Five - Saturday, September 21, 2002; Clarenville / Bay Bulls / St. John’s
took them a long time, and they came a long way, but Len and Gayle Cattlin have
finally won a Targa event.
Melbourne Australia residents, long-time contenders in the Targa Tasmania which
provided the model for the Targa Newfoundland, drove their fabulously prepared
1967 Ford Mustang fastback to victory
in the “Classic” division (for cars built between 1946 and 1976) of the
first-ever Targa Newfoundland.
there is no official “overall” winner of a Targa rally, the division winner
with the fewest penalty points is generally accorded top honours.
and Andrew Lawson from South Yarra Australia, in the 1938 Alfa Romeo Mille
Miglia Spyder, didn’t have a lot of competition in the Historic division -
they were the only official entrant. (The 1951 Citroen Traction Avant of Edison
Wiltshire was re_classified to Historic because it was built using 1930s
technology. Wiltshire, the official chaplain of the Targa Newfoundland, earned
the nickname “The Faster Pastor”...)
Lawsons had to overcome a blown piston in the final stages to get to the finish
and take the prize.
yet another of the amazing stories that will continue to come out of this event
- any other owner of a monumentally valuable automobile such as this would have
put it on the trailer; John and Andrew limped home on five cylinders, risking
further internal damage to the oily bits, just to complete the challenge.
Lawsons, who were at the very top of the leader board most of the week, finished
Modern division was taken by Bill Arnold and Tammy Hull of San Raphael
California in a 1999 BMW M-Coupe. They sat 5th the overall standings at week’s
and Carolyn Ryall, of Halton Hills (Georgetown) Ontario - the rally capital of
the world, as we shall soon see - took top honours in the Trials
(time-and-distance) Division in their Subaru Impreza WRX. It’s hard to beat
“zero” in rallying - the Ryalls cleared every single stage.
notable results included the second-overall finish (and second in Classic) by
Lennox McNeely and Jeremy Hill, both of Toronto. McNeely’s Mustang, a 1965 GT
fastback, has also run long-distance rallies in South America, and another than
went from Finland to Jordan. (Yes, these people are that crazy...).
an all-‘60s-Ford-V8 podium, finishing third overall and third in Classic, was
reigning Canadian performance rally champion Tom McGeer of, yes, Halton Hills
(Georgetown) Ontario, driving the 1964 Ford Falcon Rally Sprint belonging to his
navigator, Mark Williams, from North Potomac, Maryland, USA.
Falcon was second going into the final day, but the rear brakes locked up on a
corner on the very last stage, one designed primarily to show the cars off to
the St. John’s finish line crowd. The engine stalled, and the time they lost
allowed the McNeely/Hill Mustang to slip ahead of them by mere seconds.
brake problem stemmed from the crash the car suffered on the demonstration runs
prior to the start of the event, when McGeer spun it into a curb, damaging the
rear axle. A replacement was scrounged out of a wrecking yard and hastily
stuffed into the car to get it back in the rally, but the car was never totally
right from that point on. Only the skill and experience of the McGeer/Williams
team allowed them to do as well as they did.
it also points out the essential fact of a Targa rally - it is a long-distance
marathon; a mistake early on can cost you later. You never know until you get to
the finish line.
sadly, only the front spoiler of Jack MacDonnell’s lovely 1976 Datsun 280Z
did. Navigator Carson Rasmussen blames himself for not getting the “caution
call” to Jack in time for the hard right-hander in the final day’s third
stage; the car slammed head-first into a steel retaining wall.
popular MacDonnell was taken to hospital overnight for examination; he will
undergo an MRI to ensure there is no nerve damage.
was unhurt, and hand-carried the largest piece of the car he could lift across
the finish line. The team was awarded finishing medals, but the Targa Trophy,
presented to any car which completes all the Targa (high-speed) stages within
prescribed time limits, will have eluded their grasp - this time; both men say
they will be back.
where did the valiant 1971 Volvo 142S of Doug Mepham and yours truly place?
overall, I’m prouder than I probably should be to say; also, fourth in the
Classic division, second in the “Limited Modified” Classic class to the
Cattlins. It was also the first non-Ford (Volvo is owned by Ford now; it
wasn’t when this car was built), first non-V8, first non-American car, first
four cylinder, first under 200 hp...
did I mention that I live in Halton Hills? That our Volvo was built by the
Sprongl brothers, in Halton Hills? And that rallymeister Ross Wood is from
nearby Milton, also in the Halton region? Something in the water, you
isn’t often that a car can leap two positions on the final day of a long event
like this. Saturday dawned with us in sixth. We inherited one place when the
Lawsons’ Alfa lost a lot of time due to its engine woes. The Arnold/Hull BMW,
ahead of us at km 0.0 this day, lost
just enough time between there and km 493.55 to allow us to squeeze ahead of
there are no official overall results, right?
the competitors were simply stunned by the hospitality of the people of
Newfoundland during this event.
another story shows that Newfoundland doesn’t have a lock on helping others
who are in need.
Buchanan (from guess where? Yes; Halton Hills) blew the clutch on his beautiful
1967 Acadian Canso on Thursday, on the way into Gander.
car is a custom-built piece; there aren’t many off-the-shelf parts that are
going to fit, especially off shelves in Gander Newfoundland.
the Toronto-based director of the “Show Kids You Care” foundation, a primary
sponsor of Buchanan’s effort, fetched himself up on the doorstep of Euro Drive
Clutches in Burlington Ontario at 8:00 a.m. Friday morning, waited while they
custom-made a clutch assembly for the car, drove to the Toronto airport, and put
the bits aboard an Air Canada plane bound (eventually) for Gander. Jud’s crew
took them from there, fixed the car, and it completed the run back into St.
John’s to gain well-deserved finishing medals for Buchanan and co-driver Peter
The Star’s print editions over the past year, I have suggested that if you
have a car that is set up for rallying, you must try this event. If you don’t
have such a car, get one. For the Trials division, you can run any car you want
- there was everything from a 1958 Corvette to a 2002 Jeep Grand Cherokee in
there this year.
you have never run a rally in your life, you won’t be alone - neither had
several of the competitors in this year’s Targa Newfoundland.
for information on how to enter.
the organizers and all their staff; to the literally thousands of volunteers who
marshalled and scored the event, and organized meals and entertainment for the
travelling circus this event proved to be; to the police, ambulance, fire and
paramedic crews who helped keep us safe; to the Canadian Forces who provided
invaluable communications assistance in the
boonies; to the local and provincial governments, without whose support
this could never have happened; mostly, to the people of Newfoundland, who
allowed their communities to be disrupted just so we could have some fun -
“Thank You” just doesn’t seem to cover it, but it’s all our language can
referred to above are, at time of writing, provisional. For detailed official
results, log on to www.rallyscoring.com,
click on “Rally Results”, then follow the link to Targa Newfoundland 2002.
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