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Thread: Targa Nfld 2007 - A Grand Touring Adventure

  1. #1
    Registered Member sureshotqxc's Avatar

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    Mar 2006

    Targa Nfld 2007 - A Grand Touring Adventure

    If you're not familiar with Targa Newfoundland, it's the Canadian version of Targa Tasmania/New Zealand... 2200 km paved road rally with @ 300 km of staged sections on closed public roads over 5 days.

    For those who ARE familiar with it, you have mostly heard the stories from the Targa side. Well this is my story of the event from the Grand Touring side....

    In late July, a free entry to TN07 was offered to me. It was a bit of short notice but Grand Touring didn't require much car prep. My car is a 2004 Mazda3 Sport GT. The car is completely stock with the only addition being a Helius Precision Odometer which I use for TSD rallies. For TN07, I bought a new set of tires for the car, BF Goodrich G-Force KDW NT's. These tires work well in wet and dry conditions and have good cornering capability. The brakes on the car were completely redone with premium quaility pads and rotors courtesy of CarQuest Auto Parts and installed courtesy of Airport Mazda. No performance mods on the car but the Mazda3 does have exceptional handling and is pretty peppy with 160 hp.

    My brother-in-law, Alan, came down from Calgary to participate with me. Alan's and my driving skills are comparable although I would have the edge seeing as how it is my car. However, I have vastly more experience as a navigator than Alan, so for this reason, Alan would be primary driver. I would get behind the wheel for select stages. Both of us have about 15 years experience in rallies and autocross.

    And on with the story...

    Prologue DaySept 9th

    All dressed up and ready to go. Look close, that's Alan in the back seat.
    NOTE: all 'action' photos property of Paul Dyer. 'Static' photos courtesy of Greg Martin (that's me!)

    Flatrock 4.60 kms.

    Prologue Day starts out with a transit to Flatrock for the first stage. No times or speeds are assigned for the stages as it is meant to be practice for both competitors and course marshals.
    We get the countdown on the 'Xmas Tree' and we're off! Alan smokes it along pretty good but isn't used to the shifting yet. Its a bit different from his own vehicles and the shift from 1st to 2nd throws him a bit. Still we're ripping along pretty good and I caution him about the 'exposure' (big drop) coming up on the left as we approach the church. Swing down around the water and up on the lomg climb to the flying finish. Alan has a bit of a brain fart and starts to slow as we pass the sign advising that we're approaching the flying finish, planning on stopping at the FF line. I 'politely' inquire as to what he is doing and its back on the gas across the finish line. Average speed for Flatrock of 81 kph. Circle back to Flatrock for lunch.

    Lunch break in Flatrock
    Transit to

    Torbay 4.00 km

    Again there is no time/speed given for the Torbay prologue. However, the same stage is run in reverse on Day 5 and we do have the speed/target time for that day. Last day time is 3 minutes 27 seconds over a slightly shorter distance. Plan is to push the Torbay Prologue stage as hard as we can. If we can meet/beat the last day time today, with Alan still being unfamiliar with the car and its capabilities, then it will bode well for the last day and the entire Targa overall..
    And we're off!! Quck blast up to speed alomg a winding road, two downhill lefts followed by a tear along a lightly curving road with a deke around a shed. Hard slightly off camber right at Mannings Hill

    Approaching Mannings Hill

    and a swing up Upper Evenings path, a nicely twisting bit of road. A 90 left followed quickly by a 90 downhill right onto Laceys Hill with another 90 right at the bottom and into the flying finish. Time for stage, 3 minutes 11 seconds. Looks good!! If we can beat the required time today, there is no reason we can't match our target time on the last day.

    Transit back to the ReMax Centre for the car show.... End of Prologue day and things are going well.

    Leg 1 North Avalon Sept 10th

    First just a bit on how Grand Touring is scored. In Targa class, the cars are given a base speed that they have to beat in order to qualify for a Targa 'plate'. They can exceed this speed as much as they want/can and that is what determines the overall winner. In Grand Touring, you are assigned a specific speed and a 'target time' in which you must complete the stage. The speeds are fairly comparable to many of the base 'Plate' times for targa category but going faster (or slower) would incur penalties. Additionally, there can be 'Interim Time Controls' (ITC's) anywhere in a stage to clock your progress. There is a time 'window' in which you can be ahead or behind target time without incurring a penalty. On Day 1, this 'window' is a whopping 30 seconds but it gets shorter each day until its just 3 seconds by Day 5. So Grand Touring is very much a matter of precision and our years of rally experience will prove invaluable. Also our goal from Day 1 is to always be as close to target time as possible, regardless of our time window. We'll need it by days 4 and 5....

