Ross Tapper awarded Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in 2021 Australia Day Honours List

Rally supremo Ross Tapper awarded Order of Australia Medal

 Ross Tapper, owner of Targa West Events, has been awarded an Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to motorsport in the Australia Day Honours.

Mr Tapper’s career in motorsport administration spans close to 45 years.

He has been Clerk of Course in over 250 events including motorkhana, autocross, rallysprint, and national, state and club rallies including the Forest Rally, Rally of Melbourne, Rally Tasmania, Rally Calder and Australasian Safari.

In 1988, Mr Tapper was Assistant Clerk of Course for Safety in the country’s first round of the World Rally Championship, Rally Australia, a role he performed until 1994.

He has been a Clerk of Course for at least one round of the WA State Rally Championship or Australian Rally Championship every year since 1978, and in May he will be Clerk of Course for WA’s round of the ARC Forest Rally held in Bunbury and Nannup, for the 32nd time.

Mr Tapper has run tarmac rally Targa West in Perth for 16 years, has been chairman of the WA Rally Advisory Panel for 12 years, President of the WA Car Club for 20 years in three separate stints, was named WA State Official of the Year in 2015 and in that same year inducted into the Australia Rally Hall of Fame and given Lifetime Membership to Motorsport Australia (previously CAMS).

Mr Tapper said that the OAM has taken him by surprise.

“I feel very humbled and equally very pleased that someone from a non-mainstream sport can be recognised for their contribution to a sport they love,” Mr Tapper said.

“Running rallies is not a one-man-show and I certainly couldn’t have done any of this without the friendship and support of many officials, competitors and service crews, and especially my number one supporter, my wife Jan.

L-R: Alan Tapper, Max & Linda Chesterfield, Jan & Ross Tapper

“My love of rallying doesn’t come from liking cars, in fact, it’s the opposite – I don’t pop open a bonnet and get excited at the shiny bits.

“What makes it so rewarding are the friendships formed, many that have lasted decades and continue on to this day. That, and bringing together a gazillion moving parts that make up a motorsport event – approvals, competitors, officials, all of it, and overseeing everything so events run safely and smoothly.

“I am so fortunate that I’ve been able to turn a hobby into a long and fulfilling career, it’s been amazing.

“When I reflect back, I feel truly grateful to do what I love and love what I do, every day I’m surrounded by friends and good people.

“I’m living proof that motorsport is addictive, whether you’re behind the wheel or not, before one event is over, I’m already planning the next.”

There’s no talk of retirement or slowing down, Mr Tapper, 63, is deep in the throes of planning the next rally, the Auto One Targa Albany Sprint on February 28 and March 1, which he has expanded from one event last year into three events this year.

Introduced to motorsport by his father in the 1950s, Mr Tapper joined the WA Car Club in 1975 and the following year started rally driving in a Galant. His first foray organising a rally was three years later in 1978 for which he received the Director of the Year Award.

Ross in his Galant during the 1984 Rock Inn Rally

Mr Tapper was sent overseas by the FIA to officiate and train in Japan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, and his long list of awards and accolades includes Lifetime Membership of the WA Car Club.

The WA Rally Community congratulates Mr Tapper on an outstanding career and the much-deserved Order of Australia Medal.


UPDATE ON OUR 2020 PLANS (as at 6/4/2020)

Firstly, we hope that you, your family, and your loved ones are all healthy, and remain so.

Aside from the funny memes circulating, there is one other thing that the Corona Virus has shown us and that is that planning for the future is difficult.  The rules are going to change…often.

We all need to remain flexible, but we thought we would give you an update on our plans as they currently sit to allow you to do some future planning of your own.

Saturday – 8th August 2020

Obviously we have no idea what restrictions, if any, will still be in place in August, however we have decided to plan for a ONE DAY Targa South West, on Saturday 8th August 2020.

  • The Shire of Manjimup cancelled all events for 6 months (now 5 months) so we may just be lucky running in August
  • No activities on the Friday, allowing people to finish work then travel to Pemberton and be ready for a Saturday morning Driver’s briefing
  • 125km Competitive (only 5km less than the 2019 total)
  • No Manjimup town stage, and no Kurandra either
  • Instead, 3 x Pump Hill and 2 x Gloucester Short (replaces Diamond Tree) will be added to Saturday’s normal itinerary
  • Dinner – to be decided depending on restrictions in place at the time
  • A one day event allows for teams to make a leisurely trip home Sunday and be back in Perth for work on Monday…presuming we all have work to got to!

