Peter Martin, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Targa New Zealand

New Zealand Classic Car - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

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.

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