For Jack Piho, the dream to compete in Targa is dashed, but the thrill of experiencing the Targa is not

ST. JOHN’S (May 24, 2016) – For those not from Newfoundland & Labrador, coming to the province to experience Targa Newfoundland is something very special. For Jack Piho, the 15th annual Targa Newfoundland international rally will mean much more to him then most others. Simply being alive to witness the event first hand is his trophy plate.

Jack, a Pennsylvania native, was involved in a major automobile accident in the state in April of 2014.  He suffered brain damage and inner ear damage, resulting in balance issues.  He is no longer medically cleared to compete in any motorsports activities and is no longer allowed to be a private motorsports instructor for those wishing to learn more on the correct way to operate on a race track, which was a pastime he dearly enjoyed.

For the past two years, Jack, who is the owner of a successful engineering company, has been trying to figure out how to compete in Targa.  Potential replacement drivers and navigators have fallen through.  Medical clearance hasn’t been given.  The dream to compete in Targa in any capacity was starting to look like a non-starter.  However, in early 2016, things started to improve for Jack and his racing team.

Bert Howerton, Jack’s racing buddy and good friend from Virginia, agreed to pilot the team’s 1995 BMW 325i for Targa.  A navigator was then brought into the team.  Sean English, who lives in Ontario but is originally from Newfoundland & Labrador, and who finished 2nd in last year’s Classic division within Targa, agreed to navigate and becoming the mechanic for the rookie team.

“I’m really thrilled with the team we have assembled for the event,” expressed Jack.  “Bert’s had experience racing in my Spec E36 BMW with the club racing here in the states, so it isn’t anything new having him in the car in that capacity.  We both really hit it off with Sean and his personality, and I feel both Bert and I are truly blessed to have him involved with the team.  He’s certainly put my mind at ease in regards to having an experience navigator and someone with local knowledge to help Bert and I out as we embark on our first Targa.”

“Put simply, this is an amazing opportunity and I’m thrilled to be a part of the experience,” stated Bert.  “I couldn’t be more honoured to have been asked by team principle, Jack Piho, to pilot the Piho Engineering BMW 325i entry.  As a closed circuit road racer, I am looking forward to this new-to-me form of racing and to working with Sean English, our native Newfoundland navigator.  There will be a lot of firsts for the team come September, but we will be ready for them and, of course, ready to have a great time!”

“I’m honoured that Jack asked me to navigate and be a part of this professional team,” Sean add.  “To be in the car with Bert, and not really have to worry about anything else regarding the team, it’s a pretty good feeling.  I’m looking forward to getting back home and helping these guys out, perhaps get another podium finish and certainly have a bunch of fun in the process.”

Jack has accepted the fact he can no longer compete in motorsports or be a driver instructor.  His main focus now is being the general manager of the Piho Racing team and making sure it’s fully prepared for whatever the Targa throws at them.

“Being a team owner and member of the support crew is the only way I’ll truly experience the Targa in the flesh due to my circumstances.  I’m still an important part of the team.  I get to deal with logistics, make sure all spare parts are packed, make sure the guys are taken care of, and spend the money on improving the car for them – they really like that part.”

When asked about the expectations of the team in their first Targa, Jack was to the point.

“Don’t put it in the ocean.  That’s the only thing I’ve told the guys.  Don’t put the car in the ocean and finish the event.  As long as the guys don’t get hurt, nothing else matters.  But, keeping it on the road and to not be last in our class, those are the aims we’re making for in September.”

The disappointment of not being able to drive in the event still bothers him, but Jack sums up the situation nicely.

“It does sting, but I’m alive.  That accident could have easily killed me.  To be able to still enjoy the experience with my team, meet new people in Newfoundland, see a part of the world I haven’t seen in over a decade, I’ll take that over death any day of the week.”

Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world.  The 2016 competition will start in St. John’s on September 12th and concludes back in the capital on September 16th.  The annual rally will cover more than 1,600 kilometers of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including over 440 kilometers of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.

13055430_10208295664723002_7982455511932300058_n Jack Piho   12743934_10205340554573348_3903445794781416143_n  Bert Howerton  547042_10150682102671821_231650139_n  Sean English

 

MINI Canada to Continue Legacy of Motorsports

For the fifth year in a row, MINI Canada offers the Contingency Award Program to MINI Competitors in the Canadian Touring Car Championship and Targa Newfoundland.

