Make Smoking History Targa West – a red hot finish

Today, the Finalé, was the final chance for those within striking distance of a podium to drive ten tenths to make it happen, or for those with a comfortable lead, to preserve position and not make any mistakes. That can be a tough ask when there are thousands of spectators and drivers who love to put on a show.

Today saw six stages with 35.61 competitive kilometres, all of them with kerbs, gutters and tight turns. Reaching a scorching 34 degrees, it was the hottest day on record for Targa West, and some competitors had to watch their tyres and cooling systems.

The short day of street style racing started with three stages in Malaga including crowd-thrilling, smoke-generating, tyre-screeching Drift Car demonstrations by D1WA. The final three sprint-style stages took place along picturesque Riverside Drive, Victoria Ave, Governors ave and the City of Perth Parking Terrace Road carpark.

D1WA Drift Cars in Malaga. Photo: Phil Williams

Thousands turned out to check out 1,000 cars on display in the Shannons Classics on the Swan, a huge collection of stunning classics along Riverside Drive, the Celebration of Motorsport on Langley Park along with the All Ford Day.

In Make Smoking History Targa West 16-year history, only five champions have taken the title in the Competition Modern category and this year there was a sixth.

Competition Modern

Mark Greenham and Steph Esterbauer in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 started the final day with a healthy lead of 3:28 minutes ahead of second place, husband and wife team Jeffery and Catherine Foster in their 2019 Porsche GT3 RS.

For Greenham, preservation today was critical to take the win.

“It feels brilliant and the past five years of competing have definitely been worth it,” said Greenham.

Mark Greenham / Steph Esterbauer. Photo: Phil Williams

“I’m so happy and very relieved – today was so different to yesterday in that we could hear every noise and were thinking ‘is the diff going to go’ and things like that – we started hearing things. But it’s been great, we’re very happy.”

The fight of the day was between Jeffery and Catherine Foster in their 2019 Porsche GT3 RS who started the day 11 seconds ahead of Will White and Matt Thompson in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

White was not going down without a fight. After pushing all day to make up a few seconds, White / Thompson were just 1 second behind Foster / Foster going into the last stage. It was a challenge that went down to the wire. White drove his Evo to the limit to take second place by the narrowest of margins, just 1 second, and 2:22 minutes behind the winner.

White said that it was an epic battle.

“We are absolutely stoked especially with the fuel pump issues we had at the start of the rally and breakdowns on liaisons. Matt has done a fantastic job calling notes and keeping me on track, without him, none of this would happen,” said White, from Dardanup.

“Thanks to the organisers, volunteers and all competitors, especially to Mark [Greenham] on taking the win, we’re all good mates and the comradery between us all is just awesome.”

Jeffrey Foster said it’s been a tough two days, but he finished on the podium without a scratch on his Porsche.

“We’re really happy with our result, it was a ding-dong battle with Will White with just a second separating us. Will did a great job,” Foster said.

“We were starting to get worried about tyres yesterday, and this morning it was all going well but everything has to come together and someone else got it right and we got it a little bit wrong. Still, we’re very happy.”

Fourth went to Brett Morse and Rodney Ng in their 2019 BMW M2 Competition who were sitting in third place earlier in the rally but lost time due to tyre degradation.

Brett Morse / Rodney Ng. Photo: CMR Photographic

After retiring yesterday with overheating issues, Peter Rullo and Jimmy Marquet restarted the rally today, albeit out of contention, and showed just how fast they can go winning two stages in Malaga in their 2019 SSC Lotus Exige Targa GT and finishing equal first in two stages in the City of Perth.

Another duo who seemed to come into their own today showing a blistering pace was John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver, who won the first stage of the day in Malaga and the first City of Perth stage, finishing in seventh place overall in their leased 2004 Porsche 996 Turbo. They had to replace a clutch after Day 2 which incurred a 2.00-minute time penalty, and saw them out of contention.

While not in direct contention, invitational competitors Garry Povah and Steve Armour in their 2011 Holden Colorado restarted the rally today after retiring yesterday with differential issues. While they are Targa West rookies, the team is very experienced and awarded in off road racing.

Povah said he’s been competing in motorsport events for 20 years.

“Targa West is a very well-run event and sets a high benchmark,” Povah said.

“Everything from the organisation, the officials – who were all so professional – to the safety and comradery, all of it has been first class, and I’ve travelled around the world competing in off-road rallies. We’ve had a ball.”

Competition Classic

In the Competition Classic (pre 1986), there was no stopping Simon Gunson and rookie co-driver Peter Morley in their 1971 Ford Capri Perana. Despite starting the day with healthy lead of 4:43 minutes, Gunson / Morley still won four out of six stages to finish 4.55 minutes ahead of Tim Wolfe and Scott Beckwith in their 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS.

Gunson only knows one way to drive his Capri – hard and fast.

“Right from the blocks we went out hard and kept that going all the way through. Actually, we just drive hard all the time because we just love driving this car,” Gunson said.

