Day - Sunday, Sept. 15, 2002; St. John’s Confederation Park
John’s Newfoundland - ”Last week, I couldn’t even spell ‘rally’. This
week I are in one...”.
is the level of experience of some of the competitors in the first Targa
Newfoundland, billed as North America’s Ultimate Tarmac Rally.
others, the preparation consisted of renting “Fast and Furious” from
who made the biggest mistake of the demonstration runs through Confederation
Park, home of Newfoundland’s Legislative Building complex, on Sunday
Tom McGeer, perennial Canadian rally champion, who got his co-driver Mark
Williams’ 1965 Ford Falcon totally sideways on the last corner of the short
sprint, slid broadside into a curb, and rolled the car so gently onto its side
that he barely even scratched the decals.
that’s another story - the impact bent it like the proverbial pretzel.
is the camaraderie and spirit of the people of Newfoundland that by the time
they got the car back on its four wheels, they had several offers of assistance
and spare parts.
and Mark put the car on the trailer and went off in search of spares. They are
fully expected to be back Monday morning.
thousand spectators showed up to view the cars driving “in anger” for the
first time in this six-day event. Monday, the cars will run two “Prologue”
stages, designed to determine the relative speed of the cars.
through Saturday, the cars will run foot to the floor over a total of over 2,500
km of Newfoundland’s most challenging roads.
a Targa event, the slower cars run first, while the faster cars catch up, so the
“crocodile” of cars gets compacted as the day wears on.
theory is that the roads, which are closed to the public, will be shut down for
the shortest time possible.
the Drivers Meeting prior to the event, drivers of cars like the Dodge Viper,
Ford Mustang and Porsche 911 Turbo, expressed concern that they would be held up
by the likes of the stock 1964 Austin Mini Cooper and the 1951 Citroen Traction
Avant (if you’re looking for variety, you’ve come to the right rally...).
will stagger the starts for the faster cars as necessary to keep the event as
safe as it can be.
only is this the first big-time rally in Newfoundland for - well, maybe forever
- it is the first big-league motorsport event of any kind here for over 25
years. Organizers had to train some 1,800 volunteers to marshal the cars and
crowds, score the event, do the hundreds of jobs that need doing for an event
the level of experience, things went surprisingly well on this, the first day.
The true challenge, for organizers, cars, drivers and crews alike, lies ahead...
...proceed to next story
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