Targa Miata
September 13, 2011 - And away we go for day 2.
I've been looking forward to this, three of my favorite stages run one after the other. Despite initially pessimistic weather forecasts, the day was absolutely gorgeous.
We started off with Appleton, which is a moderately tight city stage. I had fresh, unscrubbed tires on the back so the car was a bit tail-happy, but a slightly higher cold pressure gave me more grip overall. I might have played a bit too much with oversteer, coming close to dropping an outside tire into the ditch - but it was all good. We zeroed it comfortably.
Then it was on to Bobby's Cove. I loved this one last time, it's quick and smooth. And it still is. Except this time, I had some horsepower! We went past a 30 km/h speed limit sign at 179 km/h. I love it. We zeroed it again, coming in about 9 seconds early. Comfortable. And so much fun.
After a very pleasant wait in the sunshine for the last cars to come through, the circus turned around and took another shot at it. This time, it was called Pleasantview. Our target speed was again a 130 km/h average, which is as fast as the Targa organizers ever specify. So it was back just as fast as we went, and it was just as much fun. Again, zeroed.
entry 964 - tags: 2011 race, day 2, Appleton, Bobby's Cove, Pleasantview
September 13, 2011 - After our yummy moose-flavored lunch in the home of the Newfoundland giant squid, we headed back down the road.
And it's just as good in the other direction. The car was flying, propelled by sheer sonic energy and sucking up the worst the road could dish out. When we got up to 30 seconds ahead of our base time without taking a lot of risks, I backed off. Remember, a zero is a zero. And it's amazing how much harder it was to stay focused when you do that. My brain tried to go into holiday mode, even though we were still hoofing down a bumpy road at 160 km/h. On this stage, Janel had to warn me a couple of times about our maximum speed.
So much fun.
Then it was back out to the Bobby's Cove/Pleasantview stage again for a second run. Yup, just as quick and just as fun as before. Man, what a great day. And all full of zeros.
entry 968 - tags: 2011 race, day 2, Glover's Harbor, Pleasantview, Bobby's Cove
December 10, 2013 - Farewell, Gander.
The Targa Newfoundland organizers have announced the biggest change to the route in the event's history. The rally will no longer head for the Gander region. This means the loss of many of my favorite stages: Leading Tickles, Port Blandford, Bobby's Cove, Pleasantview - and of course, Gander.

Leading Tickles (which is known by different names depending on how long the stage is in a given year, and which direction you're going) is a rockship blast through the woods on a curvy road with patches on patches. You have to be on top of your game, and if you're in a well set up car with good suspension it's magic. It also has consequences, this is the stage that took out the factory MINI in 2008 in a high speed crash that left car parts all over the woods. Oh, it also has the best stage name in the event.
Bobby's Cove wasn't super-challenging, it was just smooth and very fast. That's the stage where I passed a 30 km/h speed limit sign doing 179 km/h, always a favorite moment.
Gander, of course, is one of the famous stages. It's 5 minutes of mayhem, a flurry of identical left-right-left corners as you rampage through a fairly nondescript subdivision. It was ferociously difficult to finish without penalties, and always a highlight of the race for fans and competitors. Even just standing by the road and hearing the half-dozen cars currently on course roaring away out of sight behind the houses was entertainment.

As a result of these changes, the event is now more compact, with slightly shorter transit times. That's nice, but it will be a shame to lose what was arguably my favorite day of the race. The time schedule has also been tightened up, with registration and odometer check on the same day as the prologue and the awards gala on Friday night after the last day of racing. The first change means less time to deal with potential scrutineering problems and less time for the navigators to work on their books, the latter means Friday will be a very, very long day.

Take a few minutes to honor a couple of the greats.
Leading Tickles 2011

Gander 2008

The photo is from Gander in 2011, taken by Zach Bowman.
entry 1117 - tags: news, route, gander, pleasantview, bobbys cove, leading tickles