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Targa Newfoundland – How it all began

by Jim Kenzie, Targa Newfoundland co-founder and three-time winner 


We owe it all to Bob English. Bob, a fellow auto scribe, and his wife Helen had invited me to dinner in their then-home in Erin Ontario, a bit north-east of us in Milton. During dins, Bob mentioned that our mutual friend, Doug Mepham, a former fellow scribe and at that stage of his career a public relations guru, had invited Bob to be his navigator in a crazy event called Targa Tasmania, a week-long performance car rally held in – aw, you guessed it – Tasmania. For the geographically challenged, Tasmania is the island just south of Australia. The event would start on Easter weekend in 2001. 
 
Bob is a wonderful fellow, the sort of chap you would want to share a car with under challenging conditions like these. He is an excellent writer, also a fine driver. But I must say, navigating was not one of his strengths. On several occasions, he and I had driven together on press events. Even while I was driving, I’d often sneak a peek at the route maps or driving instructions he was holding to make sure we didn’t get lost and end up being eaten by wolves. 
 
And Bob knew this about himself. He was worried he might somehow screw up this adventure that Doug had put so much time, effort and money into. He asked if I knew anyone who might like to take on the Tasmanian task. I almost dislocated my shoulder throwing my arm up into the air. 
 
I of course also knew Doug well. He had been at least partially responsible for several aspects of my career. I also knew he was an excellent driver, capably quick, but not foolhardy – someone I’d be comfortable with sharing a car under high-speed, high-stress conditions. 
 
I got in touch with Doug. He knew I was pretty good at it, so he agreed to the swap. 
 


Doug was – is – also just about the neatest person I have ever met. What’s that got to do with rallying? Just that you want a meticulously-prepared car for an event like this. You don’t want to schlep a car half-way around the world to have it blow up on the first corner. 
 
Doug supervised the construction of his car by the respected multi-champion ralliers and rally car builders Frank and Dan Sprongl of FourStar Motorsports in Georgetown, Ontario. It was a 1971 Volvo 142S two-door sedan, one of those “they’re boxy, but they’re good” cars. It meant his car would be solid, and beautifully prepped. “Safe as houses,” to quote Henry Manney III of Road & Track magazine fame. 
 
We completed the rally. It was a great week, on several levels. Didn’t crash. Didn’t die. Don’t remember/don’t care where we placed. Fabulous roads, with the “Special Sections” (for the high-speed stages) closed off to all other traffic. Friendly people. Amazing scenery. 


On the ferry back from Tasmania to Melbourne, we were reminiscing about what a magical time we had just enjoyed. Where else on earth could you pull off something like this? 
 
Neither Doug nor I can recall the exact sequence of this discussion. This was over 20 years ago, dontcha know. But at one point, one of us (I think it was me, but that may be because I’m writing this story…) wondered aloud: What if you had an island like Tasmania? A welcoming population like Tasmanians? A place that could use some tourism dollars like Tasmania? I am quite sure it was me who first uttered these two words in the same sentence: 
 
“Targa, Newfoundland.” 
 
When we got back home, Doug called a chap named Robert Giannou. Back in the day, Doug had done PR for Coca Cola where Robert had been a consultant in St. John’s. Doug recognized the Giannou name from the days of the Canadian Road Racing Championship for Formula Atlantic cars. One of those events was through the streets of St. John’s Newfoundland, which Giannou had organized. Robert was very well-known in Newfoundland, and if anybody could pull something like a Targa Newfoundland off, he would be the guy.  

And he did. 
 
Doug and I did the first Targa Newfoundland together in the Volvo – we thought it was fitting that the car which had carried us through the event that inspired Targa Newfoundland should be the car that carried us through the event which it spawned. 

However, I was sitting on what for me was the wrong side of the car – we both wanted to drive, not “navi-guess” as we joked about it. So, in Year Two, and more by coincidence than design, I ended up as driver in a new-generation MINI supplied by MINI Canada. 


A “Factory” ride! Every driver’s dream. When the navigator MINI had arranged for me – a fellow journalist from Montréal – had to leave unexpectedly in the middle of the week, I stumbled upon a chap named Brian Bourbonniere from Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia. Brian had previously won four consecutive Nova Scotia rally championships as a navigator, and it had ceased to be much of a challenge for him. He was at Targa simply as a crew member for some of his buddies who had entered the event. We went on to win three “Open Division” championships together. 
 
