Deaths to force change in tarmac rallying

·2-min read

Speed limits, altering stages year-by-year to avoid complacency and a tiered licensing system are among the recommended steps set to be endorsed by Motorsport Australia following this year's fatal Targa Tasmania race.

Competitors Shane Navin, Leigh Mundy and Dennis Neagle all lost their lives in the April event, prompting an investigatory tribunal to be established immediately afterwards.

A 61-page report released by the tribunal on Thursday provided 23 recommendations to be implemented for future tarmac rally events.

Among the recommendations are limiting terminal speed in events to 200 km/h and average speed to 132 km/h.

The report also recommends avoiding run-off areas with natural hazards such as waterways, a tiered licensing system and avoiding re-using stages each year to limit complacency.

Motorsport Australia intends to adopt all 23 recommendations, with several implemented immediately for the Targa Great Barrier Reef and Targa West races.

Motorsport Australia chief executive Eugene Arocca said the remainder of the recommendations are expected to be in place by March 1, 2022 ahead of next year's 30th anniversary race in Tasmania.

"It's going to take a bit of work and inevitably there will be some resistance," Arocca said.

"People who want to go racing like less red tape, they like to just make it nice and simple.

"The sad reality is that we need to put safety as paramount as possible.

"Tarmac rallying is a very unique event, as we know, but it's one of those that we need to continue to ensure is as safe as possible because of the high-profile nature of the event, particularly in Tasmania."

The report has been forwarded to the Tasmanian government as well as police and the coroner, to assist them with their own investigations into the deaths.

Arocca said he wasn't aware of what potential outcomes may be forthcoming from those investigations.

"This is as thorough and detailed report of inquiry into these matters as I've seen and I am hoping, and I would expect that having provided them to the police ... and to the coroner who was waiting for this investigation report, that it will inform the coroner and the police as to what we intend to do," Arocca said.

"Our commitment to ensure that those recommendations are in place will hopefully be a matter for the coroner to consider what steps he may wish to take in relation to what happened.

"I would think there's an overwhelming view both within Motorsport Australia and outside of Motorsport Australia that this is an event worth protecting and preserving and improving."

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting