Three - Thursday, September 29, 2002; Clarenville / Gander
clean day!”, said Ross Wood of Milton Ontario, Clerk of the Course (“head
referee” to stick-and-ball sport fans).
bent sheet metal!”
of the locally-driven Mustangs did take a wee slide into a ditch, but before the
navigator could set up the safety triangles to warn following competitors, the
driver gunned it, drove the car out of the ditch, and they continued unscathed.
serious mechanicals, however. The massively talented and experienced team of
Mark Saxby and Martin Rees had brought their massively fast Porsche 911 Turbo
all the way from Tasmania for the Targa Newfoundland. About one-quarter of the
way into the final stage of the day through the streets of a residential
subdivision of Gander, it pooched its motor - initial diagnosis is a valve
dropping onto a piston.
helpful as Newfoundlanders have been to drivers in distress, there aren’t many
spare parts for a car like this in Gander.
his welcoming address to the Targa, the mayor of Gander joked that the cost of
cleaning up the oil spill would be about $5,000. Saxby replied, “You’ve got
it, if you’ll pay for my motor...”
is a huge disappointment, for these guys were one of the clear favourites to win
this thing. After dinner, they were partying, albeit somewhat sedately, with the
other competitors, sad but unbowed.
hope they’ll be back next year.
fabulous 1967 Acadian Canso (I only found out after we returned to the mainland
that it is NOT a Pontiac - for a few years in the late-60-s, “Acadian” was a
Canada-only, semi-orphan brand of
its own, even though it was sold through Pontiac dealerships) two-door sedan,
owned by my 15 Sideroad Halton Hills neighbour Jud Buchanan, a car so pretty and
so expertly constructed that no description or photograph can do it justice,
suffered a blown clutch disc on the way into town.
isn’t a racing clutch or anything,” sighed distraught co-driver Peter
Wright, a first-time rallier but, like Buchanan, an outstanding racing driver
and driving instructor.
it is hardly an off-the-Canadian-Tire-shelf part either.”
of dinner time, they hadn’t completely given up hope of finding a spare, but
they’ll surely miss some driving time tomorrow.
they can take heart from the news about the wonderful 1951 Citroen Traction
Avant (the French gangster car), owned by local chaplain Edison Wiltshire and
his wife/navigator Marg-O. They had been fighting overheating problems all week;
someone in Gander figured out how to re-core a radiator on a 51-year old French
car that had never been imported to Canada, and they’re running cool as a
dried cod fillet now.
the 1971 Volvo 142S, owned and driven by Doug Mepham and “naviguessed” by
your obedient servant, finally revealed to us the reasons for its intermittent
prescriptions thus far included new battery and by-passed ignition switch; turns
out Mepham was right in the first place - it was a dodgy solenoid switch.
lunch, we asked the magical Teralynn, our “CROW” (nickname for Competitor
Relations Officer) if she could find someone who could help. She got on the
phone to Gander, and everyone told her, “Go see J and J Enterprises” -
that’s Glen Granville’s do-it-all contracting and auto-electric business.
Darren Bursey greeted us at the final stop of the day, we whipped out the
starter (well, “whipped” is a bit of a stretch...), Darren took it back to
the shop, found a new solenoid (for a 1971 VOLVO? In Gander Newfoundland?...),
and within an hour, we were back in The Show.
will not be “A” winner in the Targa Newfoundland. There are four
separate-but-equal competitions going on simultaneously here, and each will have
its own winner.
“Modern” cars - later models, generally post-1980; “Classics” -
generally, post-war; and “Historic” - pre-WW2 cars - all run high-speed
stages, but are scored as separate groups.
are also “Class” wins to be had within each category - a Kia Rio RX-V
can’t be expected to run head-to-head with a BMW M-Coupe.
Fourth category, the “Trials” event, is open to any car. These competitors
drive on exactly the same roads and stages, but they are timed for accuracy, not
just speed. Their set times are considerably slower than for the performance
categories, and they are penalized for being early or late.
one of the eleven Trials cars has its own story. Oakville Ontario’s Terry
DaSilva read our piece about the Targa Newfoundland in the Wheels
section last December, and decided his 1980 MGB roadster - bought new,
and until now only a “summer” car with 23,000 original kilometres on it -
was coming to Newfoundland.
neighbour Rudolf Stohr, was quick to volunteer to co-drive.
terminally cheerful DaSilva is a physician, and also an ordained deacon in the
Catholic church. If his treatments don’t work, he can still be of
he worried that his pampered little car would be overworked in this event?
the motto of this event - “We drive them the way they were meant to be
drive” - DaSilva said, “If it’s going to die, let it die in glory!”
far, it hasn’t missed a beat.
the first-ever rally for both gentlemen, and they are learning quickly. “We
think we’re coming in to the check points at the right time according to our
calculations,” said Stohr, “but we get penalty points and we’re not
entirely sure why!”
they are having the time of their lives.
was our best day,” said DaSilva, a comment echoed by several of the Trials
times were a bit harder to achieve, and it is more satisfying when you have to
a little competitive, are we, lads?
also have an Opel GT,” said DaSilva. “Next year, we’re going to come back
and run in the Classics performance category!”
answer to that question about competitiveness - “Yes.”
a general rule that there are three things any couple planning on sleeping
together should not do together: race sailboats, play bridge, or enter car
rallies. Just too much pressure.
Fowlow and Fay Matthews of Arnold’s Cove Newfoundland are putting a
fourteen-year marriage on the line in their 1954 Jaguar XK140 roadster. Judging
from the smiles on both their faces, the bond is holding.
survived Hershey in the mud,” said Fay, referring to the famous Pennsylvania
antique car parts swap meet, “so we can do this!”
of it are very romantic,” added Geoff. “On right-hand corners, Fay slides
right over and peers out the window with me...
is also my ‘corner-meter’, letting me know how fast we’re going around a
bend. First, her fingers dig into the door trim panel. Then she lifts out of the
seat - a combination of G-force and terror.
a particular threshold, she becomes an audible warning signal. Yellow Alert is
usually, ‘Moses in the garden!’, while Red Alert is, ‘OMJ!’ “
‘Come From Aways’, that means “Oh My Jesus!”)
had rallied before, but they will be back.
time we’ll bring the brakes with us!” laughed Geoff.
guess we’ll have to re-write that general rule...
Quinton and Nick Pratt are running a rare and tasty bright red 1959 MGA Coupe.
Any visits from Lord Lucas, the Prince of Darkness?
hot lead to the ignition coil fell off this morning and caused a small fire,”
said Quinton. “Other than that, no problems...”
than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?...)
car turned a very respectable 6:30 time in the tight, twisty Gander street stage
this afternoon, completely blowing away the target time and earning penalty
points for being too early.
then, you’re not in the Trials division for a win?
should have put a roll cage in it and run the Classic category,” said Quinton.
competitive thing again...
wife is working as a timing official,” said Pratt. “We figured that might
give us an advantage!”
yeah,” smiled Quinton. “We may have to protest one of the times she gave
Trials team uninterested in the scoring is
Mike Salter and Richard Paterson. We told you yesterday about the saga of
Salter’s lovely 1955 Austin Healey, which was banged up on Day One. He also
has a 1965 Morris Mini Cooper, which he had loaned to Van and June Worsdale to
run in Trials. After the Healey incident, the Worsdales graciously turned the
car back so Salter and Paterson could continue their Targa dream.
street stage today was fantastic,” said Salter. “I had so much practice in
my younger days being chased by the police...
else had trouble with their brakes, but I hardly touched mine. Just threw the
wished I’d seen that for myself...
can go flat out and nobody notices,” noted Paterson.
don’t care about the times,” added Salter, “We just go for it.”
made ME slow down!” replied his co-driver in mock protest.
and Paterson will turn the car back to the Worsdales for the final run back into
St. John’s on Saturday, so they can finish what they started - a classy touch.
team that IS interested in the scoring of the Trials category is the self-named
“Carguide Babes” squad of Sylvie Rainville from Quebec City and Jil McIntosh
of Oshawa Ontario. They are piloting a massive Jeep Grand Cherokee.
is the daughter of the late Jacques Rainville - if I may be allowed a personal
note, he was a dear friend of mine and one of the giants of Canadian automotive
journalism. His daughter clearly has inherited some of his spirit, talent and
that fun today or WHAT?” she exclaimed, referring to the dash through the
streets of Gander.
that vehicle a handful in those conditions?
a lot of body roll, yes,” said Rainville, “but I’m not so much sea-sick,
and I brought some Gravol...”
women write for various publications within the Carguide empire, but they had
never met prior to last Friday.
have become a TEAM,” said McIntosh, the upper-case letters clear in her tone
drives the stages - she is fabulous! - and I do the transits. She brings the
speed, I bring the calmness...”
also brings the laundry - they ran today with her freshly-washed clothes drying
in the back seat.
all seems to be working. The Carguide Babes have zeroed everything so far, and
are tied atop the Trials category.
is a complete rally rookie, while Rainville had has race driver training, and
did a Belgium-to-Morocco rally about ten years ago.
think I’m coming back next year - for real,” concluded Rainville.
at all, ladies. You are definitely “for real” this year.
...proceed to next story
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