Fresh from thrilling spectators from St. John’s to St. Bride’s to Leading Tickles and everywhere between, the first event since a four-year hiatus, Targa Newfoundland organizers, fans, and competitors eagerly await the 2024 edition.
Competitors returned to the capital city of St. John’s on Thursday, September 21 after covering close to 2,000 km of the island’s roads in the preceding 6 days. The Targa 1 Division, consisting of vehicles which have not been fully race-prepared, was conquered by long-time Targa competitors and previous winners John Hume Sr. and Craig MacMullen of Ontario and Nova Scotia, respectively, in their Team Hume Media Inc. 2013 Mini GP. Their success was further fueled by the addition of world-renowned rally driver, YouTube personality, and Motor Trend contributor, Randy Pobst of Ohio.
The Targa 2 Division, composed of competition-prepared, rollover-protected vehicles, saw Savage Rallysport’s entry, driven by Dave Wallingford of Ohio and Leanne Junnila of Alberta, take top honours in their bone-rattling, fully prepped 2017 Ford Fiesta. Rounding out the winners of the competitive divisions, Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D’Souza, both of New Jersey, took home first place in the Grand Touring (GT) Division, in their 2023 Mercedes Benz GLA 45 AMG. The GT Division is a time-speed-distance (TSD) event where precision takes precedence over speed.
“Our primary goal this year was to deliver a safe and entertaining event for competitors and spectators alike,” said Targa President Joe Dowden. “I’m happy to say we’ve successfully delivered on all fronts. The drivers and their navigators have returned home, but we’ve already received commitments to the 2024 event.” As in previous years, Targa 2024 will run during the edge of the tourist season in mid-September. The 22nd running is scheduled from September 12 to 19, 2024, beginning with a two-day drivers’ school before heading out to explore other areas of the province.
“Our welcome in the towns and villages of the province is reminiscent of Targa’s heyday,” continued Dowden. “In every community we visited, no matter the size, spectators showed up in droves to volunteer, view the action, and to mix and mingle with competitors during the daily lunch stops and nightly car shows.”
While entries for the 2023 running of Targa were less than the regular numbers seen in events prior to 2019, organizers are viewing the event as a total success. “While less competitors could be viewed as a negative, the other organizers and I are reminded why Targa is viewed in such high regard in Canada and worldwide,” stated Targa founder and Chairman, Robert Giannou.
“The camaraderie and sense of family which was developed among this year’s competitor group is second to none and shows why Targa was first started and continues to this day. More importantly, we proved to ourselves and the competitors that Targa is back!”