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Next year’s Targa Tasmania course will undergo the biggest changes for a decade, including the re-introduction of stages south of Hobart for the first time since 2007.

The southern loop takes in stages in the Huon Valley that were part of every Targa Tasmania course for the event’s first 16 years.

With the 25th running of Targa Tasmania approaching in 2016, organisers are realigning the course closer to the original used in 1992, and have confirmed the format for the 2015 event will be replicated for the 2016 anniversary celebration.

Another major change for 2015 sees the event starting on a Monday and finishing on the Saturday for the first time.

For only the third time in its history, and the first since 2001, the event will include six days of competitive stages.

It will start on April 27 with traditional fanfare at the Country Club in Launceston, and take in three Tamar Valley stages before the George Town Prologue to end the opening day.

Tuesday will utilise the northern loop stages out of Launceston, including classics such as Sheffield and Mt Roland.

On Wednesday the traditional east coast loop to St Helens returns, with the Sidling back as the day’s opening test. It will also include an uphill run up Elephant Pass on the way back to Longford’s street stage.

Thursday takes the field from Launceston to an overnight stop in Strahan, via Burnie, with the run to Hobart, which includes the monster 52-kilometre Mt Arrowsmith stage, now set for Friday.

Saturday sees the Oyster Cove, Woodbridge, Cygnet and Longley stages rejoining the program, before the finish in Hobart and the Targa dinner that night at Wrest Point.

Back in 1992 Targa Tasmania’s founder, John Large, published a 30-year calendar of events. He was considered extremely optimistic at the time, with few believing the event would enjoy such longevity.

Now organisers have showed renewed faith in the event, publishing dates out to 2030, with the future of the tarmac classic well established and rejuvenated by new owners from within the sport.

In 2015 the new calendar sees the event moved forward to run from April 27 to May 2, while the revised dates for 2016 are April 18 to 23.

Event Director, and new owner, Mark Perry, says the changes were made in readiness for the 25th anniversary event, when a huge field is expected to return to the island state.

“We really want to make the 25th Targa huge, and we want to be able to use as many traditional Targa stages as possible,” Perry said.

“These are the first major course changes since 2008 when we moved the event to the north of the state.

“We are very excited to finally bring the southern loop back to Targa Tasmania and to be able to do that while not dramatically increasing the travelling distance is fantastic news.
 
“It is important that we keep the event fresh and it is time to return Targa Tasmania to Hobart with the 25th Anniversary not too far away.
 
“The north of the state still gets plenty, but this allows us to re-engage with the south, and it is important that Targa Tasmania spreads its economic impact as widely as possible as well.”

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