TARMAC: Targa Newfoundland news 2007-08-14

Families compete, support and organize at Targa Newfoundland ST. JOHN'S (August 14, 2007) -- What is it about Targa Newfoundland that draws entire families to Canada's longest and toughest motorsport challenge? While modern motorsports long...

Families compete, support and organize at Targa Newfoundland

ST. JOHN'S (August 14, 2007) -- What is it about Targa Newfoundland that draws entire families to Canada's longest and toughest motorsport challenge?

While modern motorsports long ago shed the image of a purely male festival of bravado, Targa Newfoundland has attracted more than its share of families as competitors, service crews, workers and even organizers. For the 6th annual Targa Newfoundland, families have taken a starring role in virtually every area of the event.

To date, 19 of the teams entered in the Targa and Grand Touring competitions are families. Seven are husband-wife teams.

Husband and wife teams have been a feature of Targa since its inception. Local stalwarts like Edison and Marg-o Wiltshire of Clarenville, Newfoundland, and Geoff Fowlow and Faye Matthews of Arnold's Cove, Newfoundland, have proven the durability of the institution of marriage, surviving the high-stress week-long Targa competition with a smile and many good stories.

The Wiltshires, dubbed the Faster Pastors, also administer a chaplaincy program for the event but will make their 6th Targa start without one of their cherished Citroen rides: the pair have opted for a Porsche this year. Fowlow and Matthews are both physicians, and will stay loyal to their much-loved Jaguar.

Father-son teams and father-daughter teams bring a different dynamic to the competition. Typical of the father-son teams, Tony (father/driver) and Ryan (son/co-driver) Kloosterman of Ontario are returning with their Subaru for a third year. The pair has learned a great deal about the event -- and each other -- since an inauspicious start in 2005 that left them with a badly damaged car, a broken arm for Ryan and the Spirit of Targa award for their perseverance. Less conventional is the pairing of Mike and Jacob Gooch, also of Ontario. For the second year in a row, son Jacob will drive their Mazda in the Targa competition while dad Mike navigates.

Father-daughter teams are moving into the spotlight at Targa, too. Joe Butler of St. Phillips, Newfoundland, has been successful in the event as a driver for several years, and now will introduce a new co-driver: daughter Melissa. Their Mazda competes in the Modern Division.

And even brothers get to play together at Targa. Best known are the Subaru Canada team mates, John and Clark Paynter, of Nova Scotia. The pair has rallied together for many years with considerable success and have become fan favourites at Targa.

But the family fascination with the international rally for historic, classic and modern sporting cars isn't limited to competitors. From mechanics and service crews to marshalling and timing teams, families from near and far pitch-in to help make the event happen.

Since the inaugural Targa Newfoundland, families have played a key role in the organization and operation of the event, volunteering for the many tasks that make the event run smoothly. The critical event timing function has attracted teams of committed spouses like Glenn and Glenda Winsor of St. John's, who have been at every Targa since the start. Again in 2007, Glenn is a Stage Commander while Glenda operates the crucial starting line function for the stages. Similarly, Jim and Gerri Fleming of Salmonier, Newfoundland, handle the vital radio control and start line functions as a team.

Indeed, the entire Targa event is something of a family enterprise. Event founder and president Robert Giannou organized circuit race meets and worked as a motorsports official at the national level before taking on the task of organizing the first Targa event in North America. He is joined by his son Scott, who looks after sponsorship marketing and sales, and Scott's wife Judy Sparkes-Giannou, who handles the logistics of moving, feeding and entertaining the huge Targa traveling circus of competitors, workers, officials and fans. Through their efforts, Targa Newfoundland has become a 12-month undertaking that today generates millions of dollars in welcome economic activity in the province.

Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world and is listed on the Federation International de l'Automobile (FIA) international calendar.

The 6th annual Targa Newfoundland will start and end in St. John's and will cover more than 2,000 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of the island of Newfoundland over six days, including up to 400 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa Stages. The event starts with registration and technical inspection in St. John's on Saturday, September 8, and concludes back in the city on Friday, September 14, 2007.

Competitors have come from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Holland, the Bahamas and the U.K. for the first five editions of Targa Newfoundland. Entries continue to arrive daily for the 2007 event. Targa Newfoundland is owned and organized by Newfoundland International Motorsports.

-credit: www.targanewfoundland.com

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