Targa Tasmania drivers call for car rally to continue despite four deaths in two years

Two drivers in the Targa Tasmania car rally say they want the race to continue despite yet another fatality, arguing it is the danger of the sport that attracts many to compete.

On the second day of the competition on Wednesday, 59-year-old Brisbane man Anthony Graeme Seymour died when his car careered off the course near Mount Roland.

His wife Sandra was the team’s navigator and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

The latest fatality brings the event’s death toll to four in the past two years and has rallied those who say the race should be scrapped.

But Luke Anear, an experienced Targa racer who won last year’s rallies in Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, said while his sympathy went out to Seymour’s family, canceling the event or downgrading it to be non-competitive, was not the solution.

“So I think it’s important that we maintain that perspective that we all choose to do this.

“If a jockey or someone passed away, you’re never going to cancel the Melbourne cup, and Targa Tasmania is an iconic event — it’s the world’s longest tarmac rally, it’s known all around the world.”

Targa Tasmania competitors placed black tape over one headlight, to pay their respects to Tony Seymour.(Facebook: Targa)

In last year’s event, the fatalities of three competitors in two separate events prompted an investigation by Motorsport Australia.

Twenty-three recommendations were implemented by organizers in time for this year’s event, including changes to race routes and speed limits in sections of the race.

“Motorsport Australia and Targa have done an incredible job over the last three decades to continue to improve safety, both for the drivers and the navigators and also for the vehicles.

“That’s ongoing, that is always something that can be improved, and that’s something that everyone takes a part in that responsibility.”

A composite image of three middle-aged men.
Leigh Mundy, Dennis Neagle and Shane Navin died in two separate incidents during the rally last year. (Supplied: Facebook)

Anear said the event had a rich history which could not be ignored.

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