POSTPONED until late 2020. Date to be confirmed.

The City of Bunbury have cancelled all events for the next 6 months meaning our June event is postponed.  Given we are running Targa West in October it is likely the Targa Bunbury Sprint will run in November or December.

The advantage of course is that it is unlikely that rain will be an issue 🙂 Hands up who would prefer a balmy summers afternoon in Bunbury instead of cold and rain?

Obviously heat could be a consideration, however to mitigate that we are investigating whether we start on Saturday afternoon and run into the evening, with the final runs being in the dark.  We may need to put up a couple of lighting towers on selected corners to complement the existing street lighting, but running at night would bring a fresh new element to what is already a very popular event.

We would be interested in your thoughts on running in the afternoon/evening.

22nd – 25th October 2020

We have received verbal approval from our stakeholders to run Targa West from the 22nd – 25th October and planning is well under way for the new dates.

Additions for 2020 being planned include a new stage at Wanneroo after Whiteman Park and before Ellenbrook, however this means Muchea will not run.  On Friday morning we will do two runs over the popular Parkerville stage and the Kalamunda Service Park returns to Haynes Street albeit only once, but for a slightly longer lunch break.

Timberden makes a return for 2020, at the expense of Coondle Highlands, and a number of the Saturday stages will be run in the reverse direction (eg Harvester) or will have a new layout (eg Maryville).  On Sunday, Malaga will also be rejigged just for something different before the grand finale in the City of Perth.

Maps and Itinerary are available now on and the DRAFT Road Books will be available soon.

The Celebration of Motorsport and Shannons Classics on the Park will hopefully be bigger than ever with many dusting off their cars for their first post COVID outing.

Without wanting to jinx ourselves, the October date should ensure we have a dry event.

As frustrating as the current restrictions are the seriousness of this pandemic, not only medically but economically, will be felt for many years to come and we encourage you all to do the right thing.  Practice good social distancing, wash your hands and stay at home…in your garage preparing your car for August or October!

So, there you have it, that’s our plans as of this afternoon, naturally subject to movement restrictions being lifted, and we hope to see many of you at some stage in the future once the world returns to our new “normal”.

Stay Safe and healthy!

Ross, Jan and David
6th April 2020


Targa West on a Budget…how to win the Best Fun Trophy (Part 2)

Targa West on a Budget…how to win the Best Fun Trophy – Part 2
by Andy van Kann (Car #92)

This article is based on a Euro spec Honda Type R Model FN2 (2007 to 2011), not because its necessarily the best Fun for $$, but because I know the car very well!

Firstly, I should repeat what I said in my Article 1. This is not about winning or even getting into the top half of the field. It is about Fun for $$. Lots and lots and lots of fun for $$. Low investment and low maintenance. The name of this game is to have fun and to KEEP having fun.

Base Car: Honda FN2 Type R 2007 to 2011. Try to stay away from VIN 2007 like mine because Targa Australia GT2 requires VIN after 1 Jan 2008… and GT2 will increase the value of your car to sell to Tasmania! Expect to pay 10k for a roughy, 15k for a mid-fielder and 20k for that elusive plum. Normal rules… service history, no crash history, low km if possible (although mine had 172,000km before I started rallying it!).

Department of Transport and CAMS: Initially, lets stay totally A Reg compliant (ie normal road registration) with no CAMS Log Book. This does mean we are restricted to Targa 130 but I would recommend at least a year in this Category anyway.

Safety: The standard seats are great. They were developed and built by non-other than Recaro specifically for the Euro spec Type R. Lovely. In any case, you can’t change them and remain A Reg as they have SRS Airbags integrated in them. The standard seat belts are fine. Obviously get all the mandatory bits and bobs like Fire Extinguisher (make sure it has a metal bracket), Triangles, First Aid, Oil Absorb, SOS/OK, Window hammer etc etc. You will also need to spend $190 on a Rally Safe Installation kit.

Stop!! The Type R standard brakes are perfectly fine, even for Targa 165 and certainly for Targa 130. Don’t stress about the single pot floaters. They are fine! And DON’T replace the standard Honda rotors. They are better than the competition Australian stuff! Get a set of Hawke pads or Ferodo DS3000. And leave the ABS standard…it is brilliant!

