This year's Targa Tasmania has been cancelled amid an ongoing safety review and four deaths in the last two editions.
Three competitors lost their lives in 2021 and, despite an Investigatory Tribunal report which made 23 recommendations to improve safety, there was further tragedy last year.
Motorsport Australia responded by suspending permits for Targa-style tarmac rallies and commissioning a Targa Review Panel, which would find the risk both to competitors and of further serious incidents to be “unacceptably high”.
Even before the Review Panel's 94 recommendations were released, in late-February, the 2023 Targa Tasmania had been postponed from mid-April to October 23-28 as Motorsport Australia continued to review the report.
Now, however, it has been cancelled altogether, as has the Targa Great Barrier Reef which was to take place on September 1-3.
Targa Australia has furthermore announced, via a second statement, that “it will suspend all future motorsport-based events” while it considers the ramifications of the review.
The first statement from Targa Australia today read, in part, “Despite assurances that the sport would be back up and running by 1 July, the safety review panel process is now into its fifteenth month, leaving the sport of tarmac rallying without a clear future direction at this point in time.
“With the large-scale events just seven weeks and three months away respectively, organisers TARGA Australia have been left with no choice but to cancel its iconic motorsport events to the disappointment of competitors, sponsors, officials and all the TARGA fans across Australia and around the world.”
Nevertheless, there is hope that Targa Tasmania will take place again in April 2024.
Targa Australia CEO Mark Perry said via today's first statement, “We have waited and been incredibly patient with the process but there are still a number of outstanding issues that are yet to be resolved.
“Given we need certainty well in advance of running these events, we have no other choice other than to cancel our 2023 events.
“Competitors are also waiting on a clear direction of what the future looks like for them, so are rightly holding off on entering our events.
“This in turn has forced us to cancel our 2023 events, after postponing Targa Tasmania earlier in the year to hopefully give the process more time to be effectively implemented.
“We have sincerely tried as hard as we can to ensure the return of Targa this year. It is another sad day for everyone involved in Targa.
“We will now focus on an exciting return of Targa Tasmania in its traditional place on the calendar from 8 to 13 April 2024.”