Peter Martin, managing director, Targa New Zealand
Hello motoring enthusiasts.
It is hard to believe that we are celebrating the 21st running of Targa New Zealand, but we’ll be doing it without a few of the usual faces. It was always going to be difficult to keep the attention of our regular customers following our inaugural South Island excursion last year, and then there’s the 2015 Rugby World Cup being held in England. Both of these were distractions for many, and more than 25 of our regular Targa New Zealand participants are away supporting the All Blacks in their endeavour to retain the Webb Ellis Trophy — we wish them all the best.
The last 12 months have again seen us notch up a number of milestones — the most notable being the addition of Uncles Club track nights and the New Zealand Silver Fern Rally into the stable of events we now manage. To do this, we needed to obtain the services of motor sport professionals who could focus all their time on ensuring these iconic events remain part of the local motor sport scene. As such, we welcome Gary Upson as general manager and Keith Williams as event manager to the newly formed Ultimate Rally Group — the parent organization that now administers these events.
For Targa this year, we will be returning to favoured central North Island areas, which will take entrants on a journey of more than 1000 kilometres of closed roads over six days. Starting at Ellerslie Events Centre on Monday morning, we will meander our way south through Hamilton, Otorohanga, New Plymouth, Whangamomona, Stratford, Wanganui, Palmerston North, Kimbolton, Taihape, Havelock North, Dannevirke, and Mangatainoka, before finishing back in Palmerston North on Saturday afternoon.
As always, an event of the magnitude of Targa New Zealand would not be possible without the support of the many local communities along the route, and the vast number of volunteers that assist in all aspects of running it. From motor sport officials to marshal groups, more than 2000 people are required to ensure things go smoothly, and according to plan. My sincere thanks to everyone involved with Targa New Zealand.
Another big thank you goes out to all those residents who are affected by the road closures. While it may only be for a few hours once a year, it still requires cooperation and a lot of finetuning to minimize the event’s impact on local communities — bearing in mind that there are more than 15,000 residents living beside the roads that we’ll close for the event.
The ever-increasing compliance requirements from regional councils, the NZTA, and Motorsport NZ also require more specialized skill sets and add immensely to the cost of running an event, which is why we needed to obtain event organizers.
We also wish to thank Targa’s partners and sponsors for their support — they help to fund these increased requirements. They are passionate about Targa and are willing to assist well beyond financial support, also offering regular feedback about the event, so we ask, where possible, that you please try to support them when you are making a purchasing decision.
Of course, we cannot go past the participants, made up of regulars as well as those who come along when they can — thank you so much for putting Targa New Zealand on your personal motor sport calendar.
Targa New Zealand has a selection of vehicle categories within the competition that allows a diverse range of cars to compete, regardless of their age or power, or the skill of the driver behind the wheel. This is why you see such a variety of cars and the teams that provide service for them. There is even a noncompetitive element, Targa Tour, for those with anything from a classic vehicle right through to a modern-day supercar. The ‘tourists’ drive each stage and become immersed in the event’s culture — some move on to compete, while others stay with the tour; regardless, they all enjoy the fabulous camaraderie that is so unique to New Zealand. So, if this sounds like you, why not join us at our next event? We even maintain a range of leasevehicle options to make it easy to participate in Targa New Zealand. For more details about these vehicles and upcoming events, check out the website at targa.co.nz.
And, finally, to you, the motoring enthusiast, whether you are spectating, servicing, supporting, are an official or participant — we thank you for following Targa New Zealand and playing your part in ‘The Ultimate Road Race’. We hope you enjoy this year’s event and can make some time to come along and check it out along the way.