Suspension: The standard set up is Showa, a Honda owned company, and is perfectly fine… even after 170,000 km. Eibach do a lovely set of high quality camber bolts which will get you about 2 deg negative on the front which is enough. Whiteline do a lovely adjustable front sway bar which is easy to install. DON’T install the Whiteline rear bar… rear sway stiffness is the last thing we want!! If you want to spoil yourself with some shiny blue bits get a Hard Race bush kit… and then borrow my special tools to install them!! These minor changes are very inexpensive and should not attract any “A Reg” attention and will make the car even sweeter to drive.

Transmission: unfortunately, Honda let the team down with the FN2 Type R… it comes with an open diff. Yuk! Its predecessors the Integra DC2 and DC5 Type R’s had slippy’s (Limited Slip Diff)… but alas not the FN2. You can stay open initially, but you will need to be gentle on any 1st and 2nd gear exists (Real Chicanes, Kwinana, Bunbury, Whiteman, Zig Zag, Malaga, City of Perth, Pemberton Town, Manjimup Town stages). But I recommend you spend $1200 on a Cusco or Kaaz 1.5 LSD. I did. The gearbox ratios are fine. Honda cleverly run 1 to 5 quite close and a massive step to 6th for cruising… which you never use in the stages. The final drive ratio is fine. Standard clutch is fine but maybe put a new organic Exedy in if you do remove the box to install the LSD. Again, all A Reg friendly.

Engine: Perfectly fine standard. Maybe lash out and buy a K&N filter element! The standard K20Z4 engine is gorgeous. Spins happily to 8500 all day. And sounds awesome!

Cockpit: get a Monit G trip meter. It is a GPS trip meter so no wiring. Light and easy to mount with Velcro or a RAM Mount! And don’t forget an intercom compatible with whatever helmet brand you decide. If possible, get a 9v battery unit to eliminate any interference from the ugly noise on the Honda CAN BUS. Get a RAM Mount for the Rally Safe. IMPORTANT: anything mounted in the cockpit MUST be outside of the SRS air bag explosion path!! Be careful!!

Wheels: you will need 2 extra wheels for spares. Fortunately for you, I have a shed full of them!

Tyres: Ouch! 18 inch. This is going to hurt. I suggest you start with a set of Hankook as they are very good value for money. Or talk to me for some second hand Dunlops. Also keep an eye on the various face book groups for some second hand Yoky’s. The good news is that if you get medium compound, a set of tyres on a Type R will easily last you 2 x Targa South West plus 2 x Targa West. But… if you also do Bunbury and Kwinana then expect to use another set of front tyres.

Now its time to go rallying!! Obviously, you will need your personal safety gear required for Targa 130 (wait for the 2019 rules first!) and a CAMS Level 2 Licence. But other than that, you can now go and have the best Fun for $$ of anyone in Targa with the possible exception of my Type R!!

For the record, what I listed above is exactly how I ran my Type R for its first year of Targa South West and Targa West. Since then, I have spent some more money on it which you can also plan to do AFTER you have had some initial fun. But be aware the next steps take you away from A Reg! But you can also keep using it exactly as it is. Just do regular oil changes and brake pad changes and drive it as hard as you wish. It’s a Honda.

Extra bits on my Type R (not essential for the Fun factor!!) but which require a CAMS Log Book and dedicated Rally B Registration.

– Hard Race Suspension
– Close ratio synchro Gear kit with matching final drive (not allowed under GT2 spec)
– competition exhaust system
– Monoblock Spoon calipers
– remapped ECU (don’t buy the Hondata OBDII programming unit as you are welcome to borrow mine including the maps)

And if you want to progress to Targa 165 (like me) or Targa 200 (and join the Kamikaze’s)

– Velo Seats
– 6-point harness’s
– full weld in cage

Have fun. And best of all, between me and Ducky (Geoff Duckworth) we can answer most of your FN2 Type R questions!!

Footnote: We are awaiting on a few crucial “To Be Confirmed” rules from CAMS for Targa 130 for 2019. Firstly, are FHR compulsory? Secondly, will CAMS introduce compulsory Type 2 (half) cages for Targa 130. If so, we have a new ball game as it essentially means B Reg or Permit, in other words, a dedicated rally car. Lets wait and see.