Richmond Hill. MINI Canada has once again announced that it will be supporting motorsports by continuing with the Contingency Award Programs. Honouring MINI’s strong rally history, the incentive program offers Canadians who race a MINI in the Canadian Touring Car Championship (CTCC) and the 2016 Targa Newfoundland the opportunity to be rewarded for their commitment to domestic motorsports. Each year from 2009 to 2015, a MINI driver has celebrated a 1st or 2nd placing in the CTCC Touring class. The past two seasons have been exceptionally exciting, with Michel Sallenbach winning the title in 2014 in his MINI John Cooper Works Coupe, and Alain Lauziere in 2015 in his MINI John Cooper Works 3 door.

For the CTCC, MINI Canada will pay contingency awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishes in the Touring and Super classes, while also rewarding champtionship titles.

“The MINI brand helped us to celebrate our first year in 2007 with an overall victory in Touring Class. Since that time, MINI vehicles have become a fan favourite and a solid challenger on the track with multiple podiums and overall championships,” stated John Bondar, President of the Canadian Touring Car Championship presented by Continental Tire. “As we begin our tenth championship season, we are grateful for the support of MINI Canada and look forward to another exciting year with MINI battling for victory in every race.”

For Targa Newfoundland, MINI Canada will have a contingency payout structure designed to reward a first place finish in the Open, Modern, and Grand Touring classes. With the defending Modern class winners of Billy Anderson and Max Cline Abrahams returning in their MINI Cooper S, another top podium finish is very much within reach.

“Motorsports has been an essential component of MINI’s DNA since shortly after its debut in the marketplace. Ever expanding competition successes around the globe carry on this rich tradition, highlighted by MINI’s growing family of performance oriented Cooper S and John Cooper Works models” said Andrew Scott, Director of MINI Canada. “The Contingency Award Program encourages and rewards the skilled drivers of the CTCC to take to the track in one of our exciting vehicles.”

The contingency payout structure for the Touring Class will reward 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in each race as follows:

PLACING

1ST PLACE – $1,000 CASH REWARD

2ND PLACE – $750 CASH REWARD

3RD PLACE – $500 CASH REWARD

Championship – $5,000 CASH REWARD

The contingency payout structure for the Super Class will reward 1st, 2nd and 3rd place finishers in each race as follows:

PLACING

1ST PLACE – $1000 CASH REWARD

2ND PLACE – $750 CASH REWARD

3RD PLACE – $500 CASH REWARD

Championship – $5,000 CASH REWARD

The contingency payout structure for the 2016 Targa Newfoundland competition will reward each class as follows:

PLACING

1ST PLACE in Open Class – $3,000 CASH REWARD

1st PLACE in Modern Class – $3,000 CASH REWARD

1st PLACE in Grand Touring Class – $3,000 CASH REWARD

BMW Group in Canada

BMW Group Canada, based in Richmond Hill, Ontario, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BMW AG and is responsible for the distribution of BMW luxury performance automobiles, Sports Activity Vehicles, Motorcycles, and MINI. BMW Group Financial Services Canada is a division of BMW Group Canada and offers retail financing and leasing programs and protection products on new and pre-owned BMW and MINI automobiles, as well as retail financing for new and pre-owned BMW Motorcycles. A total network of 44 BMW automobile retail centres, 20 BMW motorcycle retailers, and 30 MINI retailers represents the BMW Group across the country.

For more information, please contact:

Barb Pitblado, Director, Corporate Communications

BMW Group Canada

416-305-1709 / barb.pitblado@bmwgroup.ca

Rob Dexter, Product and Technology Specialist

BMW Group Canada

905-428-5447 / robert.dexter@bmwgroup.ca

_DM_0817ADM_9208ADM_9923076J1662ADM_9161

Mother’s Day Special!

New entries who sign up this weekend only in Targa and Grand Touring divisions, save $1,000.00 off the advertised price!*

For potential U.S. competitors, the exchange rate means you’ll save even more if you enter this weekend only!

What could be more romantic than entering Targa and giving that special lady in your life the trip of a lifetime…no not to some beach where she’s pampered for a week…but driving her car or yelling navigation commands at you here at Targa Newfoundland!

Contact registrar@targanewfoundland.com or call the office at 1-877-332-2413 to take advantage of the special!

*Competitors already registered are not eligible for this special. *Entry must be paid in full at time of registration.

Image below is of our long time volunteer Vannessa Badcock with Baby Emma…Momma’s first Mother’s Day this weekend!

13091937_10156743814975447_4215588461016539325_n