The secret to our success? Among other things, our “chemistry” as a team, which was instantly perfect. Inside the car, I never talked, Brian never shut up. He’d call, “100 metres, easy left.” In 100 metres, I’d make an easy left. No questions asked. 
 
After some ten years together, Brian’s real-life job started getting in the way of his fun, and I had to find another navigator. MINI decided they had had enough too, and I had to find another car. I landed a Kia Optima for a couple of events, and later a Nissan Juke RS Turbo for three more. Once more, tales for another day. 


 
Still, Targa Newfoundland remains the most fun you can have in a car with your clothes on.

Jim Kenzie’s auto/biography, In The Driver’s Seat, includes this history of Targa Newfoundland. Find out more and order a copy here.

Team: Newfoundland MotorHead Racing

Driver: Rob Thompson 

Co-driver: Justin Ronayne 

Car: 2020 Lachute Performance LP400S (full street/track-built Subaru WRX STI) 

Country: Canada  

Team Newfoundland MotorHead Racing excited to race on home soil

Targa Newfoundland has been on Rob Thompson’s bucket list for years. Both of his parents were Targa volunteers in the early years and have race memorabilia in their house in Point Leamington, Newfoundland. He’s long had the desire to race in Targa but work and family commitments kept him from doing that. Not anymore. 

“I’ve always wanted to do Targa. It will be so cool to race through the streets of my hometown at speed,” said Rob, who now lives in St. John’s.  

Co-driver Justin Ronayne, who also lives in St. John’s, has plenty of previous Targa experience as both a driver and co-driver. His racing resume includes autocross, Legends racing and go-karting.   

“The things I like most about Targa Newfoundland are the people, the adventure and of course the cars,” said Justin.  

The pair will be racing a street legal, track-prepped 2020 Subaru WRX STI from Lachute Performance with forged pistons and rods along with upgraded turbo, exhaust, and suspension.  

Rob is the part owner of the project management firm North Star Associates, which is sponsoring his team. Rob also owns TNT Performance, which provides performance tuning for snowmobiles and watercraft. His company is also sponsoring this Targa effort.  

Team Newfoundland MotorHead Racing 

Team: Satish & Savera

Driver: Satish Gopalkrishnan
Co-driver: Savera D’Souza
Vehicle: 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG
Country: USA

Rally champions seek repeat victory at Targa Newfoundland!

Veteran rally champions Satish Gopalkrishnan and Savera D’Souza won the Grand Touring (GT) title at last year’s Targa Newfoundland, and they are hungry for another win this fall.

The husband-and-wife team from New Jersey are seasoned competitors with numerous victories in time-speed-distance (TSD) rallying where precision takes precedence over speed. They were Indian National TSD Rally Champions in 2012 and have clinched multiple national championships in the SCCA RoadRally series since moving to the U.S. Twice they’ve won the gruelling Alcan 5000 Rally from Seattle to Anchorage, in 2022 and again in 2024.

“We have done a lot of TSD rallies, but Targa Newfoundland is one of a kind,” says Satish. “Speeds are high over dozens of closed stages; each stage presenting unique challenges of terrain and altitude, winding over the hills and running through the labyrinthine Brigus. The organizers and community come together to put up a very special event with exacting safety measures and outstanding hospitality. Savera and I had a lot of fun doing the event last year.”

Savera is widely respected for her navigation skills. “I really enjoyed navigating at Targa Newfoundland last year. But I loved Newfoundland’s breathtaking landscapes, lovely people and the great food more, and can’t wait to come back!”

Satish and Savera will once again push their 2023 Mercedes-Benz GLA 45 AMG and themselves to the limit in Targa Newfoundland.

Will you give them a run for the GT title this year?

Targa 2023 in review – a team’s perspective

By: Erin Crant of Husband + Wife Racing, Car #135 – 2009 BMW 135
Targa is an absolutely gruelling week – a complete whirlwind, full of ups and downs and a mix of emotions – adrenaline, defeat, gratitude, happiness, exhaustion, elation, and the list goes on.


