Targa Albany racing events set to shift up a gear as council mulls support

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
The Racewars hill climb from Middleton Beach in 2019.
Camera IconThe Racewars hill climb from Middleton Beach in 2019. Credit: Laurie Benson/Albany Advertiser

With Racewars on hiatus for 2021, the City of Albany council is set to decide tonight whether to throw its support behind a new racing event to get engines firing during the March long weekend.

Thousands of revheads from across the State have flocked to the Albany Regional Airport for Racewars since 2017, injecting more than $10 million into the local economy, according to the City.

Last year, the council voted to sponsor Racewars to the tune of $105,000 over three years.

But Racewars will not go ahead next year, with organisers citing concerns over the uncertainty facing big public events during the coronavirus crisis.

Targa West Events, which ran the Targa Albany Sprint event during this year’s March long weekend, wants to fill the void with an expanded schedule for 2021.

The Targa Albany Sprint is set to return on March 1, running from Middleton Beach to Mt Adelaide.

According to a report to the council ahead of tonight’s meeting, the Royal Australian Air Force is planning activities to run in conjunction with the 2021 Targa Albany Sprint as part of nationwide celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the RAAF.

For next year, Targa West Events is proposing an additional racing event along the road to Camp Quaranup on March 3.

City officers have recommended that councillors grant “in-principle” support for the Quaranup Targa Rally tonight, pending stakeholder consultation and approval of an event management plan by Motorsport Australia.

“Targa West have indicated interest in establishing ongoing motorsport events in Albany and have a track record of running successful and safe motorsport events across the State,” the report said.

Officers also recommended that the council redirect $20,000 of budgeted funding from Racewars to Targa West for the 2021 event. The City had already allocated $35,000 from its current budget for Racewars, which “will not be activated”.

In their report, officers said due to the uncertainty and financial risks involved with hosting Racewars, it would be “imprudent” to go ahead with the 2021 event.

“It would be in our collective best interests that we wait for 2022 to consider resuming operations, noting the runway event has a high cost base and needs significant spectator revenue to cover those costs,” the report said.

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