CLARENVILLE (September 14, 2016) – Targa Newfoundland reached the halfway mark in this year’s 15th annual tarmac rally today. Blue skies and warm temperatures made for an excellent day of competition on the Bonavista peninsula.
The day began with the Lethbridge stage followed by stages in the communities of Brooklyn, Lockston, and Trouty. Crews stopped for lunch at the Trinity Parish Hall midday, which is a favorite spot for many of the competitors each year the lunch is held there. After the second stage in Trinity, competitors then headed to stages in Champney’s East, English Harbour, and finally completed the grueling day of 11 high-pressure stages in Port Rexton.
In Lethbridge, the Newfoundland team of Gordon Maxwell and navigator Wayne Lorenzen in their 2008 Mitsubishi Evo had an incident where the vehicle slide off course. The driver was given on-site medical attention and then transported to hospital. He has since been released, however will not continue in the competition. The navigator will continue on tomorrow in a different vehicle, a 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, in the Fast Tour division, which is the non-competitive portion of the Targa.
Andrew Comrie-Picard identified an engine issue in his 1996 Mitsubishi Evo 4 that has taken him out of the running for the time being. He is hoping to rejoin the event in the morning. John Robinson, of Nova Scotia, switched out his 1995 BMW M3 for a 2007 Chevy Suburban (their former service vehicle) this morning after engine issues also took him out of the event. He too is now in Fast Tour for the remainder of the event. And early this evening, one of the founding members of Targa Newfoundland, Doug Mepham, also had terminal engine issues in his MINI that has caused him to withdrawal from the event.
After three days of competition, and with multiple engine failures, the standings are starting to sort themselves out. In Targa’s Open division, there is still a very tight battle between defending champion Jean Luc Bergeron, multiple Targa winner Mike Davenport, and the two Lognay teams out of Quebec, all battling for the top spot. In Modern division, it still is neck and neck between defending champion Billy Anderson and John Hume Jr. In Classic, there are six teams within seconds of each other for the lead in that division. And in Grand Touring, the battle between John Hume Sr. and the Damm’s of Oregon is still going strong.
Tomorrow Targa heads to the northern portion of the Bonavista peninsula, starting off with a double stage of both Open Hall and Tickle Cove. The competition then proceeds to stages in Kings Cove, Keels, and Melrose. The day continues with two stages in Trinity Bay North, and concludes in the community of Little Catalina.
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 conclude back in the capital on September 16th. The rally will cover more than 1,600 kilometers of challenging roads in the central and eastern portions of Newfoundland. It includes over 440 kilometers of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.
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