'Shattering news': Targa Tasmania rocked by fourth death in two years

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Tasmania police, pictured here at the scene of the crash.
Targa Tasmania has been rocked by a fourth death in the last two years. Image: Monte Bovill/Twitter

There are fresh concerns about the safety of the annual Targa Tasmania rally race after a fourth driver died in the last two years on Wednesday.

A Brisbane man died on Wednesday when his car crashed over an embankment on a closed section of the event at Mount Roland, in the state's north, about 3.30pm.

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The man's wife, who was his passenger, walked away from the crash and was taken to hospital for observation.

Tasmania Police have confirmed the 59-year-old man died at the scene, while the woman suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Targa Tasmania CEO Mark Perry said it was "shattering news".

"We lose a close member of the Targa family, a long-term, regular competitor of ours," he told reporters on Wednesday night.

"It's hard to put words to it for us right now, after last year and all the work we've done.

"After the 90-minute briefing we gave everyone the other day ... we swing towards devastation.

"We're totally devastated given we worked so hard to improve the event from last year."

Leigh Mundy and Dennis Neagle, pictured here before their tragic deaths.
Leigh Mundy and Dennis Neagle died in a crash during Targa Tasmania in 2021. Image: Facebook

Mr Perry said the pair were in the final stage of the event's second day and were one of the last few cars on course.

"It's a long-term stage for us, not new, it's not unfamiliar to any of the competitors, particularly this crew, they've done many events with us before," he said.

Tasmania Police crash investigators will return to the scene on Thursday to obtain photos and information.

Emergency services worked into Wednesday night to remove the man's body from the wreckage.

"I'm told the road was wet but it wasn't raining at the time," Tasmania Police Inspector Darren Hopkins said.

"(We have) no idea at this stage (about the cause). It could even be a medical condition."

Shane Navin, pictured here before Targa Tasmania in 2021.
Shane Navin (L) died during Targa Tasmania in 2021. Image: Facebook

Fresh concerns about safety of Targa Tasmania

Early on Thursday morning it was decided that the race would continue, but as a non-competitive tour event.

Drivers will now be limited to the sign-posted speed limits for the remainder of the event.

Shane Navin, Leigh Mundy and Dennis Neagle all lost their lives in two crashes during last year's event, prompting an investigatory tribunal to be established.

It made 23 recommendations for future tarmac rallies, including speed limits, altering stages year-by-year to avoid complacency and a tiered licensing system.

Seventeen of those recommendations have been adopted by rally organisers, with six the responsibility of Motorsport Australia to implement.

The latest death takes the number of competitors to die during the Tasmanian event's 30-year history to six.

Social media has been flooded with concerns about the safety of the event after the latest tragedy.

with AAP

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