    Stage 1-1 Argentia 3.38 km speed 54 kph

    The stage starts with a quick downhilll run into a relatively long open stretch followed by a series of tight turns. Its surprisingly deceptive as most of the buildings in Argentia have been removed ( It was a US Naval base thats been long since decommisioned) and the grass has grown up fairly tall. Very little visual reference where the turn is until you are on it. The team of Young and Dale-Johnson in car 1021, the Super Seven, obviously made a wrong turn as we see them come out of nowhere from our left back on to the course (Not that right! Your other right!)

    The Super Seven

    We continue through the stage. Alan is cooking it along pretty good, faster than we need to....

    We come in sight of the flying finish and I just start yelling 'Slow down! Slow Down! Slow Down! SLOW DOWN!' Alan piles on the brakes and we cross the finish 1 second ahead of target time. Reality is that even if I hadn't gotten Alan to slow, we would still have been well within out 'window' but we're going for maximum precision....

    Stage 1-2 Placentia 5.83 km 65 kph

    Placentia starts with a moderately tight run through upper Placentia, across the trestle bridge into a very tight series of turns in lower Placentia. At 1.92 km into the stage there is a 'Caution! Dip' in the instructions. We are running through, feel a slight dip, think 'That wasn't too bad.' and WHAM!!, the real dip!! No damage, no loss of control but not something you want to hit at speed. Car 1020, team of Shelton/Shelton in a 54 Austin Healey did not fare as well. At 1.97 km, we see the Healey nose into a ditch with the back end at the far side with MAJOR damage.

    The (pre crash) Healey. Not much ground clearance....

    The Super Seven had stopped to check on them (as required) and we also stopped (also as required) collected the necesary information and then off again to relay the info at the first communication post. At this point, target time is out the window due to the situation and we just continiue through the course as fast as we can. We finally spot a COMM vehicle just after the trestle bridge and advise them that there has been an accident, that assiatance is requested and other pertinent details. Continue on to the finish and the lunch stop in Placentia. Overall we are about almost 90 seconds late at the finish but this is not an issue as the regs required us to stop. We talk to Terry Epps, the chief steward and are told that it will be taken care of. Automatic 'no penalty'.

    I can't help but think how heartbreaking it must be to enter Targa with such a beautiful classic vehicle and then trash it on the second stage of the first day... To make matters worse, I later hear that one of the Targa class cars lost it at the exact same point and pancaked the Healey... At least no one was hurt.

    Lunch stop in Placentia

    After lunch, we transit to the next stage...

    Stage 1-3 Osprey Trail West 6.6 km 86.6 kph

    This stage was supposed to be over 18 km long but it was shortened at the last minute due to a lack of marshals. Unfortunately, this has happened a lot with this stage over the years. The revised stage has ony one major turn in it so, although its pretty fast, there is no problem. However I fumbled the stop watch a bit at the start and as a result we're 3 seconds off of target time. Still well within our window though.

    Stage 1-4 Northwest Brook 10.42 km 75 kph

    Another shortened stage, although this time its due to a memorial service being held along the original route. Original version was 29.02 km. Its a bit wet out so we're running at 'Condition 2' Speed is reduced from original of 80 to 75kph due weather. The stage is a bit tight at the start but after that, its just a winding run to the finish. Two seconds off of target time and a stop for lunch at the SUF lodge in Gooseberry Cove.

    Lunch at the SUF Lodge

    Stage 1-5 Gooseberry Cove 29.02 km 76+ kph

    This is the same stage as 1-4 run in reverse. Memorial service is over so its full length now. Its still wet so we're again running condition 2. As a result, initial speed is 76, it drops to 47 for a very short stint then up to 77.8 for the last 18 km. Originally, I was going to drive this stage but, where it had been shortened on the way in, I let Alan drive it for the extra practice. I will drive the last stage instead. Halfway through this stage there is a section called 'The Horseshoes', effectively two hairpins making a major ESS of themselves.... This is the source of this photo, Car 1016 Townsley/Fuhrmann in the Factory Five Cobra.

    Worlds most expensive skateboard

    We go through with a bit less excitement...

    My Mazda3 Sport

    Just before the end of the stage, there is a narrow wooden bridge. Alan slows a fair bit as he remembers there being a fair bump from the way in. As we cross the bridge Alan goes back on the power. Engine revs like mad and nothing happens. I think Alan missed the shift but no.. With the rain, the bridge is UNBELIEVABLY slick!! Car is in gear but ZERO traction!! Good thing Alan was driving as, not knowing of the bump, I may not have slowed and that could have been interesting... Ultimately, the slickness of this bridge would send five cars off the road and cause a lot of 'excitement' for many others!! Short run to the finsh and again within two seconds or target.