“We love driving fast, but we conserved a bit today. The car didn’t miss a beat, it’s been a great rally.”
Simon Gunson / Peter Morley. Photo: Muz Armenti

Second-placed Wolfe said it was his second Targa West with co-driver Scott Beckwith in what’s been a great rally.

“We went in with a strategy to finish on the podium, and we’ve done that. We couldn’t get near the Capri, but we stuck to our strategy and we’re very happy with our result,” Wolfe said.

In third place 2:42 minutes behind Wolfe / Beckwith were cousins Nathan Ellement and Keven Ellement in their 1985 Chevrolet Corvette C4.

Nathan Ellement said that they were thrilled.

“To get this car to come third on our second proper attempt at Targa West is absolutely awesome. We are stoked and we’ll be back bigger and better next year,” said Ellement.

Kim Stewart and Frank Zanotti finished fourth in their 1965 Ford Mustang a further 59 seconds behind.

Targa 165 and Targa 130

In Targa 165, rookies Ben Pang and co-driver Brandon Chin wowed the crowds in their 1999 Honda Civic to take a solid win, 17.39 minutes ahead of Nick Rahimtulla and Lisa White in their 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV 105. The Targa 165 category restricts drivers to 165 kilometres per hour.

In his first rally event, Pang was clearly very happy to win his category.

“It’s been a very good rally, a lot of fun and I’m very satisfied with what we’ve done. I’d like to thank my crew, they are all very hard working. Also thanks to the volunteer, it’s so hot and they stand there and smile and wave, at least we get a bit of breeze when we drive fast,” said Pang, who is originally from Borneo.

Ben Pang / Brandon Chin. Photo: Tim Allott 

In the Targa 130 category, husband and wife team Jurgen and Helen Lunssman took a clean sweep of stage wins in their electric Telsa 3 Performance+ car, winning the class by 8.39 minutes ahead of David and Anna Hodges in their 2013 Holden VF SSV. The Targa 130 category restricts drivers to 130 kilometres per hour.

Jurgen Lunssman said he was thrilled and relieved.

“I’m relieved because there have been great expectations on the electric car, we’re representing part of the future and there’s a big community following us, and we’re so happy to take the win for them,” Lunssman said.

Podium Targa 130: Hodges / Hodges, Lunsmann / Lunsmann, Evans / Stutt. Photo: CMR Photographic 

“Last year I shared the podium with the Ford Capri as Simon Gunson’s co-driver, and this year I’m on the podium with my wife in a Tesla. The inclusive nature of Targa West great and the competition is really healthy.”

2 Day Rallye

The 2 Day Rallye is a shortened version of Make Smoking History Targa West for competitors who can only commit to the weekend, and they race the same stages as the other competitors.

Among the four competitors, Paul Pernechele and co-driver Ben Trager were again dominant in their classic V8 1971 Ford Falcon XY finishing the day 5.33 minutes faster than nearest rivals.

Pernechelle / Trager Photo: Turn 7 Media

“It’s been a great rally. Absolutely I’m going to do the full event next year if I can,” Pernechelle said.

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

Event Director Ross Tapper said that he was proud of his team.

“A few months ago, we didn’t even know if we’d be having a rally,” said Tapper, in relation to COVID cancelling all events.

“To be able to come back, organise it and run it in a different time of year to our usual August date has been a feat. I’m very proud of the organising team and all of our officials, and of course to all the West Australian competitors who took part. Without them, and our sponsors, there wouldn’t be a Make Smoking History Targa West.”

Main Photo: 2020 Make Smoking History Targa West Competition Modern Podium. Photo: CMR Photographic

Green with envy at Make Smoking History Targa West

The marathon Day 3 was hot, reaching temperatures of 31 degrees, challenging man and machine at the 16th Make Smoking History Targa West in Toodyay, Chittering and Bullsbrook, north east of Perth.

Today was Leg 2, the longest and toughest day of Make Smoking History Targa West covering 461 kilometres, 14 stages and 129.2 competitive kilometres which includes the two longest stages of the rally, Maryville Downs at 19.68 kilometres, run twice. The final stage of the day, SS30 was cancelled due to running over time.

In its 16-year history, Make Smoking History Targa West has only crowned five champions in the Competition Modern category and this year it’s likely to be someone new.

Competition Modern

The big news of the day was the retirement of Peter Rullo and Jimmy Marquet who had to stop after SS23 when their 2019 SSC Lotus Exige Targa GT overheated.  Some surface gravel on a newly resealed section of road flicked up under the car, tearing the belt attached to the water pump, which cools the car.

They managed to replace the torn belt but didn’t make it to time control within the allocated 30-minutes to continue their rally without penalty. Prior to that, Rullo / Marquet were faultless, winning the day’s first five stages and inching their lead by a few seconds each stage.

Rullo said that the team will assess the car over night before deciding if they will rejoin tomorrow.

The departure of Rullo / Marquet catapults Mark Greenham and Steph Esterbauer in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 to the top of the standings with a healthy lead of 3:28 minutes ahead of second place, husband and wife team Jeffery and Catherine Foster in their 2019 Porsche GT3 RS.

