoking History Targa West.

From the city, competitors will make their way to Whiteman Park for two stages with action from 12.15pm to 3pm. Rally cars then go to Wanneroo Raceway for two stages from 3.35pm – 5.15pm.

The not-to-be-missed night street stage in Ellenbrook, Service Park and Community Fair is again expected to draw big crowds from 5.00pm to 8.00pm with the rally action starting at 6.15pm. About 7,000 people lined the streets last year as rally cars fanged through the centre of Ellenbrook – rally drivers love an audience!

Friday 17th September – Parkerville, Mundaring, Kalamunda, Northbridge

Cadet students from Mundaring Christian College will swap uniforms for high vis as they work as officials for Make Smoking History Targa West. Rally competitors will assemble at the school from 10am and do two runs of the Parkerville stage.

Competitors then head to nearby Mundaring and Kalamunda for two stages from 11.20am, and then at 12.40pm, Haynes Street in Kalamunda will become the rally’s Service Park and drivers and co-drivers will break for lunch and their crews get to work.

After lunch at 1.50pm, competitors tackle the famous Zig Zag stage – a favourite with drivers and spectators. Don’t forget there’s no parking so take the provided shuttle bus. Then onto the Hawaiian Shopping Centre Forrestfield Service Park at 4.15pm before competitors park their rally cars in Northbridge on James and Lake Streets for the annual Show ‘n’ Shine 6pm to 9pm.

Saturday 18th September – Toodyay, Chittering, Bullsbrook

Now called Serious Saturday, this is make or break for competitors. It’s the longest and hardest day of the Make Smoking History Targa West Rally when the competitors need to give it their all and finish the day well if they are to have a chance of a podium finish. It takes endurance in both man and machine to finish this day well with 14 stages and a total of 125 competitive kilometres in Toodyay, Chittering and Bullsbrook.

In Toodyay, you can see the cars up close and the crews at work in the Service Park at the Charcoal Lane Service Park at 9.20am, 11am and 1.10pm.

Spectators can follow the rally action with spectator points at Sandplain Road in Toodyay from 9.00am, Coondle West 10.30am and 12.20am, Toodyay at Racecourse Road 11.45am and 12.50pm and Timberden East at 2.00pm.

Then it’s the two 20-kilometre marathon stages in Chittering, Maryville Downs 1 and 2 starting at 2.40pm and 3.30pm respectively, after which competitors head to Bullsbrook for four more stages from 4pm and the final service for the day.

SUNDAY 25th October – Malaga, City – Riverside Drive and Langley Park

Sunday Fun Day has never been truer. Make Smoking History Targa West action starts in Malaga along closed roads in the Industrial Estate from 8.40am until 11.30am, which includes a demonstration with sideways skidding and smoking tyres by the D1WA Drift Cars.

Rally drivers will make their way into the City of Perth for grand finale, three short and sharp city stages along Riverside Drive starting at 1pm.

Also in the city is an epic display of hundreds of vehicles at the Shannons Classic on the Swan, a showcase of beautiful cars from yesteryear along Riverside Drive, and the Celebration of Motorsport on Langley Park featuring racing cars, bikes and go-karts and examples of all forms of Motorsport and interesting Speedway, Drags, Circuit Racing, Bikes, RC Cars, Dakar Trucks, Open Wheelers and Trade Displays.

There’ll be action all day Sunday in the city with the Targa City Sprint featuring exotic, historic and classic race cars, taking place concurrently from 9.30am along Riverside Drive between Victoria Avenue and Governors Avenue.

From 3.15pm, winners will take the podium and be presented with medals ahead of the traditional champagne spray on Riverside Drive, under the archway.

Download the Make Smoke History Targa West Spectator Guide here, includes more detailed information including times and maps.