    Stage 1-6 Adeytown 4.74 km 76.1 kph

    This is the last stage of the day and the first that I drive. Its basically just a winding run through Adeytown to the finish. Speed reduced from the original 81.1 due to weather. My first experience driving in TN07 and it is challenging. Driving a lot faster than you normally would on roads like this and still facing the unknown of just what the road is like up ahead. 1 second off target time at the end. We transit to Gander with a stop at 'Splash n Putt' for a 'Meet and Greet'

    'Meet and Greet'
    Leg 1 is complete. The preliminary results come out later that evening. Unfortunately, the big penalty for Placentia is showing on our score and we currently stand in 8th place of 17 with about 62 seconds in penalties... We'll submit a scoring inquiry in the morning....
    Last edited by sureshotqxc; 10-10-2007 at 11:13 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered Member sureshotqxc's Avatar

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    Leg 2 Exploits Sept 11th

    After crawling out of bed (with only 4 hours sleep for me) we proceeded to the arena. Our scoring inquiry had been confirmed so the 55 second penalty we had been assessed with will be removed. That would leave us with a 7 second penalty, good for second place so far. And upon examining that, it looks like there is another error that affects not only ourselves but about 10 other touring cars. If that one is upheld, it would reduce us to 0 penalty points and reduce the penalties of other Touring Teams as well.
    Bit of an overcast day with showers threatening but they never materialized. Ran with dry conditions most of the day. Today the margin for error was target time +/- 20 seconds

    Stage 2-1 Glenwood 3.41 km 55 kph
    Roads are a bit damp so we run at Condition 2 with speed reduced from 60 to 55kph. I drove this stage as Glenwood is tight and twisty with narrow roads and pavement fair to poor. At this point, Alan doesn't really have the familairity with the car for this kind of stage. About 19 major turns in the 3.4 km run. 55 may not sound fast but these are not the roads in a modern subdivision. We are up a down a bit on our time as we run the stage but we ace the finish right on our target time. If condition 1 had applied with the speed at the full 60, this would have been a much more challenging stage.

    Trucking through Glenwood

    I'd like to mention Car 1029 a 63 Volvo PV544 with Bob Melville and Ron Bujold. These two guys were quite the characters and a lot of fun. The car was a wolf in sheeps clothing as well. The original PV544 had a 1.6 litre engine but this one had a detroit V-8 dropped into it with the rear end from a Chevy S-10. You'd never say it looking at it from outside.

    The batmobile....

    Stage 2-2 Lewisporte 4.88 km 58 kph

    Lewisporte is another town stage and quite busy. 22 major turns over the 4.9 km, not quite as wild as Glenwood but still a stage where maneuverability matters. Definitely a strong point of the Mazda. Alan takes the wheel for this one, his first true test on a tight stage. Everything went well with one minor glitch. Somehow at the end I got a touch mixed up in where we were in the instructions and the Flying Finish seemed farther than I (momentarily) anticipated. Thought we might have been late but we actually aced our second stage of the day. Oddly enough, we talked to another team, and their navigator had made the exact same error in the exact same place... By this time we had worked out a good system for hitting our target times. When we'd get near the finish, I'd call out what our target in seconds would be and then give a count from the stopwatch. Ie 'Target time 24. 19 20, 21, 22 etc.' Alan would finesse his speed to cross the line as close to target as he could. The system would work well for us for the rest of TN07.

    Stage 2-3 Point Leamington 30.50 km 66-91-67.1 kph

    This is one of the longest stages of Targa and most of it is the most leisurely cruise you will have during the event. Alan is behind the wheel and it starts with a lively 5.4 km run through the streets of Point Leamington at 66 kph. From there we turn onto the main road for a 23.5 km cruise at 91 kph down to Leading Tickles. We actually used cruise control....

    Not a sight you would expect to see while driving a competitive stage...

    In the last 1.5 km we slow to 67.1 and proceed thouh a few rapid turns before crossimg the finish. 1 second off of target time.

    Run through Leading Tickles

    An immaculate 65 Porshe 356 Speedster

    Lunch break was in Leading Tickles and overall this was defintely the best lunch stop/Meet and Greet of the entire TN07. Nice locale, good food, lots of friendly people, all the Targa cars lined off in rows in a grassy field.... Fanatastic scenery as well.

    Lunch in Leading Tickles

    Stage 2-4 Leading Tickles 25.74 km 67.1-93.5 kph
    After lunch, we head out of Leading Tickles back towards Point Leamington. This is the reverse of the morning stage but with the twisty bit through Point Leamington eliminated. After a quick run through Leading Ticklesat 67.1, we settle in for another cruise, this time at 93.5 kph. By this time, I think we're becoming a bit of a time guage for some of the other Touring competitors. The cars are supposed to be at 30 second intervals and, barring mishaps, you would never see another competitor. However, as we're cruising along, we start to catch up to Bob Grainger and Jean Wright, car 1005, a 68 MG C. They see us coming and must think 'Oops, if they're catching up to us we must be behind time...' So they drop the hammer a bit and pull away. A little bit later, car 1024 the Mazdaspeed 3 Nika Rolczewski/Sandra Lemaitre (the Racerchicks) catches up to us. 'Oops, if we've caught up to them, we must be ahead of time...' and they slow and drop back.

