Wonderful World of Targa Rally

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In one of the many discussions that take place during the month in RMS Motoring Towers, resident snapper Graham Curry revealed he was off to a Targa Rally. Blank faces all round. What exactly is a Targa Rally? Head honcho Andy Cooper developed visions of semi-convertible Nissan 300zxs dicing with old skool Porsche 911s, gumball-style. The reality is somewhat different. Targa rallies are a very low cost entry into a proper regulated motorsport. However, roofless is always an option.

Imagine navigational rallying crossed with elements of autotesting. Competitors complete on special tests, which are held on private land and the crew with the lowest time and least penalties wins. Classes can be devised around the competitor’s ability and the age of the vehicle.

Ford Escort Targa Rally

The regulations are designed to encourage all comers, all types of vehicles with the emphasis on cheap competition. It really is an anything goes type of sport. But inevitably, the nature of the tests favours light, agile cars which can change directly very quickly. No surprise then that the Mazda MX-5 is ubiquitous with the sport.  The lightweight rear-drive platform provides the dinky little Mazda with the grin factor and a bit of an edge when it comes to pirouetting round cones.

Mazda MX-5 Targa Rally

The emphasis is on achieving rhythm and having fun, rather than outright flashes of speed. Don’t be fooled, this isn’t a sedate sport by any fashion. Multiple surface changes, crafty routes combined with whatever the weather decides to do, mean car control is always pushed to the limits. Big spins, ditchslapping snakes and overshoots are the order of the day!

Nissan Micra Targa Rally

Targa rallies are organised all over the UK by local motorclubs and Northern Ireland is no exception. Events take place right throughout the year, attracting strong fields and tight competition. Fancy a tilt at Targa, or need to satisfy your curiosity? You can find out more information on the Association of Northern Ireland Car Clubs website: www.anicc.org.uk

Pictures by Graham Curry Photography

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About Author

Chris Andrews

Chris, known as Cess on the forums, is a long time RMS member. He is a fervent motorsports enthusiast and lover of all things automotive. He can be found on the ditches of most Irish rallies, at Mondello watching drifting or in front of the TV watching motorbike racing.

RMS Forum Comments

Graham 07:24 | Wed 26 Oct, 2016 | Report
Great read
cauld1 20:07 | Wed 26 Oct, 2016 | Report
Good to see a bit more press about targa events! Worth noting that the rules aren't especially open regarding car types. For example my 1.3 Peugeot 205 isnt eligible as it has a pair of twin choke carbs even though they are factory fitted (only allowed one twin choke carb). Great fun events nonetheless!
FAKER 23:37 | Wed 09 Nov, 2016 | Report
| Good to see a bit more press about targa events! Worth noting that the rules aren't especially open regarding car types. For example my 1.3 Peugeot 205 isnt eligible as it has a pair of twin choke carbs even though they are factory fitted (only allowed one twin choke carb). Great fun events nonetheless!
So have they now tightened up on the regs? Meaning a nova sport or samba rallye won't be eligible?
FM155 01:03 | Thu 10 Nov, 2016 | Report
Doesn't Robert Woodside snr's Mk2 escort have group 1 downdrafts on it? Must be eligible if fitted at the factory or as an option?
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