Just 11 seconds behind Foster / Foster is Will White and Matt Thompson in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

Greenham said it was a strange feeling to be in the lead.

“Before it was push, push, push, and now we’re like ‘Oh God, what’s that noise’ – we have the lead to look after now,” said Greenham.

“Going into tomorrow, we’ll be looking after our tyres and the car. We plan to keep a good pace, keep out of people’s way and keep away from any kerbs. There’s still another day to go and anything can happen, but yes, it’s exciting.”

Going into the finalé in second place, Jeffery Foster said he plans to minimise mistakes and push when he can.

“Anything can happen in Malaga, but we’ll drive to our strengths, remain diligent, get the calls right and try to keep mistakes to a minimum. The car has performed as expected, and now it’s a mental game,” Foster said.
Jeffery and Catherine Foster. Photo: CMR Photographic

Foster may need to push more than he plans if he wants to hold second place, Will White is on the hunt.

“Definitely, one hundred per cent I’m going to push and go for second place or crash trying. It wouldn’t be a rally otherwise!” said White.

“We’ve been saving new tyres for Sunday – I’ve got new medium tyres on the front and the best of the tyres will go on the back. In the past, we’ve been the quickest on the city stages, and we’ll be giving it a good crack tomorrow.

“The boys from Tokyo Motorsport have been on the tools ensuring the car is trouble free. Bring it on.”

Dropping down the leaderboard today to fourth place due to tyre degradation was Brett Morse and Rodney Ng in their 2019 BMW M2 Competition.

With a new clutch fitted overnight, John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver were again posting competitive times to finish the day in seventh place in their leased 2004 Porsche 996 Turbo, a car that has previously won Targa West four times. The new clutch incurred a 2.00-minute time penalty for removing the car from Parc Ferme.

Arriving at the second Toodyay service park on a tilt tray was the 2008 Audi R8 of Peter Burgess and Terry Childs.

“We were full power, went hard on the brakes for a virtual chicane, heard a big clunk, kept going and then had no steering. It’s the lower ball joint, we can replace it and carry on,” said Burgess, a Targa West rookie.

“My company Forch, which makes garage consumables, sponsored a few competitors in the past and I thought I should have a go myself. I did one rally sprint in the lead up a few months ago, and here I am, and loving it.”

Invitational competitors and Targa West rookies Garry Povah and Steve Armour were forced to retire with differential issues at the end of SS26. While rookies, the team is very experienced and awarded in off road racing, their 2011 Holden Colorado won the Australasian Safari in 2010 (driven by Craig Lowndes). They may restart tomorrow.

Competition Classic

In the Competition Classic (pre 1986), there’s no stopping Simon Gunson and rookie co-driver Peter Morley who again, for the third straight day, won all stages in their 1971 Ford Capri Perana, to increase their lead to 4:43 minutes. Gunson / Morley have won 29 stages straight.

Gunson was smiling as usual, seemingly non-fazed by his achievements.

“It’s good to be in the lead, but I’m also looking how we compare to Modern category,” Gunson said.

“Everything with the car is great except the speed sensor which isn’t showing up on the dash, I suspect a stone hit it in one of the morning stages, but we have RallySafe, so it’s all fine.”

Simon Gunson / Peter Morley. Photo: CMR Photographic

Finishing the day in second place was Tim Wolfe and Scott Beckwith in a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS about two and half minutes behind them in third today were cousins Nathan Ellement and Keven Ellement in their 1985 Chevrolet Corvette C4.

Nathan Ellement said that they were ticking along nicely in their third attempt at Targa West.

“All eight cylinders are working, we stayed on the black stuff, we’re still going and we’re having a ball,” said Nathan.

“We plan to maintain our position and keep going. Malaga will be interesting, that’s where we hit a water barrier last year – the left-hand-drive can be tricky to judge.”

Kim Stewart and Frank Zanotti in their 1965 Ford Mustang are 35 seconds behind Ellement / Ellement in fourth place.

Greg Freeman and Jeff Sadler arrived in the Toodyay Service Park with their Chevrolet Camaro on tilt tray after overshooting a corner and hitting a tree on the left side on SS20. Both uninjured, they were able to restart the rally albeit with a few new dents.

Not in contention but a crowd favourite, the 1967 Mini of mother and son Cindy and rookie co-driver Ewan Jones is still racing despite a list of issues that include clutch, distributor, suspension and fuel. Cindy said that they are having a ball and her favourite thing was taking a good corner.

Targa 165 and Targa 130

Rookies Ben Pang and co-driver Brandon Chin in their 1999 Honda Civic have increased their lead to 13:45 minutes ahead of Nick Rahimtulla and Lisa White in their 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV 105.

The Targa 165 category restricts drivers to 165 kilometres per hour, but that doesn’t seem to wipe the smile from Pang’s face.

Originally from Borneo, Pang said that while this is his first rally, he’s done a lot of circuit racing.

“Circuit is different, but I prefer the open road now I’ve tried it,” Pang said.