    The MGC

    Alan and I

    The Racerchicks

    The left turn into Point Leamington was a touch wild as we had gotten a bit distracted and I was a second or so late initiating our turn. And at 93k, starting a turn a second late can be interesting... Past the flying finish with just 2 seconds of off target (remember, today we were allowed to be 20 off). On to Botwood for another 'Meet and Greet'. These 'Meet and Greets (Parc Expose) are supposed to be a stop for 10 minutes and then you continue on with the transit. However its easy to get distracted and we must have spent 30 minutes here. Enroute to the next stage in Appleton we realize we're running dangerously late on the transit. We're only allowed 5 minutes. I'm driving and I start to boot it. Not enough to get us in trouble but definitely pushing the envelope.... (BTW, there were two unmarked RCMP cars traveling with Targa. We saw a LOT of (non-targa) vehicles hauled over by these two during the week.) We make it into Appleton with 30 seconds to spare, switch places, pull on out helmets and go. Shortest time we ever spent in a start line and a lesson learned....

    Stage 2-5 Appleton 2.62 km 64 kph

    Appleton is a short stage on narrow roads with a few turns to make things interesting. Speed is pretty quick but a good bit of fun. 2 seconds off of target time.

    Stage 2-6 Gander 6.29 km 60 kph

    Gander is the 'Big Daddy' of the tight, busy stages. This year, it was 41 90 degree turns over 6.17 km at 60 kph. This stage was MINE. (been living in Gander for the last 15 years..) I knew the route, knew the car, and knew how to handle it. If Alan had wanted to drive it he was going to have to pry the wheel from my cold dead fingers. Cranked the Mazda up to 80+ prior to the first turn and let her rip though the course. I have not heard so much screaming of tires from the car in the 3 years I have had it.... Got the back end sliding out on many curves (which is a GOOD thing for hard cornering) and Alan insists I actually had a bit of 4 wheel 'Drifting' happening in a few places. I felt totally in control at all times. Ran much of the stage in second gear for the punch when nailing the gas and the engine braking when backing off. The Mazda 3 pulls very well in second and revs to 6500 quite happily (actually puts out its max horsepower at 6500 rpm). I had been cautioned by another competitor who has run the Gander stage for the past 4+ years (in touring class) that a lot of brake fade could be expected by the end of the stage as the brakes would get REAL hot. However, I didn't use my brakes all that much .. I noticed at one point that I went thorugh a 90' left, followed by a 90' right into another 90' left (in a distance of @ 500 feet) and never touched the brake pedal once.... Fade was NOT an issue. Most of the stage I was running ahead of time., I'd slow down a bit, get back on target time and then wind up ahead again a bit later. Alan was a little late giving me a time check as we rounded the last turn to the finish and I hesitated thinking I was probably ahead and would need to scrub off a second or two. Got the call, on schedule but now going (relatively) slow. Punched it but too late...Overall for the stage, we finished two seconds behind target time. Still well within the 20 allowed and I was quite pleased with that. While I know the Targa class cars with their higher speeds can be more dramatic, I feel we put on a good show for the residents with the Mazda3 (Look! See what you can do with the family Mazda! Zoom-Zoom!!).

    Approaching the last turn. Notice Alan hanging on to the 'Jesus bar'

    Batman and Robin again...

    In the arena for the night. All dressed up and nowhere to go...

    A GREAT day. No penalties on any stage and on every one, we were within 2 seconds or less of target time. Seeing as how our 'target window' will only be +/- 3 seconds by the last day, this bodes well. The adjustment to our score re the inquiry hasn't been reflected in the posted results yet so we are showing as being in fifth place. With the adjustment, we will be in second. There is another inquiry that has gone in that affects several competitors. If that is upheld, we might be in a three way tie for first with 0 penalty points.
    Last edited by sureshotqxc; 10-07-2007 at 11:38 PM.

  3. #3
    Mile High Zoom-Zoom Tom03es's Avatar
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    2003 Protege ES

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    Awesome pics! Great to see you having some fun with you Mazda.
    2003 Laser Blue Protege ES-
    Mods: Injen CAI; MSP struts and springs ; Racing Beat rear sway bar + AXR Clunk Fix ; MSP STB; tinted windows; ceramic coated OBX header; AWR 88 durometer front & rear mounts and side mount inserts; MSP taillights; UR underdrive pulley; Racing Beat catback; 17x7" Enkei RSV wheels w/ 215/45-17 General Exclaim UHP tires; DaveB gauge rings; EBC Greenstuff front brake pads; Hayden transmission cooler; GT Spec 4 pt ladder brace; Medieval Motorsports alternator, water pump & power steering pullies; Autometer oil press, water temp, oil temp, trans temp gauges; VTCS-less intake manifold; Lentech Street Terminator VB; AutoExe lower arm bar; catted SLS mid-pipe


  4. #4
    Agent Steve Kosh's Avatar

    Bean-with-Bacon Megarocket

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    G-Vegas, Souf Cackalacky
    Subbing so I can finish this when I get home from work. Great story and pictures. Sexy mazda 3 as well!

