WA’s road rally is back to its original four-day format

Headshot of Stephen Scourfield
Stephen ScourfieldThe West Australian
Rally cars in Toodyay.
Camera IconRally cars in Toodyay. Credit: Elevation Digital/Supplied

Tarmac rallying is truly back, with this week’s announcement that the four-day endurance Tarmac West rally will be held in Perth and surrounds from September 12 to 15.

There are competitive sections in Whiteman Park, Malaga and in Perth City, and the cars will head out as far as Toodyay, as they cover 251km on roads that are closed to the public for the event.

Tarmac West is free for spectators, with dedicated points where they can safely watch the action.

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Will White in Malaga.
Camera IconWill White in Malaga. Credit: Tim Allott/Supplied


Thursday September 12 The Ceremonial Start is in Perth CBD. The drivers and navigators then head to Whiteman Park for competitive stages, with twilight stages on closed roads in Ellenbrook.

Friday September 13 Competitors drive to the east of the city, against the clock. They will head to Parkerville and Kalamunda, including driving the Zig Zag stage, before returning to Forrest Place to park up for a Show and Shine.

Saturday September 14 This is the big day to Toodyay, Maryville Downs and Bullsbrook. The cars will cover nearly 120km. They include long, flowing sections where the cars can be opened up and drivers can find their rhythm.

Sunday September 15 There are fast and technical stages in Malaga Industrial area in the morning. The City of Perth stages around Riverside Drive are in the afternoon. Langley Park will host the Celebration of Motorsport and Hot Rod Street Machines alongside Shannons Classics on the Swan.

Simon Gunson in Toodyay.
Camera IconSimon Gunson in Toodyay. Credit: Tim Allott/Supplied


Tarmac Events WA director Ross Tapper says this year’s return to a four-day format has been well received by competitors.

“We’re really happy to be back to our original format, and so are the competitors,” he says. “We are very fortunate in WA to have a strong and supportive rally community, so much so that long-term competitor Will White has offered to assist interstate competitors to find support crew.

“AASA has been tremendous in its support of our events, and I think it’s because they can see the experience of the team and have seen us run 13 safe and successful events for the past year.

“We encourage interstate competitors to enter to test their skills against WA’s best.”

The rally was last held in this original format in 2021. It was put on hold while Motorsport Australia investigated fatalities at other tarmac rallies in the eastern states.

A rally spokesperson explains: “WA competitors rejected the changes of Motorsport Australia’s regulations that require both driver and co-driver to be assessed to get expensive international licences which enforce speed restrictions for their first 10 events, regardless of motorsport experience.

“For the past three years, a series of short and fast Rallysprint events have instead been held in WA. Last year, Tarmac Events Pty Ltd was formed, and successfully ran Tarmac West under the sanctioning body, Australian Auto-Sport Alliance (AASA). The safe and successful running of 15 Tarmac Events rallies has enabled the return of the traditional long form Tarmac West.”

Mark Cates in Ellenbrook.
Camera IconMark Cates in Ellenbrook. Credit: Tim Allott/Supplied


This year’s rally has a new Time Speed Distance category, which opens the rally up to anyone with a standard car and helmet. They will just need an Australian Auto-Sport Alliance (AASA) general speed licence.

TSD entrants have to complete each stage as close to possible to the time allowed. They are penalised for an early finish even more than they are for finishing late . . . so this is very much timed driving, not flat-out racing.

Mini in Kalamunda.
Camera IconMini in Kalamunda. Credit: Tim Allott/Supplied


Modern or Classic cars can enter three categories in Tarmac West:

T200 has a maximum speed of 200kmh.

T165 limits speed to 165kmh.

T130 has a speed limit of 130kmh.

There are also categories for Rookies and a 2 Day Rally for those who only want to commit to competing on the weekend.


John O'Dowd in Toodyay.
Camera IconJohn O'Dowd in Toodyay. Credit: Tim Allott/Supplied

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