Photos:  Blake Parry

Targa West on a Budget…how to win the Best Fun Trophy (Part 1)

Targa West on a Budget…how to win the Best Fun Trophy (Part 1)
by Andy van Kann (Car #92)

A couple of years back, I set out to develop a reliable, cost effective Targa West car with the primary objective to enjoy thrilling tarmac driving in a “real” rally car. I had no intention to try to get into the top half of the field simply because of the cost… and realistically I don’t have the skill anyway!!

I started with a 2007 Honda Type R which had been in the family since new . Naturally aspirated 2 litre. Market value around $15,000. Yes, I have spent money on it (not a lot though) to make it a really fun car. BUT… it still fully complies with Targa Australia Standard Specification (Early Modern). It is also fully GT2 compliant, but the VIN is 5 months too old for GT2 … so make sure you get a 2008 VIN!!

Photo: CMR Photographic

So.. how much fun is this car? Lots. But lets first be realistic… tarmac rallying is ALL ABOUT Power to Weight Ratio (PWR). The BIGGER, the BETTER!! Yes, handling, brakes, transmission, aerodynamics are also all very important… but make no mistake… it’s all about PWR!! And if you study the 2018 Targa West Entry list (all cars Modern, Classic, Targa Tour, Targa 130, Targa 165, Targa 200) then the Honda has the worst PWR in the field… with the possible exception of the EV’s. In fact nearly all the other cars have TWICE or more the PWR of the Honda. So, how did we go with such a massive performance disadvantage? We won the Best Fun for Dollar Trophy!! Actually, we did OK! Once you get your head around being outgunned on PWR you then start to focus on two other things… i) how well are we going as a crew ii) are there any cars we can have a “battle” with at the back of the field.

Exciting? In our case we entered the 2 Day Targa 165. Ironically, with our PWR, we had very little advantage over the Targa 130 cars… simply because the Honda rarely gets over 130 on Saturday and only once momentarily on Sunday. In fact over the two days we only got to 165 a few times and then only momentarily. Turns out that our stage times were very close to another 2 Day car… the 981GTS and not far off the pace of the fire breathing Monaro V2. By the end of Saturday we had established a 62 second lead on the 981. On Sunday, by the end of the 3 Malaga stages, the Porsche had clawed back all our lead. Malaga is all about “point to point” grunt… and the little Honda suffers badly under those circumstances! Exciting?

We started the final City run with a one second lead on the 981. And we hung on to take 2nd in the 2WD. OK.. so this is just a private battle at the back for second place in the 2 Day… but I reckon we had as much fun and excitement as Peter and Will battling for 1st Outright!! By the way…. Our average speed over the two days of stages was 101 km/h despite being restricted to 165 max and rarely going above 130,

Where to from here? Over the coming weeks I will follow up with my thoughts on the big future of Targa 130 and Targa 165. I’ll also do a story on set up budget, operating budget and perhaps one on my recommendation of car and category for the Best Fun for Dollar Trophy.

Part 2 coming soon…

Perth to celebrate all things motorsport

The Celebration of Motorsport will come to Langley Park on Sunday, 12th  August and will be one of the largest free-to-attend displays of racing machines that Perth has seen.

Alongside racing cars from all eras and disciplines, attendees will be treated to an up close experience with a variety of other racing machines such as Soapbox racers, motorcycles and jet boats. There will also be trade stalls, family entertainment, food vans, 96FM and interactive displays.

Event organiser Ross Tapper encourages all motorsport clubs and trades to become involved in promoting their categories at the inaugural event.

Celebration of Motorsport Poster

Continue reading “Perth to celebrate all things motorsport”

Entries open, electric car category and special rookie pricing for Make Smoking History Targa South West

Entries are now open for the ninth edition of the Make Smoking History Targa South West tarmac rally that will take place in and around Western Australian south west towns of Pemberton, Manjimup and new this year, Northcliffe from 18th to 20th May 2018. (Click here for the Entry Form)

Held over two days competitors will travel over 380 kilometres in total which includes 130 kilometres of flat out competition on 22 closed-road Special Stages that range in distance from 3.11 kilometres to 15.13 kilometres through the spectacular Southern Forests area.

Targa South West Event Director Ross Tapper said that competitors are excited about some changes to the course.