  5. #5
    Registered Member sureshotqxc's Avatar

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    Day 3

    Leg 3 Kittiwake Coast Sept 12th

    Day starts off very wet and windy. Lot of water on the roads. Could make things interesting. Our window today is +/- 10 seconds

    Stage 3-1 Mainpoint 5.17 km 75 kph

    Mainpoint is just a blast along the coast on a lightly winding road. Should have been straightforward but two things combine here to make this the stage in which we collect more penalty points than any other stage in the event. Due to heavy rain and strong winds, we are running 'Condition 3'. Problem number 1 is I don't know if the -5 kph adjustment is single regardless of condition or cumulative meaning -10 kph overall. Problem number 2 is that I make a mistake in my calculations.... Either one of these problems alone might have resulted in little or no penalty but combined we take a bad 9 second penalty. Chalk this one up as a learning experience. Won't happen again. I don't realize the bad hit we've taken until much later in the day.

    Driving in the rain, just driving in the rain! What a glorious feeling I'm....

    Car 1028 06 BMW MZ4 Pete Lazier/Sharon Middler

    Stage 3-2 Frederickton 10.28 km 69-55-75 kph

    I check with an experienced team while waiting to start and learn that it is a single adjustment for Grand Touring, regardless of condition. At least now I know for sure. Still very wet and an intermediate sort of stage with some nice curves and sweeps. Starts off at 69 kph, slows to 55 on some tight turns through Frederickton and then a 7 km, 75 kph run to Carmanville. Nailed our target time. We're getting good at this...

    Stage 3-3 Musgrave Harbour 6.06 km 85 kph

    This was the first of two stages that I was going to drive today, New-Wes-Valley being the other. When we looked at the route books the previous night, none of the stages today had looked particularly challenging and I had picked these two to drive as they looked like fairly leisurely runs and so give Alan a break.

    BOY, was I wrong about Musgrave Harbour!! Speed through stage was 85k after the weather adjustment (still condition 3). We start off, I get the car up to speed then hard deceleration into a 90 degree right, hammer it up to above 85 to make up time and into another corner. Back on the gas again but we're soon into 4 90's in .33 km. Now we're well behind time and I'm pushing the car for everything I dare considering the weather. I'm hitting 120+ in areas and can't risk going faster. Its raining, there is water on the road and I don't know whats around the next curve. And this in what is normally a 50 or 60 zone... I'm a bit fast into the final turn and go wide. Lose a lot of speed to avoid going into the bushes and drop into second as we blast towards the flying finish. Redlined the engine (6500 rpm) an instant before the finish. Thirteen seconds late. With the 10 second window, this meant 3 penalty points. Except for the bad turn at the end, I don't consider it possible for me to have driven it faster without getting dangerous. A wild and savage ride...

    In a hurry....

    Car 1006, Mike and Cathy Martin 03 Porshe 911. Eventual winners in the equipped category

    Stage 3-4 New-Wes_Valley 12.44 km 85 kph

    This was more of what I had expected from these stages. Brisk sweeping turns and a quick run. Thought the last turn was going to be hard so we had strategized to be a bit early. Was easier than expected and we found oursleves well ahead of time. On the brakes and we puttered across the finish. Precision IS the name of the game. One second early on target time...
    Stop for lunch in Barbour's Tickle, On to Greenspond.

    Stage 3-5 Greenspond 2.29 km 55 kph

    Lined up waiting for the start

    Rain has stopped and roads have dried. Back to Condition 1 and full speeds.
    Greenspond is a slow stage (55k) but extremely tight with some brutal turns. Alan again in command (as he would be for the rest of the day) with me number crunching. Pushed it hard but close to 10 seconds behind time after an acute left leading into an immediate acute tee right while going uphill. Picture driving a reverse Z' pattern. Hit an ITC (interim time control) Possibility of 1 or 2 second penalty. Able to pick up the pace after that and aced the finish.

    Car 1014 85 Cougar, Steve LeBlanc/ Scott Healey. Lost argument with guard rail in Placentia...

    Climbing the hill...

    Stage 3-6 Eastport Peninsula 4.08 km 73.1 kph

    Alan grew up in Eastport and knew these roads. The obvious choice for driver. Speed of 73.1 kph assigned. We have a clean run through stage except for one glitch. We had missed a bulletin in the morning mentioning that the stage end had been changed. Consequently, the finish line showed up much sooner than expected and we were ahead of time. This was the second time 'strategizing' had caused us problems. Both of us going 'Huh?' and Alan going for the brakes. Fortunately we lost enough speed to cross the line exactly 10 seconds early which still meant zero penalties. Another learning experience. Check the Bulletins!!