Finishing the event is an emotion like none other. We couldn’t have done it without the support and help of our sponsors, many of whom are friends.
Justin and I had an amazing week. It’s not every day you get to do a week-long rally with your spouse; we had an absolute blast and would do it again in a heartbeat. We competed with great folks. Some travelled quite a distance to race in Targa Newfoundland. We made new friends and got to catch up with some old ones. We competed against the legend himself, Randy Pobst. He’s such a down-to-earth, genuine gentleman, who heeded some tips from us during the event, dined with us, shared some stories of his epic adventures, and commended us on a job well done at the end of the week.


This event couldn’t be done without the amazing volunteers, not only the ones we (as competitors) got to see on the stages we ran, but those throughout the communities we visited who graciously welcomed us, cooked fabulous meals for us, and greeted us with smiles. You all deserve the biggest thanks.
One such community was Eastport. They welcomed us at the Legion, fed us a delightful meal of pan-fried cod, and had a delicious display of desserts too. Eastport, for Justin and me, holds a special place. It’s where our Onarock (chocolate) lab, Lou, was born and raised by his fabulous breeders, Wade and Shona Sutton. During Targa, there were so many locals, including them,
who came out to meet the drivers and navigators. The kids were let out of school early to go check things out. Seeing a child beaming from ear to ear sitting in the seat of a race car is truly magical. The place was a complete buzz with excitement.

Justin and I were invited back to Eastport by a lovely local lady, Lori. She informed us of their annual Thanksgiving Parade, explaining that it was a huge event each year for the agricultural exhibition. On Thanksgiving weekend, we hit the highway at 6 a.m. and headed out. Roger Bradley, Parade Marshall, welcomed us with open arms, along with the locals in the parade,
which featured all kinds of different floats, antique cars, and tractors, and even farm animals. What a special event with so many smiles from those who were lined along the roadside, and countless kids (and adults) yelling “heyyy – that’s a Targa car!”

Ocean View Park in Leading Tickles was another fabulous lunch stop where you could walk two minutes in either direction and see the ocean. The waves crashing ashore, the beautiful beach, surf and sand are so picturesque, especially for those “come from aways” who don’t get the chance to see the ocean on the regular like we do here in Newfoundland. The park had all kinds
of carvings and wood cut outs, making for some fun photo ops.

Even for Justin and me, as locals, it’s awesome to get to visit some of these places including some we’ve never been or even thought about going to before.
Hickman’s Harbour is one such place. It isn’t somewhere we’ve been often. The crowds of people who came out to show their support was absolutely heartwarming. There was a massive horde of teens standing on a cliff overlooking the cars race. During our lunch stop we were fed some delectable homemade chili and chowder. Again, amazing hospitality!

Glover’s Harbour was not only the “place with the giant squid”, but also has the cutest local goats, including one which had escaped from the pen and seemingly wanted to join in the Targa fun. The owners were less than impressed, trying to get it back in with the others, while we lined up getting ready to race, just a few feet away.

We’ve driven the Cape Shore many times – usually with our dog, Lou, in the back of our BMW M3 convertible – but racing along the coast, up and down those cliffs at Targa speeds, is something we’ll never soon forget.
The car shows that were held during the event were also a great chance for those who didn’t get out to catch the stages to come out to see the cars, meet the competitors, and purchase a Targa shirt or hat.

Hickman Chevrolet Buick GMC and M&R Auto in Gander helped Justin and me tremendously, as did our fellow competitors Sam and Rick Marshall of Florida. We corded our two back tires and had serious thoughts of having to drive or get a tow home to Paradise and back out again overnight. The Marshalls just happened to have two tires the exact size we needed when things
went awry on Monday night and thanks to these wonderful fellas we didn’t have to go home. It was camaraderie at its best. Being together all week leads to some very close bonds and friendships being built, even among your competition. Targa truly is a tight knit little community. Some of our closest friendships were made through racing.

Targa 2023 had FOUR female navigators – Leanne Junnila (Director of WIMCanada – Women in Motorsport), Olivia Wiltshire-Ryan, Savera D’Souza and me. That’s so impressive. Meeting Leanne was an absolute delight for me. Some time ago, I was gifted a WIM patch from Vinland
Motorsports President Gordon Maxwell for my participation in AutoX (autocross) here in Newfoundland. Showing her my patch that I had proudly sewn onto the wrist of my race suit was super special!

