Start your engines – Make Smoking History Targa West

Tomorrow morning 64 of Western Australia’s best tarmac rally drivers will start their engines at the WA Supreme Court Gardens for the 17th Make Smoking History Targa West which concludes on Sunday 19th September.

The four-day rally is the only event in Perth that uses closed public roads for racing.

Despite the WA hard border, entry numbers are almost 30 per cent higher than in 2019 demonstrating a local appetite for motorsport events.

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

Highlights for spectators include the new ceremonial start venue at the Supreme Court Gardens tomorrow (Thursday 16th September) from 10.30am to 12.15pm, the hugely popular Ellenbrook street stages from 5pm tomorrow evening, which also includes a smoking display of drift cars. Last year 7,000 people watched all the Ellenbrook action and rally drivers love an audience, but they need to exercise extreme control and avoid kerbs because kerbs can break cars.

On Friday, Mundaring Christian College students will swap uniforms for high vis as they work as officials for Make Smoking History Targa West and competitors tackle two runs of the Parkerville stage.

Kalamunda’s main street, Haynes Street, will be transformed into a Service Park from 12.40pm until 2.15pm. After lunch, competitors tackle the famous Zig Zag stage – a favourite with drivers and spectators. Then it’s 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 is make or break for competitors. It’s the longest and toughest day of the rally, including two 20-kilometre marathon stages, and competitors need to give it their all 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, 129 competitive kilometres and a total distance of 476 kilometres in and around 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.

Sunday is fun day with thousands of people lining the streets of the industrial area of Malaga for the stages from 8am that includes jaw dropping demonstrations by the D1WA Drift Cars. Simultaneously on Riverside Drive, the Targa City Sprint will take place ahead of the finale of the Make Smoking History Targa West at City of Perth stages, followed by the podium presentations, the traditional champagne spray, and possibly a shoey.

Also, from 10am on Sunday, Langley Park will be a sea of colour with 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.

For more information, visit

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

Cindy Gielingh-Jones is the only female driver, her son Ewan is co-driver in their 1967 Morris Cooper. Northbridge Show and Shine. Photo: Dianne Bortoletto
Ellenbrook street stages from 5pm on Thursday 16 Sept. Photo: Tim Allott

Competitors to watch

Reigning champion Mark Greenham (Forrestfield) in his winning 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 will be looking to repeat his hard-earned victory last year.

Will White (Dardanup) who finished second last year in his 2006 Mitsubishi Lancer will be hoping his new car, a 2018 Nissan GTR Nismo, can take him to that elusive top step.

Jeffrey Foster (Bicton) is expected to be a front runner again this year in his 2019 Porsche 911 after finishing 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.

Four-time winner Steve Jones (Attadale) in his 2008 Nissan R35 GTR has been absent from the podium for a few years and you can bet he’ll be itching to take a step this year.

David Heaton (Dalkeith) has a new 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS and employed the services of one of Australia’s best co-drivers and driver coach Steve Glenney.

Mark Cates (Bunbury) hasn’t stepped onto the Targa West podium after four attempts, but with a DNF last year and more racing kilometres under his belt, he’ll be pushing his 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 RS to the limit.

WA State Rally Champion on gravel, John O’Dowd (Gooseberry Hill) has bought a new car specifically for tarmac rallying, a 2017 Porsche 911 GT3 RS, owned racing great Jim Richards who raced it at Targa Tasmania.

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.

There are 14 female competitors including one driver, Cindy Gielingh-Jones racing her cute bright orange 1967 Morris Mini Minor with her son Ewan calling notes.

There are six husband and wife teams who are driver and co-driver including the rally’s only electric car entrant, Jurgen and Helen Lunsmann in their 2019 Tesla Model 3P+ in the Targa 165 category.

There’s awards for the Competition Modern category, Competition Classic category, Targa 130 (limited to speeds of 130km/h), Targa 165 (limited to 165km/h) and Targa 2 Day Rallye where competitors compete just on Saturday and Sunday.

In Make Smoking History Targa West 17-year history, only six champions have taken the title in the Competition Modern category; Mark Greenham (2020), Peter Major (6-time champion 2010, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2019), Peter Rullo (2018), Steve Jones (2008, 2009, 2011, 2014), Jim Richards (2007, 2012) and Ross Dunkerton (2005, 2006).

For more information and live results, visit

Celebration of Motorsport. Photo: Gemma Lucas
D1WA Drift Cars. Editorial Photo: CMR Photographic