    Stage 3-7 Port Blandford 4.62 km 84 kph

    Rain has started again so we're at condition 2. Speed 84 vs 89. As straightforward as a section gets. 2 instructions, one reading 'Start' and the other 'Finish' 4.61 km in between. 84kph run and we nailed target time.

    Stage 3-8 Clarenville 4.96 km 57.5 kph

    Last stage of the day, condition 2 and another twister though town streets. Alan drove a nice smooth run and we passed an ITC within our margins. Just 1 second off of target time at the end. We're done for the day. Settle into out hotel room and check for results later.

    Bit of body roll here...

    Car 1019 Jim and Mark Hauser 86 Porsche 944

    Later that same evening....

    On display in Clarenville

    Went back to the arena, results have been posted. The penalty for Placentia has finally been removed and. in the Grand Touring category we are now standing in second place overall! While we were looking over the results for the week, Dave Fuhrmann navigator in the Factory Five Cobra (and last years Grand Touring winner) taps me on the shoulder and said 'Look! Look at this!' and points to the Musgrave Harbour leg. Sure enough, 3 penalty points as I expected but "You beat everyone else (in Touring division)! Man, that was some driving!" While we had three penalty points for being late, I had driven the stage FASTER than any of the other Touring cars and they had taken even greater penalties!! Considering the types of cars I was competing against I think this was quite a feat. Way to go MAZDA!! Running with the exotics and beating them!! Needless to say, I was on cloud nine. Considering the weather at the time the BF Goodrich KDW's fantastic wet traction may have given me the edge.

    Day 3 also went down in Targa Newfoundland annals as the first time EVER there was an incident free day! Despite the rain, no one made any (major) off road excursions...

    So, after day 3 of Targa Newfoundland 2007, in the Grand Touring category, Alan and I are in second place overall and leading the unequipped division. Mazda 3 is running strong and solid. Lets hope we can keep up the trend! Zoom-Zoom!!
    Last edited by sureshotqxc; 10-06-2007 at 06:08 PM.

  6. #6
    Registered Member sureshotqxc's Avatar

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    Leg 4 Heritage Loop Sept 13th

    We get up and head over to the arena. Check for bulletins and look at the scoreboard. A few other errors in scoring have been fixed since last night. We are now sitting in 1st place with 12 penalty points! Second is car 1006, yellow porsche 911 with 16 and third is car 1016, the Cobra with 22. 1006 is running equipped while 1016 is unequipped, same as us. Into the car for the long transit down the Burin Peninsula... Its a nice sunny day and forecast to remain the same for the rest of the event. Time window today is down to 5 seconds so there is little margin for error.

    Stage 4-1 Little Bay East 17.58 km 69.8-62-78.1

    Stage started with a brisk cruise towards Little Bay East leading into a tight run on poor pavement through the town itself and back to the Main road. Speed through the town was 62 which was a challenge but it was a short loop back to the main road. An ITC was positioned right at the exit from Little Bay East but we aced it with no problems. Stage continued with a 78 KPH run to Harbour Mille where we stopped for breakfast. One second off target time.

    Early morning run

    the cobra again. Our main competition in unequipped

    Harbour Mille was quite picturesque with a horseshoe shaped harbour. A very windy day, you could look out over the relatively calm waters of the harbour to the impressive whitecaps racing by just outside.

    This little girl was posing with almost every car there. I figure she will either grow up to be a race car driver or a model....

    I think the population of Harbour Mille tripled with all the competitors/support crews. There were cars everywhere...

    Stage 4-2 Harbour Mille 17.44 km 81-65-85

    After breakfast we head out again for the return leg. As with most of the two way stages during the week, I drove the reverse course. Speeds were substantially higher on the second leg. The road itself has some major curves and twists and was a fun run. Safely within our margin.

    nice shot of the mazdaspeed3

    Stage 4-3 Mooring Cove 1.97 km 72 kph

    The shortest stage of the event at 1.97 km, it only had one turn of significance that a friend from the area had cautioned me about. A right hand turn of more than 90 degrees that dropped away after the main road crested. Friend advised that you couldn't see the turn until just about on top of it. I advised Alan of this prior to the stage so we were prepared. Unfortunately, when we started the run, we forgot to turn on the intercom in the Mazda so Alan could not hear me very well. As we approach the turn I advise Alan that the turn was coming up in a few seconds. He thinks I'm saying we're a few seconds ahead of time and reaches behind him to try to turn the intercom on! I'm mentally going WTF! Fortunately he also slowed a bit at the same time or the turn could have been VERY interesting.... We clear the stage with no penalty.