“To drive on the closed streets really fast is a really fun experience. I’m learning to trust the co-driver, I need him and I need to be patient with him too. We are having a lot of fun.”

In fourth place in the Targa 165 is the Mayor for the City of Swan, Kevin Bailey and his co-driver Eric Purvis both rookies to Targa West but they did compete in the one-day Targa South West in August.

“I was an overqualified spectator and I thought what am I waiting for, why not give it a go, and here I am. I would love to see more rallying in the City of Swan, this is just a fantastic event,” Bailey said.

You won’t hear them coming, and if you blink you might miss seeing them. The eerily silent but speedy electric Telsa 3 Performance+ car of Jurgen and Helen Lunssman have increased their overall lead today in the Targa 130 category by 7.04 minutes ahead of David and Anna Hodges in their 2013 Holden VF SSV. The Targa 130 category restricts drivers to 130 kilometres per hour.

The hot weather has the reverse effect on the electric car.

“The battery actually likes the heat, so it works in our favour. The only downside is that it uses slightly more charge keeping the car cool,” Jurgen said.

2 Day Rallye

The 2 Day Rallye is a shortened version of Make Smoking History Targa West for competitors who can only commit to the weekend, and they race the same stages as the other competitors.

Among the four competitors, Paul Pernechele and co-driver Ben Trager were dominant in their classic V8 1971 Ford Falcon XY finishing the day 4:40 minutes faster than nearest rivals.

Tomorrow – Leg 3, Day 4, The Finalé

Tomorrow, the Finalé, is all about taking risks and driving to the limit if an advancement is in reach or preserving position if it isn’t.

There are six stages and 35.61 competitive kilometres for drivers to contest, all of them with kerbs, gutters and tight turns.

The short day of street style racing starts with three stages in Malaga from 8.40am, including jaw-dropping demonstrations of Drift Cars by D1WA. The final three sprint-style stages take place along picturesque Riverside Drive and the Perth Concert Hall carpark from 1pm.

The podium finish and champagne spray will be under the archway on Riverside Drive 3.15pm.

From 10am Sunday, not to be missed is the Shannons Classics on the Swan, a huge collection of stunning classics along Riverside Drive, the Celebration of Motorsport on Langley Park along with the All Ford Day that collectively see more than 1,000 cars, bikes and boats on display.

Remember to be sun smart, the forecast for Sunday is a hot 34 degrees.

Competitors start at 30-second intervals, with the winner being the fastest over all 36 stages, a total of 268 competitive kilometres, across four days.

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

For more information, visit www.targawest.com.au and keep up to date on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/targawest

Make Smoking History Targa West, it’s getting hot in here

Make Smoking History Targa West, it’s getting hot in here

Western Australia delivered warm sunny spring weather for Day 2 of the 16thMake Smoking History Targa West which took to the streets of Parkerville, Mundaring and Kalamunda, including the Zig Zag today.

Today was Section 2 of Leg 1, consisting of eight stages, 76.56 competitive kilometres and a total distance of 264 kilometres.

The day began at Mundaring Christian College where the Bush Cadet students donned high vis vests to join officials to help set up stages. The school newspaper students interviewed, photographed and filmed drivers before they set off, and the canteen put on a special morning tea to keep everyone caffeinated and fed. The day ended with rally cars in Northbridge for the Show and Shine along James Street and Lake Street.

Competition Modern

Mark Greenham and Steph Esterbauer in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 started the day 22 second ahead of nearest rival Peter Rullo and Jimmy Marquet in their 2019 SSC Lotus Exige Targa GT and were doing all they could to maintain their lead.

At the day’s halfway mark, Rullo / Marquet made up enough time during the first four stages to be equal first with Greenham / Esterbauer. The battle was on and Rullo / Marquet were able to pull away in the day’s last three stages to finish 12 seconds in front.

“We’re running our own race,” said Rullo. “There’s still a long way to go.”

Greenham said that he’s been going flat out.

“It feels good to be fighting for the lead. Yesterday’s stages suited us, and the car has been faultless. We expected the Lotus to catch us, but we’ll keep doing our own thing and having a crack – we’re having a ball,” said Greenham.

There’s a little gap between the two front runners and the rest of the pack and the day ended with a tie for third place between Brett Morse and Rodney Ng in their BMW M2 Competition and husband and wife team Jeffery and Catherine Foster in their 2019 Porsche GT3 RS, a further 2:03 minutes behind Greenham.

Will White and Matt Thompson blew the engine of their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 just a week before Targa West and yesterday were plagued with fuel regulator issues which have resolved. They finished Day 2 in fifth place 11 second behind the equal third-place holders.

In the mid-pack there’s some healthy competition going on with bragging rights on the table (and possibly $50 according to sources) on who finishes fastest.

In contention (and possibly the instigator) is David Heaton and Caleb Ash in their 2018 Nissan GTR R35 who are currently in sixth place, just 8 seconds behind White / Thompson.

Also vying for bragging rights is John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver who yesterday showed promise in their leased 2004 Porsche 996 Turbo but today had issues with a slipping clutch, losing time and dropping down the leaderboard to ninth place, 3:55 minutes behind first place.

