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Rally benefits communities and charity

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Communities along the route and the event's official charity, Cure Kids, will be the major beneficiaries when the annual Targa New Zealand tarmac motor rally leaves Auckland next Tuesday morning.

As much as $100,000 will be channeled back into local schools and sports groups over the five days that the event travels from Auckland to Havelock North and at least $50,000 is expected to be raised for Cure Kids, bringing the total amount the event has raised for the charity (which funds research into life-threatening childhood illnesses) since 2002 to $500,000.

These are significant numbers and reflect the close and mutually beneficial relationship the event has with the communities - the majority rural - it passes through every year.

"To give you an example, "says Peter Martin, who with wife Vicki owns and oversees the five-day Targa New Zealand and its two-day Targa Bambina (Waikato/Coromandel) and Targa Rotorua siblings, "each stage we run requires between eight and 42 marshals and this year we are running 37 stages.

"Keith Barnhill is our event coordinator and it is his job to engage with local groups - usually schools in the first instance then sports clubs - to source the marshals we need for each stage. Each group can get up to $100 per marshall provided, depending on the length of stage, number of intersections and number of marshals we require for each stage.

"We then have what we call Passage Controls. These are placed on the touring routes between stages and each car involved in the event - and that includes the official cars as well as those of the competitors - is required to make a minimum gold coin donation of $2 to the community so someone (from the community) has to collect that.

"Then there are the Service Parks, lunch stops and car washes. We donate usually somewhere around $500 to hire a ground for each service park then we offer people in the local community the opportunity to run sausage sizzles, cakes stalls, raffles that sort of thing to raise money on top of that.

"We also contract to communities along the way the job of providing lunch packs for our competitors. We guarantee them - say - 300 a day at $10 a pack and they can, if they want to, make a few more and sell them to crew members, supporters, spectators etc."

"Finally there's a compulsory car wash at the end of each day which is another good little earner for our community groups. Because we want the cars looking their best when they go on display at parc ferme each night we insist that each and every car be washed before it is parked up for the night. That costs $5 per car and the job usually goes to a local sports club."

With 131 confirmed entries and almost as many official and/or service/support vehicles directly involved in this year's six-day event it's not hard to see how the amount of money the event contributes to the communities along the way can mount up.

The three Targa events are also a major boon for local authorities, as the Rotorua District Council discovered when the results of an independent event impact report on last year's two-day Targa Rotorua event were tabled by market research specialist APR Consultants.

The report found that approximately 663 people were directly involved with the Queen's Birthday weekend event and that the total spend per competing car over the event (over and above the cost to enter and run the vehicle) was $1,879.76. Split that in two to take into account the fact that each car has a driver and a co-driver and the figure is $939.88 per person.

"To put that figure into perspective, says Martin, "the average tourist spends just $87 a day while they are in New Zealand!"

Competitors are also more than happy to dig deep for the event's official charity, Cure Kids.

The main way most contribute is by buying a Cure Kids decal. There are three sizes costing $100, $200 or $500. While there is absolutely no compulsion to go for the $500 or even the $200 decal, Targa New Zealand regulars like Ross Johnson and Mack Storey are leading by example.

Johnson, the man behind the Auckland-based Global Security business, has teamed up with fundraiseonline.co.nz to give visitors to his company's website (<a href="http://www.globalsecurity.co.nz">www.globalsecurity.co.nz</a>) the chance to donate to the Cure Kids charity directly.

Mack Storey, meanwhile, has put out an open challenge to his fellow competitors to buy not one but two $500 stickers - whatever it takes to meet and hopefully exceed the goal of raising $50,000 from this year's event.

"Every year," he says, "I get tears in my eyes when a Cure Kids ambassador speaks to us and I feel we do not do enough to support this wonderful organisation. So my idea this year is simple - if we can all buy a $500 car sticker then try to sell one to another person/business we can easily reach our goal. Let's show Cure Kids that we care and can make a difference. Think of it as saving a life!"

This year sees a new direction for the Targa New Zealand event, with competitors heading north from the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland starting point on Tuesday October 25 to an overnight stay in Whangarei before returning south via Auckland, Taupo and Palmerston North, then east to the finish line at Havelock North in the Hawke's Bay on Saturday October 29.

This year has been a busy one on the commercial front for Targa NZ with Federal replacing Dunlop as the supplier of control tyres and Allied Petroleum and Allied Lubricants coming on board as official fuel and oil suppliers.

As part of the deal an Allied Petroleum tanker will follow the event to cater for all the fuel needs of the competitors.

Cure Kids is the official charity of Targa New Zealand and the 2011 Targa New Zealand tarmac rally is brought to you with the support of sponsors Allied Petroleum, APN, Britz, NZ Classic Car magazine, Federal motorsport tyres, Global Security, Instra Corporation, Meguiars, Metalman, Mobil1, NewsTalkZB, TeamTalk, TrackIt, VTNZ, and Woolrest Biomag, and the Hastings, Taupo and Whangarei District Councils.

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