    Stage 4-4 Marystown South 5.59 km 66 kph

    A fast run through the streets of Marystown at 66 kph. Our first (almost) off road experience. A miscommunication causes us to slightly overshoot a turn. Mazda makes an excursion halfway past some red barrier tape as we screech to a stop. A resounding TWANG from the antennas as we swing back out and a mad dash as we've just lost a time. We smoke it through the rest of stage. Second last turn before the flying finish is a 90 degree left uphill. I glance at the Helius odometer as Alan goes through. He took the turn at 77k... Overall, we were about 4 seconds late to the timing light but we have a 5 second allowance so still no penalties. Car 1015, a Volvo 540 T5 AWD, was being driven by Jesse Greenburg with co-driver Michael Mire, both from Quebec. Going through one turn in Marystown , they COMPLETELY peeled a tire off the rim (front right). Obviously they didn't have any autoslalom experience as it turned out they had been running standard tire pressures the entire time.... After the rest of us got over our shock, we told them to jack up the pressures. Jesse said the tires didn't squeal nearly as much after that... No damage to their car and it only cost Jesse $24 to get fixed.... Could have been MUCH worse...

    Stage 4-5 Garnish 13.20 km 90-62-93.6 kph

    Similar to Harbour Mille, this is a 13 kilometer run at 90+kph on the main road interrupted by a 62kph run through the streets of Garnish. However, compared to Little Bay East, Garnish is MUCH tighter with more turns. On time when we enter Garnish, we're about 14 seconds behind when we leave. The Mazda has fantastic handling and is no wimp with 160 hp but lacks the sheer brute power of the Porsches or Cobra to haul iteself back up to speed in a hurry. Nonetheless, the 2003 Porsche 911 of team 1006 is in sight as we exit Garnish. They had lost even more time.. Mad burn along the barachois at about 120+k till we make up the lost time. Fortunately there wasn't an ITC or we could have been in big trouble. Two seconds off of target time. We stop for lunch in Fortune.

    us again...

    either someone was too fast, or someone was too slow.....

    Oops Wrong side of pole...

    Stage 4-6 Fortune 2.10 km 52 kph

    Lunch is at the Legion in Fortune. Good feed with an incredible array of desserts.
    After lunch, we have the Fortune stage. It's a busy stage but its only 2.1 kilometers with eleven 90 degree turns. Streets are in good shape and speed is only 52k. No problems. Next is the Garnish stage in reverse so I'll be driving again.

    Stage 4-7 Frenchman's Cove 13.24 km 93.9-64-90 kph

    Lined up at the start

    We know that Garnish will be bad for time but we can't risk hitting it too early in case there is an ITC just beforehand. Sure enouugh, there is an ITC about a kilometer before the town. Dodged that bullet...

    Don't implicitly trust your navigator....
    So we're blasting it into Garnish. I know the first turn is a VERY sharp right hander, almost a hairpin. I ask Alan where the turn is (the distance to the instruction). He thinks I'm asking for the time check we had marked and calls 'Right Here!!' Having faith in my co-driver, I immediately crank the wheel to the right.... Nothing but red barricade tape in front of me... Slalom experience kicks in and I yank the Mazda back on course. After a few choice words, a good laugh is had by all.

    the REAL hairpin right....

    A trip under the tape... This is the team that peeled off the tire in Marystown

    Same house that got hit last year...

    Coming out of Garnish, we are again behind so we go tearing up the main road. Cars start at 30 second intervals and car 1014, the Cougar should be ahead by 60 seconds with the Porsche 911 of team 1006 at 30 seconds. However we quickly come up on the Cougar with the 911 ahead of him, reverse of what they should be. We pass the Cougar and are closing on the 911 when 911 figures that he should be ahead of us by 30 and goes heavier on the pedal. (the Cougar had been suffering from an overheating problem at speed and, as the driver had said, 'She's burning antifreeze...'). We continue blasting along at high speed and, as we approach the flying finish, Alan announces we are now way AHEAD of time by about 20 seconds. Hard on the brakes and inching up to the line, we're maybe two feet away when the Cougar blasts on past us.... The time on the clock indicates 1 second between us... Must have looked interesting when they did the scoring. A clean run for us.

    Stage 4-8 Marystown North 5.65 km 68 kph

    Reverse of the morning stage. However, 3 of the first 5 turns have been downgraded from either no warning/single caution to double and even triple (danger) warnings due to all the dirt kicked up by the Targa cars in the morning. This will cost us... Second turn is now a "Danger" This is the same turn Alan took at 77k in the morning. I go through at 35 and even at that I can feel the Mazda 'float' as she drifts through the gravel. There is an ITC shortly after the third warning and we have no chance to regain all the lost time. We take a 3 second penalty, our only penalty of the day. This is definitely a time where more horses would have helped. We are on target time at the end.

