The entry list for next weekend’s Make Smoking History Targa South West has been released with a field of 41 vehicles lining up for the ninth running of the tarmac rally. As in previous years, the entry list features a diverse field with a mixture of both rookies and regulars in vehicles that represent many eras - from classic Ford Mustangs and Holden Toranas, to current model Porsches, BMWs and even a Tesla. The vehicles will be put through their paces from Friday 18th May to Sunday 20th May on 130 kilometres of closed road, normally reserved for public touring traffic visiting the picturesque Manjimup and Pemberton region. There have been some changes to the year’s stages with the addition of the Northcliffe stage, and amendments to the popular Gloucester stage which has been renamed as the Diamond Tree stage. The changes have been well received by competitors, with the few competitors like Dennis Heller who have had a chance to recce the Northcliffe stage enthusiastic about it. “It’s (Northcliffe stage) definitely going to be a highlight this year. Competitors can expect it to be a very fast stage. Most of it will be right on the speed limit.” The field has been divided up into three categories: Competition Category, Electric Targa Tour, and Challenge Category. Competition Category The Competition category field is split into two groups based on vehicle manufacture date – Competition Modern and Competition Classic. Competition competitors will run in all 22 stages of the event and are eligible for Targa Cup points. The 2016 Targa South West outright winner Mark Greenham will back for another shot at the podium in the Mitsubishi Evo 9. Last year’s winner Will White also appears on the entry list but is a last minute withdrawal, needing to miss this event due to family commitments. David Heaton (Ford Focus RS) will have one of Australia’s leading rally drivers Steve Glenney sitting in his co-driver’s seat. Heaton put in a solid performance at the recent Targa Tasmania and will be one to watch on the weekend. After an event ending crash in 2016, invitational team Denver Parker and Lachlan Beresford are back in the Nissan R33 Skyline, with a clear determination to complete all 22 stages and cross Sunday’s finish line. Often seen up the pointy end of the Classic field are the two Datsun 240Z teams of both Bruce Lake and co-driver Peter Hall, and Simon Lingford and co-driver Susannah Lingford. The two KTEC Autohaus Porsches and the Frank’s Classic Racing Team cars are likely to keep the pressure on the Datsun drivers.
Bruce Lake in his Datsun 240Z

Bruce Lake in his Datsun 240Z.

Challenge Category A popular category for newcomers to the event, vehicles entered in the Challenge Category are not able to exceed a speed of 130km during competition. Jeff Foster and wife and co-driver Cath are one of the many Rookie teams in this year’s Make Smoking History Targa South West. “My wife and I enjoy doing things together,” Foster said. “We are both active in motor sport and this event represents a great opportunity for us to participate together and work as a team to achieve our goal. “We have owned the Porsche 981 GTS for two years, and driven it in sprints, point to point competitions and hill climbs.  The car is a great GT car and can literally do just about anything. The handling balance is wonderful, and this plus its versatility makes it a great driver’s car. “We are certainly looking forward to the driving side of the event, there’s some fantastic roads in the programme. We are also looking forward to the social side and the camaraderie these events generate. “It’s great to see sponsorship support for this event, and I’m excited to be able to enjoy the sport in the Pemberton Manjimup region - it’s a fantastic part of WA, and indeed Australia.” Electric Targa Tour Restricted to electric vehicles only, the purpose of the Electric Targa Tour is to give vehicle owners the thrill of a spirited drive along some of Western Australia’s best roads. Given those participating in the Electric Targa Tour will not be racing against the clock, participants will have more of an opportunity to enjoy the idyllic outlook of the region. Joseph Law will joining the Electric Targa Tour behind the wheel of a Tesla Model S. No stranger to WA tarmac rally, Law was the first competitor to compete in Targa West in an electric vehicle in 2016. “I want to showcase electric vehicles in motor sport,” Law said. “We aim to complete the event without drama, have fun, and also to investigate the logistics and infrastructure required for EV vehicles to participate in future WA Targa events.” Joining Law’s Tesla in the tour will be two BMW i3’s and a Renault Zoe. The event starts with a shakedown at the Pemberton Sports Club on Friday, which will give competitors an opportunity to perform any last minute tweaks on the car and get a feel for the road.  The shakedown also incorporates a charity ride event, which will give the public an opportunity to experience the thrill of riding passenger in a rally car in exchange for a donation. Spectators are welcome to view the tarmac rally action from the designated spectator areas. There are special stages held within the Manjimup and Pemberton town sites, which give spectators a great opportunity to not only enjoy the spectacle of motor sport, but also experience offerings from local businesses. Organisers kindly request that for their own safety, the public obey all directives given from event officials. Link to the entry list can be found here.
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