Ultimately, Justin and I finished second in standings. We were tied with Randy Pobst and Craig MacMullen (in their MINI GP owned by John Sr Hume) going into Brigus. However, on our first of three runs, we quickly caught up to the competitor ahead of us in their Porsche. They missed a corner and had to back up onto the course. This meant we were behind them for over 2 km –
more than half the stage – and were unable to pass them, despite Justin’s efforts by flashing his lights, blowing his horn, and even trying to get around them when space permitted. It simply didn’t happen. This cost us nearly 30 seconds and it was deemed as a “rally incident” not allowing us to get our time back. This resulted in penalty time for us that we couldn’t overcome.

On our next two runs in Brigus, we were the fastest car in our division (Targa 1) in raw time, beaten by “Savage Dave” (Dave Wallingford) and Leanne Junnila in their Ford Fiesta (Targa 2), by only four seconds. This was impressive given the caliber of their factory prepared rally car; yet here we were with tools, luggage, and spares in the back with us all week.

Grassroots at its finest, folks. It just goes to show, you don’t need the fastest or most prepared car to run; you CAN do it on a budget. It helps to have a super-skilled driver as a husband, too.


At the awards ceremony, Justin and I received our 2nd place trophies, as well as our Targa Trophy plate. We were one of only three teams to receive this prestigious award. It is given to teams who complete every stage within their trophy time – such a great accomplishment.

Huge thanks to Targa Newfoundland, all the volunteers, the communities who welcomed us, and our fellow competitors for an adrenaline-fuelled and incredible week of racing and camaraderie. Targa 2023 is one for the books!

Team: Rumblestrip

Driver: Dale Levandier
Co-driver: Frances Markel
Vehicle: Not the ’05 Lotus Elise
Country: USA

Targa dream becomes reality

Targa Newfoundland has been a longtime dream for Dale Levandier and Frances Markel and this year it becomes reality for them. It’s a long drive from Massachusetts to Newfoundland but a love of racing and travel combined to attract them to make the trek this fall for the Targa Bambina event.

The couple, who call themselves Team Rumble Strip, shared an interest in motor racing from their earliest years together attending IMSA and NASCAR events at Watkins Glen, not far where they met in Rochester, New York. Later they ventured to Montreal for F1 races.

One of their favourite spectator events was the SCCA sports car races, which were F1 support races in the late ’90s.

“This looked like something we could do,” says Dale. “Some years later, while pondering a visit to Newfoundland, we discovered Targa Newfoundland and have wanted to participate, even once, ever since. We have finally managed to arrange a trip to Newfoundland, and by chance it overlaps with Targa Newfoundland!”

They settled in the Boston area in 1994, where they raised two daughters and pursued their careers. Frances, originally from Ohio, became a successful real estate agent after leaving a career in the semi-conductor industry, while Dale, originally from Nova Scotia, worked as a science researcher.

Dale and Frances are proud owners of a 2005 Lotus Elise, which would be perfect on Newfoundland’s challenging coastal roads, but sadly, it won’t be making the trip to Targa with them.

Team Rumble Strip will be doing a road trip through New England, the Maritimes and on to Newfoundland and Labrador this September on their way to Targa but, alas, the Lotus doesn’t have room for luggage. Instead, they will carve the twisty roads in their faithful Mazda 6.

Zoom zoom, Team Rumble Strip.

Team: Jellybean

Driver: Kurt Penner  

Co-driver: Lu Penner  

Car: 1965 Beaumont Sport Deluxe Convertible  

Classic convertible ready to cross Canada for Targa challenge

The Beaumont is a Canadian built car, one of approximately 400 cars built as SD convertibles. While it appears mostly stock, they did a number of upgrades like disc brakes, quicker ratio steering and suspension mods to improve drivability and handling.  

This nearly 60-year-old classic is no trailer queen as it has already logged 290,000 km (180,000 miles) since they bought the car in 1994 and completed a cosmetic restoration. The Penners have enjoyed taking the car on tours.  

