September 16, 2016 —The 15th annual Targa Newfoundland competition has concluded. Over the course of five grilling days on a variety of surfaces and weather conditions the champions have emerged.
Stages started in North West Brook, Hodges Cove and North Harbour. After lunch in Cupids, where local members of the community fueled competitors with a delicious pan fried cod meal, they then continued on to the last stages of the event, concluding in the town of Brigus. The final course is known to competitors as the battle ground that separates the true drivers from the weekend warriors. This year’s contenders were able to complete the final push without incident, a testament to the skills of this years teams.
A team from Massachusetts, Thomas Casals and Brad Mello driving their BMW, sadly weren’t able to complete the event due to having an off in the second to last stage in front of a local resident’s house. In a kind hearted turn of events, they took their sorrow to brighten the day of the local’s grand son by providing him with their Targa license plate in an effort to turn their hard luck in to a gracious gesture.
Bert Howerton, of Pennsylvania and Newfoundland’s Sean English in a 1995 BMW 325i missed a right turn during the stage in Tickle Cove yesterday, sending them off the road. Even after their misfortune, the team commemorated the completion of this year’s event by walking across the finish line, bumper in hand, to receive their medal. Sean English said “we owe a big thank you to the Targa Safety requirements which allowed us to walk away without a scratch”. English was grateful for the help of Tickle Cove locals who helped extract their car from off the course, “It’s a true testament that Newfoundlanders always come together in a time of need, and that something good always comes from something bad”.
The day ended with the crowning of division winners at the fair grounds located on Water Street in Brigus. The winners of this years tarmac rally are Newfoundlanders Richard Atkinson and Jonathan Cole in the Classic division, Billy Anderson and Max Cline Abrahams in the Modern and Quebec natives Ludovic and Lauriane Lognay in the Open division. Defending champions Marius and Renee Damm took home the win for Grand Touring. Anderson and Abrahams also took home the Grand Master Challenge title.
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 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.