Targa Newfoundland Leg 1 The inaugural Targa Newfoundland had a wet and accident-filled start Tuesday, Sept. 17. The first stage, so-called Marine Drive, plunges and climbs along the Atlantic coast line of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. On ...
Targa Newfoundland Leg 1
The inaugural Targa Newfoundland had a wet and accident-filled start Tuesday, Sept. 17. The first stage, so-called Marine Drive, plunges and climbs along the Atlantic coast line of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula. On Monday's Prologue, the stage claimed the rally's first mechanical victim, when the 1965 Sunbeam Tiger driven by Bostonians Jonathan Fryer and navigator Peter Sullivan slipped off a steep left-hander curving along a rocky cliff. The same route was run in the opposite direction as Stage 1 Tuesday.
Fog and drizzle impaired the drivers, and the previous night's hard rain had scattered small pebbles along the road. The first indication of trouble came when the Jaguar pace car lost traction and finished its service in a roadside ditch. The course also claimed the 2000 Honda Civic of local drivers Ken Batstone and Adam Sparkes.
Even before the debris was cleared, McCrorys Stephen and John spun their 1970 Volvo P1800, right into the path of the 1955 Austin Healey of Michael Salter and Richard Paterson. Of the four, only the Healey is expected to make a return to the race, although there were reports late Tuesday that the Tiger would return as well Wednesday.
The remaining seven stages were relatively uneventful, although crowds lined the course even on the most remote sections hoping for a glimpse of the first high-level motorsport to hit the province in many years. Hundreds greeted the entourage in Holyrood, at the foot of Conception Bay, beneath a banner greeting drivers, visitors and locals alike.
In nearby Bay Roberts, scene of the sixth stage, thousands turned out to see the cars as they gathered for the lunch break before howling off again for Spaniard's Bay and Chapel Arm, finishing the day in Clarenville.
As the drivers retired to a formal dinner, the standings appeared to have Australians John and Andrew Lawson tied for first place in their 1938 Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia Spyder with local driver Scott Giannou and his U.S. co-driver Tim Winker in Giannou's '72 911 Targa. However, the combination of poor conditions and delayed drivers combined to convince the scorers to drop Stage 1, adding three more drivers to the No. 1 position: Len and Gayle Cattlin of Australia in their 1967 Ford Mustang Fastback; Aussies Mark Saxby and Martin Rees, 1995 911 AWD; and U.S. racers Bill Arnold and Tamara Hull driving a 1999 BMW M3 coupe.
Leg 2 takes the Targa to another of the big island's peninsulas, running about 400 kilometres in total from the base in Clarenville, down what is known locally as The Boot, the Burin Peninsula.