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…

Wrap up of Make Smoking History Targa West

VIDEO: Interviews with the winners with Dean Herridge. Click to play

  • Ten years in the making for Rullo/Marquet
  • Dobson/Jones take Classics
  • Teenager wins Challenge
  • Clean sweep of stage wins for rookie in 2 Day Rallye
  • Thousands turn out for city stages in Malaga and City

Sunny winter weather and motorsport action were the perfect crowd magnets for the final day of Make Smoking History Targa West as thousands turned out to spectate the street-circuit rally action. Continue reading “Wrap up of Make Smoking History Targa West”

White hot fight as competitors get down to business

A beautiful sunny day followed a foggy start in Toodyay, about 90 kilometres east of Perth, where competitors tackled stages in the pretty countryside in the longest day of the four-day Make Smoking History Targa West tarmac rally, which concludes tomorrow.

Close battles ensued as competitors got down to business to set themselves up for a good finish tomorrow. Continue reading “White hot fight as competitors get down to business”

Rullo finds form, White puts up a fight, Dobson dominates classics and a P-plater leads the Challenge

Rullo / Marquet. Credit: CMR Photographic

Sunny and dry winter conditions saw competitors take to the streets of Perth’s picturesque hills today with the battle lines firmly drawn in the Make Smoking History Targa West.

The 14th edition of WA’s premier tarmac rally saw competitors race the clock along six stages, a total of 65 competitive kilometres, around Kalamunda including the infamous Zig Zag stage. In town, Kalamunda’s Railway Road was transformed as it hosted two services of the day with the third and final service held in Forrestfield.
Continue reading “Rullo finds form, White puts up a fight, Dobson dominates classics and a P-plater leads the Challenge”

Revving up Yagan Square as Make Smoking History Targa West gets underway

Cars ready for Ceremonial Start in Yagan Square in the City of Perth. Credit: CMR Photographic

Make Smoking History Targa West revved excitement into Yagan Square in the heart of Perth with high-octane energy today at the annual tarmac rally’s ceremonial start.

Despite intermittent rain, the forty competitors contesting the full four-day rally were flagged off by City of Perth Commissioner Andrew Hammond and then made their way to the event’s first four stages at Whiteman Park; Stages 1 and 2 were 3.76 kilometres and Stages 3 and 4 were 3.66 kilometres long. Continue reading “Revving up Yagan Square as Make Smoking History Targa West gets underway”

One week to go: Flag drops on Make Smoking History Targa West next week

Will White and Matt Thompson on 2017’s City of Perth Special Stage. Credit: CMR Photographic

The Make Smoking History Targa West gets underway next Thursday, with Perth’s best tarmac rally competitors testing their machines against the clock across four days and 34 heart pumping rally stages.

The entry list features 57 teams in vehicles of all eras, from classic Triumphs, Porches and Mustangs, to modern Lotuses, Mitsubishi Evos, and even an electric powered Tesla Roadster, who will be taking on some of Perth’s most iconic roads such as Kalamunda’s Zig Zag from August 9 – 12.

There will be plenty of opportunity for spectators to witness the action, and see the cars and drivers up close at spectator points and static displays.

Event Director Ross Tapper says the event is a must-see for any motorsport enthusiast. Continue reading “One week to go: Flag drops on Make Smoking History Targa West next week”

Generous boost for Make Smoking History Targa West newcomer

Cody Harris and co-driver Jacob Zurzolo in full flight at Rallysprint

Young tarmac rally driver Cody Harris will be ticking the Make Smoking History Targa West off his bucket list 12 months sooner than expected due to the generosity of fellow entrant Andy van Kann.

The annual motorsport event is considered to be the State’s premiere tarmac rally, and has attracted well-known Australian motorsport names such as Jim Richards and Ross Dunkerton. The full event is four-days long and equates to almost 900kms of travel for competitors around Perth CBD, Perth Hills and surrounding areas. But, for those on a tighter schedule a two-day Rallye format is available.

Regular Targa West competitor van Kann planned to again compete in the full event, but after a discussion with co-driver Madelin Kirkhouse, decided on the two day format to minimise Kirkhouse’s absence from the family business. The money saved off the full entry price, van Kann has put towards a two day entry for Harris.

Continue reading “Generous boost for Make Smoking History Targa West newcomer”

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