No longer in contention in the mid-pack rivalry and adding to the retirements list is Bill and Gleyns Stagoll their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 who were showing good pace earlier on before suffering a mechanical issue.

Mark Cates and Declan Stafford who retired last night after hitting a kerb in Ellenbrook breaking a strut housing in their 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 RS will rejoin the rally as an invitational competitor in Cate’s 1977 Holden Torana LXSS V8.

Competition Classic

In the Competition Classic (pre 1986), Simon Gunson with rookie co-driver Peter Morley continued to set a blistering pace in his 1971 Ford Capri Perana, again taking a clean sweep to win all stages two days in a row to increase his lead to 2:36 minutes. Gunson / Morley have won 15 stages straight.

Gunson was all smiles in the Kalamunda Service Park today.

“It’s been very good so far. We’ve got to the stages that we enjoy and the car is beautifully balanced,” Gunson said.
Simon Gunson / Peter Morley. Photo: Brett Sandells

Co-driver Morley said today was awesome.

“Now we’re doing real stages, I’m loving it and we’re having so much fun. I can’t wait until Toodyay tomorrow,” Morley said.

Finishing the day in second place was Tim Wolfe and Scott Beckwith in a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS and jumping up the leaderboard to third today was Kim Stewart and Frank Zanotti in their 1965 Ford Mustang, 2:27 minutes behind Wolfe / Beckwith.

Targa 165 and Targa 130

The Targa 165 category that restricts drivers to 165 kilometres per hour, rookies Ben Pang and co-drive Brandon Chin in their 1999 Honda Civic have increased their lead to be 6:01 minutes ahead of Nick Rahimtulla and Lisa White in their 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV 105.

The Targa 130 category restricts drivers to 130 kilometres per hour and it was again soft but speedy electric Telsa 3 Performance+ car of Jurgen and Helen Lunssman that finished on top, increasing their overall lead to 4:47 minutes ahead of David and Anna Hodges in their 2013 Holden VF SSV.

Tomorrow – Leg 2, Day 3

Tomorrow is the marathon day at Targa West with competitors heading out to Toodyay, Chittering and Bullsbrook for 14 stages, 129.2 competitive kilometres that includes the two longest stages of the rally, Maryville Downs at 19.68 kilometres, that’s run twice. Competitors will cover 461 kilometres in 12-hour day.

Tomorrow (Saturday) is expected to reach 30 degrees and Sunday’s prediction is for 34 degrees, which could create new challenges for competitors.

Usually run in winter in August and deferred to October due to COVID, the warm weather meant crews at Make Smoking History Targa West had to pay close attention to tyre pressure, particularly those running the soft tyres, which be at risk as the weather heats up. Each car is permitted six types during the four-day event.

Competitors start at 30-second intervals, with the winner being the fastest over all 36 stages, a total of 268 competitive kilometres, across four days.

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

For more information, visit www.targawest.com.au and keep up to date on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/targawest

Main Photo: Peter Rullo / Jimmy Marquet. Photo: CMR Photographic

Mark Greenham / Steph Esterbauer. Photo: CMR Photographic

Make Smoking History Targa West, a real crowd pleaser

In beautiful sunny conditions this morning, 54 rally cars competing in the 16thMake Smoking History Targa West rally drove high octane excitement into Forrest Place in the City of Perth for the tarmac rally’s Ceremonial Start.

In his first official public appearance, new City of Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zemplias wished competitors and crews a safe and successful event before flagging off the first cars.
Forrest Place for Ceremonial Start of Make Smoking History Targa West. Photo: CMR Photographic

Competitors then headed to Whiteman Park to tackle four stages, racing against the clock, then two stages at Wanneroo Raceway and then took to the streets of Ellenbrook for the day’s last two stages, thrilling over 7,000 spectators.

Section 1 of Leg 1 today consisted of eight stages, 26.34 competitive kilometres and a total distance of 178 kilometres.  Stage 1 was used as a warm up and not timed.

There were six retirements after Day 1 with competitors experiencing a range of issues from mechanicals, blown head gaskets, broken drive shaft, getting bogged in sand and, in the case of Mark Cates, a broken strut when his 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 RS hit a kerb on the first stage at Ellenbrook. Cates said that he was mostly uninjured, the only thing that hurt is his back pocket. Some competitors may restart the rally if they can fix their issues overnight.

Competition Modern

Ending the first day on top 22 seconds ahead was Mark Greenham and Steph Esterbauer in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9. Greenham / Esterbauer blitzed the two stages at Wanneroo Raceway, winning by 11 seconds and 7 seconds, the new engine, his 4WD car and driving style clearly suited to the stage. The duo also finished fastest in the Ellenbrook street stages.

“There were lots of first and second gear corners and the four-wheel drive really punches the gear hard and handles them so well,” said Greenham of High Wycombe.

