South Australia will host the opening round of this year’s CAMS Australian Targa Championship with the Supaloc Classic Targa Adelaide kicking off the four round series on September 14.

It is the first time the Targa series, organised by Octagon Australia, will be run under the auspices of the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS).

Classic cars, built before 1986, will contest four events, with Targa High Country at Mt Buller in Victoria from November 4 to 6, Targa Wrest Point in Hobart from January 28 and 29, and Targa Tasmania from April 17 to 22, joining the South Australian round. Modern cars will only contest the final three events.

In a further boost, Classic Targa Adelaide has secured the support of local steel building systems manufacturer, Supaloc, which becomes the naming rights sponsor, adding its backing to an event supported by the State Government through Events South Australia.

Course details have also been revealed with the Supaloc Classic Targa Adelaide being based out of the Goyder Pavilion at the Adelaide Event and Exhibition Centre in Wayville. The Prologue will be held on Wednesday, September 14 with cars then tackling 25 stages across 225 kilometres, finishing on Saturday afternoon (September 17).

Octagon’s Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand, Sean Nicholls, believes the backing of CAMS will bring added stature to the series.

“The Targa format of tarmac rallying has been going from strength to strength over the past three years, growing out of Targa Tasmania to now include four events in three states, and I think even more competitors will be attracted to it now that it has the backing of the premier national motor sport body in CAMS,” Nicholls said.

“We believe the move to CAMS is a win-win situation. CAMS endorsement brings with it a broader recognition of its national championship status, while we obviously bring the biggest national series in any form of motor sport in this country under its wing.”

With over 300 entrants scoring points in the inaugural series, that concluded in April with the 20th running of Targa Tasmania, CAMS President, Andrew Papadopoulos, says the championship has earned the right to be considered among the most significant titles on offer in Australian motor sport.

“Tarmac rallying is a real growth area of Australian motor sport,” Papadopoulos said.

“CAMS is delighted to be adding its weight to further develop the sport.  The Targa events have wide appeal, representing a range of marques and eras that attracts many competitors and has wide media and spectator appeal.

“It is particularly good that we see Adelaide hosting the opening round of the championship. It is a city that really understands motor sport and I’m sure everyone will get behind this event and the series as a whole.”

SA Tourism Minister, John Rau, sees plenty of upside in the event.

“The Supaloc Classic Targa Adelaide is a fantastic opportunity to showcase Adelaide and regional South Australia,” Rau said.

“It will be great to see classic cars return to the streets of South Australia and it will allow interstate and overseas visitors the chance to experience the excitement of the event while discovering different parts of the State, along the race route.

“The rally will showcase regional towns including Tanunda in the Barossa, Gumeracha in the Adelaide Hills and Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula.  The State has a great history of hosting world-class events and we look forward to the addition of the Supaloc Classic Targa Adelaide to that list.”

Event Director Mark Perry’s Adelaide-based team is working hard to stamp its identity on the event.

“The introduction of this event is sincerely a dream come true for me personally. I used to come and watch Classic Adelaide each year, and to be able to head up the team that will bring this iconic event back to South Australia is all a little surreal,” Perry said.  

“We are certainly planning to make it bigger and better with the use of the fantastic headquarters at the Adelaide Event and Exhibition Centre. Having all cars under cover in one place works brilliantly for Targa Tasmania in Launceston, and I’m sure it will here as well.

“The inclusion of the event as the opening round of the Australian Targa Championship is just the start of some major upgrades planned in the coming years.”

Supaloc owner, Kevin Weeks, a long-time Targa competitor, won last year’s Targa High Country in a Lamborghini.

“The Targa format really works,” Weeks said. “This new event will work for us, it will work for the competitors and it will work for Adelaide and the surrounding towns along the course.

“It is fantastic that we have been able to help to bring the opening event of this Championship to my home town.”

The course for Supaloc Classic Targa Adelaide will take competitors on some roads used previously by Classic Adelaide, but modified to make them more competitive and to increase driver challenge, as well as some new stages as well.

The Prologue will consist of two stages in and around Tanunda in the Barossa Valley on Wednesday, September 14.

The opening competitive day consists of seven stages across 66 competitive kilometres north east of Adelaide. It includes the event’s longest stage, Castanbul, at 17.5 kilometres.

The middle day, Friday September 16, starts at Mt Lofty before heading down to Paris Creek and through the McLaren Vale wine region, taking in 70 competitive kilometres.

Saturday is the longest day with 76 competitive kilometres across eight stages through the Adelaide Hills.
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