Motorsport UK

Targa Rallies



Vini Cruz

DOB: 1983

Lives: Red Lodge, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk

Occupation: Suspension Systems R&D Engineer

Currently competing in: AMSC Targa Challenge and AMSC AutoSOLO Challenge

Career highlights: 2014 and 2016 AMSC AutoSolo Challenge Champion


What got you interested in motor sport in the first place, and what was your first involvement?

I have been involved in motor sport since a very young age. I started in karting and then moved on to 4x4 trials, which are very popular in Brazil where I am originally from. Cars, motorbikes and going fast have always been a passion, so much so that I eventually graduated as a Motorsport Engineer here in the UK.

Where and how did you get started in Targa Rallies?

I was introduced to Targa Rallies by West Suffolk Motor Club members when the organisers of an AutoSOLO event mentioned about a Targa taking place on the following weekends. A friend and I gave it a go in a completely standard Peugeot 106 and absolutely loved it.

What car do you use now, and how much does a season cost?

I use a Peugeot 106 1.4 Quiksilver which is also used on AutoSOLOs by my wife and I. It is pretty much standard apart from being fitted with a Peugeot 106 1.0 gearbox. Taking into account entry fees, petrol, tyres (part-worns) and maintenance (done by myself), I estimate I spend about £400 - £450 per season which is usually about 10 local Targas and AutoSOLO events.

What do you enjoy about your particular form of motorsport?

There a few reasons I enjoy it:

  • The balance between fun and cost (heavily biased towards fun!)
  • Being competitive even though I drive a low powered and almost standard car.
  • The camaraderie and healthy competition between crews.

What tips would you pass onto someone who wants to start competing?

Find out who the local motor club is who run Targa Rallies in your region. They all hold regular meetings/social nights where I am sure you will be more than welcome to join. In my experience, people competing in grass roots motor sport tend to be extremely approachable and happy to share their knowledge. You might even get a seat navigating or a shared drive!

Marshals are always welcome and it gives you the opportunity to experience the event up close as often these events can take place on MOD land which do not allow spectators.

If you decide to take it up, then my tip is not to spend too much to start with. This is a low cost motor sport discipline. Get any car and stick to it. The car will most likely have a higher capability than a regular amateur competitor can extract from it, so spend your time learning how to get the best out of it until you are a very consistent driver. Only then start thinking about modifications or a more capable machine.

Your relationship with your navigator is also important, so work hard to get well synchronised (that means he or she is always right.. so do as you are told!).


Why would you recommend taking up motor sport?

Well, it is a lot of fun, so why not? Besides, you will become a better driver. Even though the speeds on Targa Rallies are not high, you will be challenged on your driving skills and will ultimately learn the vehicle’s limits and how to deal with them.