Targa rally targets Sth Canty

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 24/06/2014

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South Canterbury will feature on the Targa New Zealand car rally map for the first time in its 20-year history.

Targa organisers have proposed a series of road closures in Timaru and Pleasant Point as part of this year's rally, which will come to the South Island for the first time in October.

The closures for the October 28 event will include Rosewill Valley, Bassett, Rolling Ridges, Doake, Manse and Smart Munro roads. The roads affected in Pleasant Point will close from 7.45am to 2pm and in Timaru between 8.15am to 2.30pm if the proposal gets the go-ahead.

Targa NZ's South Island rally participants will drive from Christchurch to Queenstown, something many people were looking forward to, event director Peter Martin said.

Rosewill Valley Rd residents Bruce and Judy Washington are among them.

"We'll watch the cars go through," Judy said.

She operates a nursery from their property and would not open on the day of the rally.

"I'm missing a day of business, however I don't think one day is going to kill us," she said.

"Most people in the district are supportive of this. We'll just work around it."

Martin said organisers worked closely with residents to ensure limited inconvenience.

"Once the road has been closed we can escort them in one of our vehicles. We're prepared to negotiate with the people."

Rosewill Valley Rd resident Sue Howes is among those looking forward to the event.

"It's just a bit of excitement in the neighbourhood and we love car rallies," she said. "It will be really nice to have it local, especially classic cars."

Anyone wishing to object to the road closures can do so by writing to the Timaru District Council before July 4.

Martin said the rally, which has had a "travelling entourage" of 2500 people in past years, would raise funds for Kids in Cars, which was part of Kids in the Community Trust.

The event has raised more than $500,000 in the past 10 years, which has all been donated to Cure Kids.

Targa events are divided into classes depending on the age and engine size of vehicles. Classes include historic, pre-classic, classic and post-classic.

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- The Timaru Herald

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