Four - Friday, September 20, 2002; Gander / Leading Tickles / Clarenville
DOES Newfoundland get these place names? “Leading Tickles”?
exquisite fishing village of Leading Tickles is where the Targa Newfoundland
went Friday, and it was an amazing experience - never mind the driving.
as I can figure out, a “tickle” is the shallow water between an island and
the mainland (a relative term...) whose depth varies with the tide. Maybe as the
tide flows in and out, it “tickles” the shore?
only one road in to Leading Tickles, so there’s only one road out. They shut
it down for a couple of hours this morning so we could enjoy a 32 km blast along
some long, straight stretches of not-too-bumpy pavement, and some serious
they shut it down again after lunch so we could get back home.
1964 Ford Falcon Rally Sprint - one of the cars Ford commissioned from NASCAR
race car builders Holman and Moody to tackle the European rally scene in the
mid-‘60s - was the first car to pass the 1971 Volvo 142S, owned and driven by
Doug Mepham and navigated by your truly, on a high-speed stage in the Targa
Newfoundland to date.
would have been nice if owner/driver Chip Johns, a larger-than-life Texan who
sometimes (not today...) wears a larger-than-Rhode-Island cowboy hat and driving
shoes made to resemble cowboy boots, had arrived at our back door during the
the timing had him loom in our rear-view mirrors in the hilly-twisties.
he not only had to deal with a very challenging corner at high speed, he also
had to avoid punting us into November...
got significantly sideways on the gravel shoulder, directly in front of us, and
gathered it up, only to partially lose it again, and slew the other way. More
gravel, more heroic and ultimately successful steering, and he was away.
Cassidy IV, the Maine man in the bog-stock Subaru Impreza four-wheel drive, had
two major moments today, spinning twice, fortunately without damage to himself,
his co-driver, his car, the civilians, the environment, or the local
were a couple of mechanical issues today too. Most of us arrived at the
Clarenville hockey rink where the cars slept the night away, only to find the
supercharged Ford Mustang of Richard Squires and Albert Kenney blocking the only
entrance to the building which the cars could go through. The left side of the
car was jacked ‘way up, and the cylinder heads were on the ground. This looked
transpired that the valve lifters were beginning to pound the stems of these
valves into so many mushroom-shaped paper weights.
local lads borrowed a pair of generally stock heads from a friend’s car, and
they were back in the event by lunch Friday.
Churchill’s massive and massively budgeted Dodge Viper (“Voiper”, as they
say here...) GT-S coupe drove in to the compound in Gander last night, but it
wouldn’t start this morning. We began to wonder of some of Churchill’s crew
might become permanent residents of Gander...
diagnosis indicated that the fuel pump was poo-poo. A replacement was fitted,
and Jerry blasted off to try and catch up with us at Leading Tickles.
as the story was related to me, this was during the open-to-the-public time
period, and the RCMP took a dim view of Jerry’s (very near “escape...”)
wasn’t the only contribution the Detroit-area trucking company owner made to
the local economy on Friday - Leading Tickles suffered a major disaster recently
when the local Anglican Church, apparently one of the oldest wooden churches in
the province, burned to the ground.
Ticklites (well, what would YOU call them?) had organized a bunch of
fund-raising activities, including raffling off a locally-hand-sewn quilt to
Targa participants. Churchill bought a bunch of tickets and was lucky enough to
walk away with a wonderful souvenir of his trip. Something a bit more meaningful
than a slightly used fuel pump, that is.
premier Roger Grimes, whose riding encompasses Leading Tickles, was on hand to
boost the fund by an additional $1,000.
raffle was but one example of the spirit we saw in this isolated but stunningly
beautiful community. The elementary school kids sang, “This Land is Your
Land”. There wasn’t a dry eye in the crowd.
separate groups organized three separate lunch menus for us to choose from.
residents were more than delighted to point out such local attractions as the
bald eagle’s nest; the ocean vista lookout, accessible only by foot (I went up
anyway); and the “Cell Phone Booth” - essentially just a sign saying
indicating that this particular spot is the only location in the area with
anything approaching reliable cell service.
was our longest, busiest and most informative lunch stop on the course so far.
is getting harder for all Newfoundlanders to stay at home - economics drives
many away, although most claim to miss it terribly. Who would not, after
outlying communities struggle even harder, so the advent of the Targa, which
brings not only immediate dollars but also the prospect of word-of-mouth
advertising and subsequent trips, was even more warmly appreciated.
mean, how would you like all access to your community to be shut down for about
six hours on a work day just so a bunch of speed-crazed lunatics can drive fast
on their roads?
get cranky when a single motorcycle goes by MY place...
knew we wouldn’t win this rally outright, but we seem to be moving smartly in
the wrong direction on the standings table.
are now being listed in sixth place. We began the day in fifth, I think; one guy
who started ahead of us missed three stages while he worked out an electrical
problem; we “zeroed” every stage today (zero time penalties); we hit our
“in” and “out” minutes precisely on transit stages - they were easy to
calculate today. So how could anyone vault over top of us?
“scoring inquiry” will be filed tomorrow...
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