Mark Greenham / Steph Esterbauer. Photo: CMR Photographic

Peter Rullo and Jimmy Marquet in their 2019 SSC Lotus Exige Targa GT bolted from the get-go, winning the first two stages, but with a car suited to long flowing roads, lost time on the tight, twisty stages at Wanneroo Raceway.

Rullo / Marquet finished the day in second place. Rounding out the top three a further 22 seconds behind was husband and wife Bill and Glenys Stagoll in their 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9.

John O’Dowd and Toni Feaver showed promise in their leased 2004 Porsche 996 Turbo and finished the day in fourth, a good effort considering that the first time O’Dowd drove the car was on route to the Ceremonial Start.

Will White and Matt Thompson blew their engine the week before Targa West, and the crew spent many a late night to fix it in time. Despite finishing equal fastest on the first Ellenbrook stage, fuel regulator issues plagued them today and it looks like they’ll be out of contention.

Competition Classic

In the Competition Classic (pre 1986), the pace was set early by Simon Gunson with new rookie co-driver this year Peter Morley in his 1971 Ford Capri Perana taking a clean sweep to win all stages, finishing 33 seconds ahead of Tim Wolfe and Scott Beckwith in a 1974 Porsche 911 Carrera RS.

Co-driver Morley said that he was almost losing his voice.

“I don’t need to shout at Simon because we have comms, but I keep yelling at him!” Morley quipped.

Gunson reported that he made a couple of small driving errors, but all in all, it had been a good, trouble free day.

Finishing the day in third place 35 seconds behind Wolfe / Beckwith was Bruce Lake and Peter Hall in their London-to-Sydney Marathon car, a 1971 Datsun 240Z.

Targa 165 and Targa 130

In the Targa 165 category, drivers are restricted to 165 kilometres per hour. Rookies Ben Pang and co-drive Brandon Chin finished with a healthy lead of 2:44 minutes in their 1999 Honda Civic ahead of Nick Rahimtulla and Lisa White in their 1973 Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV 105.

The Targa 130 category restricts drivers to 130 kilometres per hour. It was the electric Telsa 3 Performance+ piloted by husband and wife duo Jurgen and Helen Lunssman that finished the day fastest, 1:16 minutes ahead of David and Anna Hodges in their 2013 Holden VF SSV.

Jurgen Lunssman said it was important to build a lead.

“In the electric car, obviously we need time to charge the car, so it’s important we build up a lead now to off set the longer days ahead.  Other than that, we’re a Swiss team now, running like clockwork,” said Lunssman.

Tomorrow, Leg 1 continues and  Targa West heads to Mundaring and Kalamunda, which includes the famous Zig Zag stage, ahead of the Show and Shine in Northbridge tomorrow night from 6pm.

Competitors start at 30-second intervals, with the winner being the fastest over all 36 stages, a total of 268 competitive kilometres, across four days.

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

For more information, visit www.targawest.com.au and keep up to date on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/targawest

Main Photo: Bill & Glenys Stagoll, currently 3rd in Competition Modern Photo: CMR Photographic

Simon Gunson / Peter Morley. Photo: Phil Williams

Start your engines and keep your cool

Make Smoking History Targa West starts tomorrow

WA’s borders might be shut but that won’t stop 54 West Australian tarmac rally drivers from racing along the closed streets of Perth and surrounds for the 16thMake Smoking History Targa West tarmac rally from 22 to 25 October.

Starting tomorrow (Thursday 22 October), competitors and their rally cars will assemble in Forrest Place in the CBD from 10am for the Ceremonial start and ‘flagging off’ by newly sworn in Rt Hon the Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas at 11.45am.

The strong field consists of 54 modern and classic rally cars with 108 competitors, of which 19 are rookies.

Conditions are set to be hot with the forecast for the next four days predicted to be 25, 26, 29 and 34 degrees on Sunday – it’ll be the first time that Make Smoking History Targa West has been run in temperatures over 30 degrees, which could pose new challenges for competitors.

The competitors to watch in the Competition Modern Category are Peter Rullo, John O’Dowd, Mark Cates and Will White.

Peter Rullo and regular co-driver James Marquet will be in Rullo’s modified 2019 SSC Lotus Exige Targa GT. Rullo and Marquet won the rally in 2018 and have finished on the podium eight times between them. This will be Rullo’s 12thTarga West.

Rullo said that he was looking forward to some new and some newly configured stages.

“It’s good that the organisers are mixing it up with some new stages and running others in reverse, it means no one can’t use notes,” he said.

“We did our final test in the car last week and our preparation has gone well, we’re feeling pretty confident, but you never know how the warm weather will affect things,” Rullo said.

John O’Dowd and regular co-driver Toni Feaver have parked up the Skoda R5 rally car that took him to win the 2019 State Rally Championship (gravel) and have leased Peter Major’s 2004 Porsche 996 that won Targa West last year.

O’Dowd, competing in his 15th Targa West rally, said that he hasn’t had a chance to test the Porsche, which is less than ideal ahead of tomorrow’s start.

“The Skoda doesn’t have the legs for the long stages, although it was great fun to drive it last year,” said O’Dowd.

