Tarmac rallying suspended in Australia

Tarmac rallying suspended in Australia

There have been four deaths on the famous tarmac rally in the past two years, starting with three competitors killed in two crashes in 2021.

That prompted a wave of changes to the event, including terminal and average speed limits, for this year.

However the event was rocked by another fatality on just the second day in 2022 when 59-year-old Anthony Graeme Seymour was killed, which led to it being immediately downgraded to non-competitive.

Both Targa Australia and Motorsport Australia admitted at the time that the fatalities had cast significant doubt over the future of targa-style events in Australia.

As investigations continue, Motorsport Australia has now decided to effectively suspend tarmac rallying.

That decision was made during a board meeting today.

The Motorsport Australia board also decided to create a Targa Review Panel to investigate the latest death, which will be chaired by Garry Connelly and will include Matthew Selley and Neal Bates as members.

“First and foremost, we again extend our sympathies to the Seymour family during this tragic time and will remain on hand to support them, as well as the wider motorsport community,” said Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca.

“While many competitors acknowledge that motorsport is dangerous, we cannot accept that death is an outcome of competition as has been suggested to us.

“There are far-reaching consequences following such incidents, whether it be for the first responders who attend, the volunteer officials that are part of the event or witness these incidents, as well as the enormous impact on family and friends.

“There are also insurance and legal ramifications that impact the wider sport when incidents such as this occur. There are flow on effects that follow incidents such as these, widely impacting all aspects of motorsport, including license costs and permit fees for all disciplines.

“As the peak governing body for four-wheeled motorsport in this country, Motorsport Australia must do everything it can to prevent these tragic incidents, and this will often mean having to make difficult decisions for the safety and sustainability of our sport.

“At this current time, we are not in a position to establish the cause of this recent incident, and this may take some time. Accordingly, the Board has determined that a Review Panel will be appointed to investigate the cause of the incident and to conduct a wider review of this form of competition. Any recommendations will then be considered by the Board for implementation on a more permanent basis.

“We have spoken to key event organizers and informed them of this decision, and while they are understandably disappointed, we will continue to liaise with them as this process continues.”

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