“Our goal for being in the Targa is to experience the cross Canada trip in a classic convertible, participate in a really cool event, and beat on the car a bit, and then drive back home via the USA,” says Kurt. “This is one of our primary vehicles we use to demonstrate how reliable a classic car can be.” 

  

Racing royalty Randy Pobst returns to Race the Rock

Fan favourite superstar racing driver Randy Pobst will head back to the challenging roads of Targa Newfoundland this fall to defend his win last year. Targa Newfoundland, the only tarmac car rally in North America, hits the roads of Newfoundland (a.k.a., the Rock) September 12-19, 2024.

Pobst, John Hume Sr., and Craig MacMullen claimed the Targa 1 division title in 2023 in a 2013 MINI John Cooper Works GP. Targa 1 is a competitive division for cars without roll cages. Pobst has raced at every major track in North America, but Targa is something special to him.

“I’ve always been fascinated with racing on public roads. When I heard about Targa Newfoundland and that they do that for a week I knew I had to do that,” said Pobst. “We go tearing through fishing villages at speed! It’s a unique thrill and experience you can’t find anywhere else. The size of this event is epic and it’s in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”

“We’re thrilled to welcome back Randy Pobst, John Hume Sr. and Team Hume to Targa,” said Joe Dowden, president of Targa Newfoundland. “For anyone who watched Randy in action at full throttle in closed sections like the town of Brigus it was simply awe inspiring.”

Pobst has won dozens of races in multiple categories over his illustrious and lengthy racing career. “Randy the Rocket” earned factory driving contracts with Porsche, Audi, Mazda, and Volvo. He is a two-time winner of the grueling Rolex 24 at Daytona, winner of over 90 pro road races and a member of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Hall of Fame.

His impressive racing resume also includes four World Challenge GT Championships, two IMSA driver’s championships and two North American Touring Car championships and he finished first or second all six times he raced at the SCCA National Runoffs. He also set the modified electric production record at the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in a 2021 Tesla Model S Plaid. He’s fast in anything with wheels.

Pobst throws down the gauntlet – or racing glove – to other drivers to challenge him and Team Hume. “Get a car, come out to Targa, and have an amazing adventure you’re not going to find anywhere else.”

Read more about Randy Pobst at his website: randypobst.com and on Instagram

Targa returns to Gander

Targa Newfoundland, the only tarmac car rally in North America, will return to the streets of Gander this September for the 2024 edition of this exciting world-famous event.  

“We are delighted to welcome Targa back to Gander!” said Mayor Percy Farwell. “With the meticulous efforts and commitment of the organizers to ensure a safe and exciting event, residents and visitors can look forward to an opportunity to view a world class rally event and to get up close and personal with the cars and drivers at the related car shows. We look forward to this unique and exciting event.” 

Targa 2024 will run during the edge of the tourist season from September 12 to 19, 2024, beginning with a two-day drivers’ school in St. John’s before heading out to explore other areas of the province. The Gander stage will take place late afternoon, Sunday, September 15th

“Gander was always a high point for participants in past Targa events,” said Targa President Joe Dowden. “We are delighted that council and residents are welcoming us back this fall. Our goal is to provide a safe and entertaining event for both competitors and spectators alike.” 

Since 2002, Targa Newfoundland has run 23 successful events composed of some 950 stages across the island of Newfoundland on scenic seaside roadways and through quaint towns and villages. This six-day event is motorsport’s ultimate road rally, attracting teams from all over the world to experience and enjoy the people, culture, and hospitality of one of North America’s most beautiful destinations. 

Targa is divided into four divisions for gas, electric and hybrid vehicles, including three competitive classes and one non-competitive touring division. Teams of drivers and co-drivers/navigators challenge themselves and each other racing the clock to achieve the best time and fewest penalties. The competitive sections of the stages are held on roads closed to the public.  

Teams will race on a closed course through a portion of Gander and stay two nights in the town, benefiting local hotels, restaurants and other businesses as well as shining a spotlight on Gander through media and social media attention. Spectators will be able to view the cars in action and at nightly car shows where they can mingle with the drivers and co-drivers.  