“Over the years I’ve driven lots of different cars in Targa West including Holden, Subaru, Lamborghini, Skoda and this year it’s a Porsche and I’m looking forward to driving it.

“The plan of attack is to enjoy the rally and have some fun and give the car back in one piece of course,” O’Dowd said.

In the Competition Classic Category, last year’s winner Simon Gunson is with a rookie co-driver, his long-time friend Peter Morley in Gunson’s 1971 Ford Capri Perana.

Gunson, a three-time winner of Targa West, said that Morley has been a part of his service crew for long time.

“It’s all about having a good time. We have a great crew of guys and we get together on Wednesday nights to build rally cars, break them, and repeat – it’s about the camaraderie and friendship,” said Gunson.

 


Photo: Jason Matz

“I’ve been on Peter’s crew when he races, and we’re good friends. Hopefully we’ll still be friends afterwards!” quipped Gunson.

For Morley, co-driving in Targa West has been on his bucket list.

“I race a single seater and I’m usually a one-man-show, so I’m really looking forward to co-driving for Simon. It’s not just about having a good time, it’s about winning!”

Other competitors to watch in the Competition Classic Category are Mark Dobson, Tim Wolfe and Bruce Lake.

Make Smoking History Targa West has four categories:

  • Competition (Modern / Classic): Motorsport Australia compliant vehicles & crews, vehicles have high level of safety requirements
  • Targa 165 (Modern / Classic): Motorsport Australia compliant vehicles & crews, vehicles have high level safety requirements but speed limited to 165km/h
  • Targa 130 (Modern / Classic): showroom style or non-roll caged vehicles, compete in all stages but speed limited to 130km/h
  • Targa 2Day: For competitors taking part only in the weekend stages.

Modern vehicles are manufactured between 1986 and 2020, and classic are manufactured pre-1986.

Competitors start at 30-second intervals, with the winner being the fastest over all 36 stages, a total of 268 competitive kilometres, across four days.

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

Competitors will compete on closed road special stages in and around Perth, Whiteman Park, Muchea, Ellenbrook street stages, Kalamunda (including the infamous Zig Zag), Toodyay, Chittering and Bullsbrook, along with Malaga Sunday morning prior to the finalé at the City of Perth Special Stage along Riverside Drive next to the spectacular Swan River from 1.00pm.

On Sunday 25th October in the city is the Shannons Classic on the Park, a showcase of beautiful cars from yesteryear and the Celebration of Motorsport on Langley Park with over 600 cars, bikes and boats on display as well as free activities for the kids.

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

 

Main Photo: CMR Photographic

One Week To Go – 2020 Make Smoking History Targa West

Raring to go are 54 West Australian tarmac rally drivers who’ll take to the streets of Perth to race the clock for the 16th Make Smoking History Targa West from 22nd to 25th October.

Competitors start at 30-second intervals, with the winner being the fastest over all 36 stages, a total of 268 competitive kilometres, across four days.

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

Thursday 22nd October – City, Whiteman Park, Wanneroo, Ellenbrook

From 10am in the heart of the City, Forrest Place, rally cars will be on display and then, with anticipation is 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 3.10pm. Rally cars then go to Wanneroo Raceway for two stages from 3.35pm – 4.45pm.

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. Last year, in rainy weather, about 5,000 people lined the streets as rally drivers fanged their cars through the centre of Ellenbrook – they love an audience!

Photo: Tim Allott

Friday 23rd October – 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, cars will stop at Haynes Street in Kalamunda, converted into the rally’s Service Park, where they’ll also break for lunch.

After lunch at 1.55pm, competitors tackle the famous Zig Zag stage – a favourite with drivers – and Kalamunda stages, both stages run twice. A shuttle bus is provided to take spectators to Zig Zag. Then onto the Bendigo Bank Forrestfield Service Park at 4.15pm before competitors park their rally cars in Northbridge on James and Lake Streets for the Shannons Show ‘n’ Shine 6pm to 9pm.
 Photo: CMR Photographic

Saturday 24th October – Toodyay, Chittering, Bullsbrook

Saturday is when the competition gets serious. It’s crunch time for the longest and hardest day of the Make Smoking History Targa West Rally, when the competitors need to finish the day well. It takes endurance, both man and machine, to finish this day well with 14 stages and a total of 129 competitive kilometres in Toodyay, Lower Chittering and Bullsbrook.

In Toodyay, you can see the crews at work in the Service Park during three services at the Charcoal Lane Service Park in Toodyay at 9am, 10.45am and 12.30pm.

Spectators can follow the rally action with spectator points at Harvester in Toodyay from 8.50am, Condle West 10am and 11.45am, Timberden West 10.25am, Toodyay 11.25am and 12.20pm and Timberden East at 1.30pm.

Then it’s the two 20-kilometre marathon stages, Maryville Downs 1 and 2 starting at 2.15pm and 3.05pm respectively, after which competitors head to Bullsbrook for four more stages from 3.40pm.
 Photo: Tim Allott

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 11.45am, which includes a dare-devil demonstration of sideways skidding and smoking tyres by the D1WA Drift Cars.

