Targa rally re­turns to the Hutt

Upper Hutt Leader - - SPORT - COLIN WILLIAMS

‘‘ .... while aware of some ob­jec­tors, the ma­jor­ity of the res­i­dents are in sup­port of the event.’’

The Targa New Zealand car rally will re­turn to Welling­ton for the first time in seven years.

With lo­cal au­thor­ity tem­po­rary road clo­sures ap­proval, three hill stages will be raced on the event’s fi­nal day on Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 28.

The ac­tion will her­ald the first Targa rac­ing in the cap­i­tal since the 2010 rally fin­ished in the cen­tral city in what was a fifth suc­ces­sive year of the event vis­it­ing the cap­i­tal.

In order, three hill stages at Up­per Hutt’s Moon­shine Val­ley, Paekakariki and Makara will pro­vide the fi­nal af­ter­noon ac­tion on a rally which will get un­der way in Auck­land on Oc­to­ber 24.

The Welling­ton events also fea­ture a con­trolled ‘‘roll­out’’ of the rally ve­hi­cles for a pub­lic dis­play at Taranaki Wharf on the Satur­day evening.

Seven stages, and a to­tal 142 kilo­me­tres, will be raced on the fi­nal day, which will be­gin in Palmer­ston North and travel and race in Wairarapa be­fore the ve­hi­cles head over the Rimu­taka hill.

Over­all the 2017 Targa New Zealand com­peti­tors will race 641 kilo­me­tres, at an av­er­age 25km a stage. An­other 1170km will cov­ered in non-com­pe­ti­tion tour­ing on the coun­try’s roads.

Or­gan­ised by the Ul­ti­mate Rally Group, Targa New Zealand is a time-trial event in which com­peti­tors com­pile points over each race leg to ar­rive at a se­ries cham­pion.

Com­pet­ing in a range of classes, the driv­ers and their nav­i­ga­tors head off at 30-sec­ond or one-minute in­ter­vals, with the slow­est out of the gates first for each stage.

Ap­proval of the stage at Moon­shine Hill was given by the Up­per Hutt coun­cil and fol­lowed a change in the or­gan­iser’s plans to hold a sec­ond lo­cal stage in the Akatarawa Val­ley.

The 12km rac­ing will be from the hill road in­ter­sec­tion with Kir­ton Dr to the city bound­ary on Moon­shine Rd and will re­quire a four-hour clo­sure af­fect­ing a num­ber of res­i­dents.

Ad­ver­tis­ing of the pro­posed clo­sure at­tracted three sub­mis­sions op­pos­ing ap­proval and two in sup­port. The sup­port in­cluded An­drew Hut­son, chair­man of the Moon­shine Val­ley Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion, who spoke to the coun­cil. He said the rally re­ceived full back­ing at the group’s re­cent an­nual meet­ing.

‘‘The as­so­ci­a­tion has ac­cepted an of­fer from the Ul­ti­mate Rally Group to as­sist with the event through the Moon­shine Rd and we will be help­ing with the tap­ing of gate­ways, and man­ning of the in­ter­sec­tions as well as the start and fin­ish.

‘‘We have been as­so­ci­ated with this event for many years and while aware of some ob­jec­tors, the ma­jor­ity of the res­i­dents are in sup­port of the event,’’ Hut­son said.

FAST COM­PANY/PROSHOTZ.

Targa New Zealand rally ac­tion hits roads in the Welling­ton re­gion next month. Moon­shine Val­ley Res­i­dents As­so­ci­a­tion chair­man An­drew Hut­son

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