Templeman / Howlett – 2017 Quit Targa South West. Photo: Tim Allott

“The addition of Northcliffe is new this year and there are two runs south and north on the Pemberton to Northcliffe road. The stage around Pemberton has also changed and that’s generating some exciting chatter amongst competitors,” Mr Tapper said.

Driver Andy van Kann who has who has competed in every Targa South West event and has checked the stages said the course this year has the best on offer.

“The forestry-type stages at Targa South West are amazing – Big Brook Dam, Kurandra, Pump Hill and Gloucester are all in breathtaking country,” Mr van Kann said.

“I’m excited to see the very best of the Gloucester stage chosen, I mean, what would Targa South West be without that rail crossing. The stage is now called Diamond Tree and is short and very exciting.

“Northcliffe is a fast flowing stage with lots of crests and dips and long sweeping corners through glorious forestry. It will require precise driver and co-driver teamwork as there’s no room for error over the narrow blind crests. It’s an awesome rally drive and run in both directions,” Mr van Kann said.

van Kann / Kirkhouse – 2017 Quit Targa South West. Photo: Tim Allott

Competitors and crew can expect a warm welcome from the Northcliffe town folk with a service park and meal break in the main street of this romantic township.

Cars will start at 30-second intervals and race against the clock with the winner being the car that is fastest over all stages. Cars are grouped into classes and there are categories for Competition, Challenge and the new electric vehicle category.

“The automotive future is electric and we are receiving a fair bit of interest from WA dealers wishing to showcase electric cars in this environment – so we’ve included a new tour category for electric vehicles, a spirited enjoyable drive without the competition element,” Mr Tapper said.

“I encourage owners of electric cars to enter and enjoy a weekend in their cars along closed-roads – no experience is necessary.

“Make Smoking History Targa South West has a very relaxed atmosphere and provides a welcoming environment for first time rally competitors to learn the art of rallying and hone their driving skills without the pressure often associated with bigger events. Everyone who comes to Targa South West loves it.”

Mr Tapper said that rookies have special entry fee pricing.

“The essence of motorsport is competition, but what sets rallying apart from other codes of motorsport is the camaraderie and sense of community – a group of like-minded car enthusiasts sharing a common experience – a spirited drive in some of the State’s most picturesque areas.

“Rookies are made to feel especially welcome because everyone in rallying wants to see the sport grow,” Mr Tapper said.

Gan / Levene – 2017 Quit Targa South West. Photo: CMR Photographic

Make Smoking History Targa South West usually attracts a wide variety of cars from classics like Ford Escorts, Mustangs, Toranas and Commodores to more modern turbocharged Mitsubishi Evos, Subaru WRXs and Nissan GTRs and this year, electric cars such as the Tesla Roadster and the ‘gull winged’ Tesla Model X.

The Make Smoking History Targa South West fraternity will bring 400 people into the towns of Manjimup and Pemberton.

Organisers would like to thank Targa South West sponsors Healthway, along with the Make Smoking History message, Shannons, Cutts Transport, Manjimup Truffles, AAAC Towing and the Shire of Manjimup for their support along with series sponsors Go Gear and Perth Motorsport Tyres.


Main Pic: Al Blakers / Wayne Deighton, 2017 Quit Targa West. Photo: CMR Photographic

Targa Season Launch


For something a little different this year we are combining our annual Targa Season Launch function with an awards night for the Shannons Targa Rallysprint series.

Please join us in the basement of the old General Electric Building on Murray Street at The Edison Bar Music Eats , on Saturday 17th March to congratulate the outright and class winners of the Shannons Targa Rallysprint Series.  You will also find out all the latest information relating to this years Targa South West and Targa West tarmac rallies

Where:  The Edison, 385 Murray Street, Perth
When:  Saturday, 17th March from 6pm – 8pm
Food:  Light refreshments available courtesy of The Edison
Bar:  Cash Bar available
RSVP:  Please use the form below or click here

Rather than the traditional formal setting we thought that The Edison would provide competitors, friends and family the opportunity to mingle and socialise in a relaxed setting rather than the normally frantic brief chat between stages at a Rallysprint or Targa West.

A special thank you to regular Targa West competitor Dave Heaton for making The Edison available for us to use.

We look forward to catching up with you on the 17th March for all the latest gossip on the forthcoming Targa West season.

Kind regards

Ross, Jan & David