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

Also in the city is an epic display of motors with over 600 cars on display 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 boats and examples of all forms of Motorsport. Speedway, Drags, Circuit Racing, Bikes, Boats, RC Cars, Dakar Trucks, Open Wheelers and Trade Displays and hundreds of Fords at the All Ford Day.

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.
 Photo: CMR Photographic

Quotes attributed to Event Director Ross Tapper:

“Despite the pandemic forcing us to defer the rally from our usual August date to October, and the hard borders in place, we have a strong field of local WA competitors, slightly more than last year, including 19 rookies.

“From high-horsepower sideways rally action to historic cars on displays and everything in between, it’s great for the whole family, and totally free.

“The event program is every car lover’s dream and there is so much happening around the competition.”

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

For more information, visit www.targawest.com.au and keep up to date on Facebook www.facebook.com/targawest

Local school gets high speed lesson – Make Smoking History Targa West

Friday 23rd October is set to deliver memorable lessons to 360 high school students at Mundaring Christian College as the whole school takes the morning to get involved in the 16th Make Smoking History Targa West.

Make Smoking History Targa West is a four-day tarmac rally held in Perth and surrounds from 22nd to 25th October.

Cadet students at Mundaring Christian College will become officials and assist with setting up the stages and spectator points, others will work in the café and provide coffee and food to rally crews, or be a part of the news team and write stories for the school’s newspaper, assist at time control and help marshals, as well as head out to a number of spectator points and enjoy some high octane entertainment.

Mundaring Christian College health and physical education teacher, Levi Rosolin, said that getting the whole school involved was a way of giving back to the community.

“Events like Targa West are exciting, and it’s a terrific opportunity to engage the students to learn new skills while assisting the event which is largely run by volunteers,” Mr Rosolin said.

“Helping out instils a sense of community spirit, and let’s face it, Targa West is also something different and exciting for students to participate in. They’ll be put to work and then have a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labour and take in the motorsport action right on our doorstep.”

Students in Years 7 through to Year 12 will take two periods off their normal curriculum to get involved in Make Smoking History Targa West, which was last year awarded Motorsport Australia’s Western Australian event of the year.

Event Director Ross Tapper said the students would be an asset to the Make Smoking History Targa West team.

“Organising a four-day rally takes a monumental amount of work and about 500 volunteers,” Mr Tapper said.

“Two stages will start just outside Mundaring Christian College and students will have an opportunity to see how a five-star motorsport event is run, get up close to rally cars, watch crews service cars as well as having a chance to spectate,” he said.

Over four days, competitors will race the clock along 263 kilometres on 35 closed-road special stages at Whiteman Park, Ellenbrook at night, Parkerville, Kalamunda including the infamous Zig Zag, Toodyay, Chittering, Bullsbrook, Malaga, and the finale in the City of Perth along Riverside Drive.

Mr Tapper said the Make Smoking History Targa West will include a new “tour” category open to anyone with a car, sense of adventure and a helmet.

Usually held in August, Make Smoking History Targa West was deferred as a result of COVID-19 and remains a full-length rally.

For more information visit www.targawest.com.au

UPDATE ON OUR 2020 PLANS

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.


TARGA SOUTH WEST
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!

TARGA BUNBURY SPRINT
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.


TARGA WEST
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 www.targawest.com.au 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

 

List of Targa West Photographers

Below are contact details from the accredited photographers that were capturing all the action of Targa West.  Please contact them directly to negotiate to purchase their photographs.

 PHOTOGRAPHER EMAIL WEB FACEBOOK
 Tim Allott Email Web Facebook
 Travis Barnes Email Facebook
 Stephen Blackberry Email Web Facebook
 Noel Blackberry Email Web Facebook
 Joshua Cochrane Email Facebook
 Jonathan Gladstone Email Facebook
 Graeme J Howie Email Web Facebook
 Grant Lauterbach Email Web
 Shane Lawrie Email Web Facebook
 Gemma Lucas Email Web Facebook
 Adam MacDonald Email Web Facebook
 Jason Matz Facebook
 Blake Parry Email Web Facebook
 Blake Rattenbury Email Facebook
 Naomi Reed Facebook
 Chris Richmond Email Web Facebook
 Brett Sandells Email Web Facebook
Michele Seymour Email Web Facebook
 Ash Westwood Email Web Facebook

Photo: CMR Photographic

Day 4: Major six-time winner and Gunson wins for a third time


Six-time winner Peter Major shares the win with his children. Photo: Tim Allott

  • Peter Major wins his sixth Targa West
  • Same car wins fourth consecutive Targa West
  • Simon Gunson wins Classics
  • Close battle in Targa 130 battle won by husband and wife
  • Thousands of spectators turn out for stages in Malaga, City and Celebration of Motorsport

Bright blue skies on a warm sunny winter day with the faint whiff of high-octane fuel drew crowds in the thousands for the exciting motorsport action on the streets of Perth for the final day of the 15th Make Smoking History Targa West. Continue reading “Day 4: Major six-time winner and Gunson wins for a third time”