Targa Miata
February 8, 2009 - The Targa TV show aired today.
In Canada, anyhow. I haven't managed to see it yet, but I'm told we do make an appearance a couple of times. If you're able to get TSN, set your VCR (or DVR if you're one of those people who lives in the 21st century). TSN.ca says it's showing again at midnight on Monday (technically Tuesday morning, I suppose) and 3:30 am on Thursday, Eastern.
entry 651 - tags: TV
February 11, 2009 - The TV show has been scheduled on Speed TV.
Sunday, March 15th at 3:00 EST. Details. Oh boy oh boy oh boy!
In unrelated news, I think I found the noise in the back of the car. The first thing I did when investigating was to put a wrench on the lug nuts. Whoops. I'm usually very, very careful about the lug nuts so I can't come up with a good explanation. Heck, there is no good explanation. I haven't driven the car yet, but it would explain the nature of the noise. None of the wheels were actually loose which does explain the lack of vibration though.
entry 652 - tags: TV, suspension
February 19, 2009 - We finally got to watch the show thanks to a shadowy benefactor who shipped us a copy!
And I'm all giddy. It's more of a motorsport show than previous years, focusing on the race up front. Only about a dozen of the cars that ran the race got much airtime, either because they were leading or they suffered failures of the serious or humourous kind. But we managed some decent coverage without resorting to leading or breaking! The announcers were very flattering of the team, saying we looked good all week and using some of our in-car footage. Plus, I got to show the fun way to take a corner with some light gravel on it. Sure, it's only a bit more than 30 seconds, but it's a good 30 seconds.
Don't forget, March 15th on Speed at 3 pm Eastern. Or, if you can't wait, the DVDs are for sale on the Targa site. The DVD is simply the hour-long TV show, nothing else.
entry 655 - tags: tv, media
March 8, 2009 - TV time update!
Speed TV has a listing online of when the show will be aired, including a back-to-back airing of the 2007 and 2008 shows.
entry 660 - tags: TV
April 1, 2009 - Well, you've missed your chance to watch the Targa TV show on Speed.
The final air time was this morning. But you still have two options.
The DVD is available from the Targa store. It's simply the TV program, no extra footage. But it's a clean, high-definition copy and you can watch it until the plastic DVD biodegrades in several thousand years.
The program has also appeared as a torrent if you are familiar with the workings of the intertubes.
entry 664 - tags: TV
June 17, 2009 - I saw a copy of the Targa show that was aired on Speed today.
Before, I'd only seen it on the DVD the show producers sent me. Interesting, it's got different narration. Same script (with a few changes like saying our car was "chuckable" instead of "tossable") but a British accent. Interesting. I'm not sure which I like better. I certainly didn't expect a change.
Speaking of the actual race, the route for next year has been announced. Clarenville is no longer an overnight stop and they're going to run Brigus twice, amongst other changes. There's even an exhibition run in St. Johns. That would be fun.
One nice touch, the organizers have published a sample route book. I'm very glad to see this. We managed to borrow one to preview so we had an idea what to expect, but not everyone might have managed the same.
Prologue 2009 route book.
entry 684 - tags: race, tv
March 26, 2010 - I drove the car home from the shop tonight and took the interstate to see how the car felt at higher speeds.
The answer: sketchy. This may have had something to do with some fairly extreme winds, of course. I pulled off at the first exit and tweaked the shocks a bit, and that might have solved it although I wasn't able to test at over 40 mph after that. I want to do more testing - the car feels a bit darty. I'm not there on the shocks yet, I know that. I'll take the car up the Targa Simulation Road tomorrow if the weather is good and see how it behaves.
Ah, the weather. I drove home in spitting, then light rain. Then the rain drops got a little viscous and started building up on the wipers. Just the sort of weather I'd feared during the race. The good news is that the defogger system works and the car felt pretty sure-footed.
Speaking of the race, the airing of the 2009 TV show is on Speed tomorrow at 6 pm Eastern. It'll be shown again once or twice. Plan your day accordingly!
entry 733 - tags: TV, shocks, springs
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
March 2, 2012 - The air dates for the Targa TV show have been posted!
This is for the official event show, not the special project involving the FM team - there's exciting news to come on that front shortly. Still, it's an hour of hot Targa action so you know it's going to be fun.
These times are for the Canadian TSN and TSN2 channels. It will be shown on SPEED around the world, but the dates for those have not yet been released.
In case you're wondering, that's a screenshot from the 2008 show, taking the rally line around the Brigus hairpin...
March 22, 2012
12:00 am EST / 1:30 am NST

March 23, 2012
1:00 pm EST / 2:30 pm NST

March 10, 2012
10:30 am EST / 12:00 pm NST

March 11, 2012
1:00 am EST / 2:30 am NST

March 12, 2012
3:00 pm EST / 4:30 pm NST

April 5, 2012
7:30 pm EST / 9:00 pm NST
entry 1019 - tags: tv, media
April 11, 2012 - The 2011 Targa TV show will be aired this weekend on Speed.
1 pm EST on Saturday, April 14, to be more precise. It's already aired in Canada on TSN, but this will be the first chance for those south of the border to get a peek.
The show is an overview of the entire event, so it attempts to cover every team. It's a good way to get a feel for what was going on over the course of the week. Apparently the version shown in Canada had absolutely no Miata content, despite the fact that both FM teams were leading their respective divisions at the end of Day 3. The version to be shown on Speed, however, apparently does mention the Targa Miata briefly. If you want to see extensive Miata coverage, you'll have to be patient a bit longer until our own DVD comes out.
You can also buy a copy of the DVD from the Targa Newfoundland website. It's the Canadian version, the one with no Miatas.
entry 1035 - tags: tv, show
April 17, 2012 - The Targa TV show is now available for streaming on the event website in case you missed it on Speed.
Watch it here. It's the US version, which means it does have a brief mention of the Targa Miata, most of which has ELECTRICAL PROBLEM displayed on screen. Not quite the coverage I'd hoped for, but I can't lie about that part. Scroll to 29:00 if you don't care about the other cars and just want to see us drive across a bridge in the rain.
Otherwise, it's primarily a Dodge show. The organizers of the event consider Classic and Modern to be the "headline" divisions, and Touring and Open are just support classes. That's a bit disappointing, but so it goes. It would be pretty difficult to make a Miata competitive in Modern these days, although one based on a Mazdaspeed might have a chance. The factory turbo makes all the difference.
In other news, we've been discussing a title for our own video project. "Nancy Does Newfoundland" is probably not going to get the nod...
entry 1036 - tags: tv
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