“The wonderful people of Gander have always given us a warm welcome and endeared themselves to the competitors,” said Targa founder Robert Giannou. “We’re excited to be back, and hope residents will come out in force to watch the rally, meet the racers and volunteer for the event so we have another successful rally.” 

About Gander 

The Town of Gander is a modern and progressive community in central Newfoundland with a population of approximately 12,000 people. The town is home to Gander International Airport and 9 Wing Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Gander, which includes 103 Search and Rescue Squadron. Gander’s airport hosted 38 planes, carrying about 6,600 passengers, after they were forced to land in Canadian airspace after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. The town’s generosity, warmth, and kindness were highlighted in the hit Broadway play “Come From Away.” Visit Town of Gander (gandercanada.com).  

Exciting Updates for Targa Newfoundland 2024 and Beyond!

Welcome back to Targa Newfoundland! After a four-year break, we’re thrilled to share some exciting news about our recent 2023 event and future plans.

In 2023, Targa Newfoundland made a triumphant return, and while the entry was smaller than in previous years, it added a special touch of fun for everyone involved. Overcoming initial challenges, we successfully concluded the event on a highly positive note.

One noteworthy improvement was the introduction of the Bambina classing system, borrowed from our friends at Targa New Zealand. This system simplified and streamlined our run groups, making the event more accessible and enjoyable for participants. Basic preparation rules remain intact, but the removal of previous performance levels allows competitors the freedom to unleash their creativity and bring one-of-a-kind vehicles to the Targa stage.

Building on the success of this change, we’ve decided to formalize the new class structure for all upcoming Targa events until 2027. This ensures a consistent and exciting experience for participants and fans alike. The updated classes promise a dynamic and inclusive environment, providing competitors the flexibility to develop their vehicles according to their unique visions.

We encourage everyone to check out Volume One for a comprehensive understanding of what Targa events are all about and how Targa Newfoundland runs. Get ready for more thrills, innovation, and camaraderie as we rev up for an exciting future of Targa events!

The new class structure is outlined as follows:

  1. The Targa entries will  be placed in Divisions  Targa 1 (no cage vehicles) and Targa 2 (caged vehicles).
  2. The Targa 1 and Targa 2 vehicles will be divided into:
  • Groups (two wheel drive and more than two wheel drive)
  • Classes (large and small displacement(> 2000 cc’s and < 2000 cc’s)
  • Sub Classes (Classic < 2000 and Modern 2000 and later)

The applicable rules as set out in the attached Volume 2  will read as follows:

6.2.3         Targa 1 and 2 Divisions 

All vehicles in Targa 1 and 2 Division vehicles will be sub-divided into Groups by number of driven wheels, Classes by registration year (Modern or Classic) and by engine displacement (Large or Small). The Organizer reserves the right to change the classification on a misclassified vehicle.

6.2.4      Targa 1 and 2 Groups (TWD or AWD)

The number of driven wheels shall be the determining factor as to which Group a vehicle is classed in

  • The two-wheel drive Group (TWD) shall be composed of vehicles that have no more than two-driven wheels 
  • The all-wheel drive (AWD) vehicles shall be composed of vehicles that have more than two driven wheels 

6.2.5       Targa 1 and 2 Displacement Classes  (Large or Small)

Each Classic or Modern Division Vehicle is assigned to either a large or small displacement group based on the adjusted displacement of its engine using the following multipliers applied to the actual displacement of the engine (All appropriate multipliers shall be applied):

6.2.6       Targa 1 and 2 Year Sub-Classes (Modern or Classic)

The year of production shall be as shown fist by the vehicle VIN, second by the registration documents and thirdly should the former not be available by the organizers based on the year of manufacture. 

Hybrid Vehicles with both internal combustion and one or more electric motors capable, individually or together, of powering the vehicle through two or more drive wheels will be classes as modern. 

Electric Vehicles with one or more electric motors capable, individually or together, of powering the vehicle through two or more drive wheels will be classes as modern.

This system applies equally to the Duemila (8 days) and Bambina (four days) and to the  Targa 1 (no roll cages slower speeds) and Targa 2 (roll cages and greater speeds). 

The Fast tour and Grand Touring Divisionals will remain the same.

After a successful return, Targa Newfoundland looks toward 2024 

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!”