    End of Day 4, the Cobra (car 1016) had managed a clean, penalty free day so, with our penalty, the gap has narrowed to 7 points with Alan and I at 15 and the Cobra at 22. Meantime 1006, the yellow porsche had a bad day with 21 seconds in penalties, all at ITC's, so they've dropped to third with 37 points. Overall I think people are surprised at how competitive the Mazda has been, especially when considering the types of cars we're running against. At the arena, we are parked next to the Wiltshires running car 602, a 79 porsche 911 in targa class. we're talking with Edison Wiltshire (the Faster Pastor) and he comments that he's is amazed at how well we're doing in the Mazda. The car's capabilities surprise many people.

    Day 5 to follow...
    Last edited by sureshotqxc; 10-08-2007 at 11:02 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered Member sureshotqxc's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Leg 5 Avalon Peninsula Sept 14th

    Another sunny warm day. 7 stages, all fairly short. This is it, it all comes down to this day and how we do. We have a good lead but can't afford any mistakes. Margin of error is down to target time +/- 3 seconds. Calls for a lot of precision. but by know Alan and I have gotten practiced at it. As Alan says (referring to car 1016, the 2nd place Cobra), it's not up to them to win, it's up to us to lose... If we avoid screwups, we should be okay.

    We head up to the arena and check the bulletins. Few things to note re changes. We won't get caught again! Claire Eager who is our CRO (Competitor Relations Officer, one of 4 or 5) and someone we know personally anyway gives us a big hug and says how thrilled she is to see us in the lead.

    We start with a 190 km transit up the burin peninsula to

    Stage 5-1 Osprey Trail East 6.48 km 85.8 kph

    The reverse of this stage was shortened earlier in the week and it has been shortened again today by more than 12 km. It's just 6 1/2 km with one turn and 3 curves listed in the instructions. A joke. We nail target time dead on.

    Stage 5-2 Spaniards Bay 3.99 km 65 kph

    4 kms, 65k , fairly open with a few tight turns. We're zoom-zooming along and coming up to a Tee Left. ITC right on the corner. A bit ahead on the time so Alan scrubs the brakes and we pass the ITC dead on time. Around the corner, Alan is hard on the gas and away we go...

    Note the road ahead of the Super Seven...

    we come around....

    Notice the difference?

    Paul Dyer, who took the 'in motion' photos said Alan laid a streak or rubber unmatched by any other car after coming around the turn....
    We cross the flying finish line within one second of target. 2 down 5 to go....

    I fought the wall and the wall won....

    Stage 5-3 Upper Island Cove 3.65 km 65 kph

    This one was nasty. Again a 4 km 65k stage with about 16 turns on very narrow roads, poor pavement, rock walls, guardrails, and a lot of up/down hill. We're 6 seconds late on this and take a 3 point penalty as a result. Stop for lunch in Upper Island Cove. I'm feeling a bit concerned through lunch. We have no idea about how car 1016 (the Cobra) is doing but if he's been clean so far, our lead is down to 4 seconds with 4 stages to go. However, we're getting into some familiar ground from the old rally days and figure that may help us a bit.

    Stage 5-4 Brigus 3.55 km 70-60 kph

    The first of two stages that I will be driving today. I was a bit nervous about Brigus as, in earlier years, Brigus has been extremely tight with the route going through the short narrow town streets. However, Targa Newfoundland had to change the route on short notice due to a movie being filmed there and its a lot more open now. 3.5 k with speeds initially at 70, then dropping to 60 near the end. I'm running hot close to the end of the stage and Alan sees what may be an ITC sign. I miss the call to slow down and there is a possibility of a 1 second penalty, if it was in fact an ITC. Hit the flying finish dead on target time. 3 to go.

    through the tree arch

    car 1026 '86 Porsche 928s, Jarret Smith/Andrew Ingram

    Sad way to end Targa

    Not hurt, just REAL depressed....

    Stage 5-5 Marysvale 5.25 km 65.4 kph

    I know all these roads. Rally territory from years ago. There is a major caution which I would have been aware of even without the route book warning. No problems. A clean run and we again nail target time. Upon consideration, we conclude the sign we saw in Brigus was NOT an ITC. We have seen similar ones to it during the transit. So our lead should still be 4 seconds with 2 stages to go. And we already know from the prologue that the Torbay stage shouldn't be a problem. I'm feeling better about it now.

    Major suspension compression on the back.... Photo courtesy of Brian Williams

    Stage 5-6 Conception Harbour 6.09 km 66kph

    Alan again behind the wheel and again, familiar roads. 6 kilometers at 66k. Good run through but with 1.25 kilometers left in the stage, there is a warning of 'bumpy narrow road next .65 km' I think 'Uh-oh, all the crappy pavement we've gone over in the last 5 days with no warning? This is going to be real bad.' Sure enough, its 60's era election pavement. Barely one lane wide, it has NOT survived the test of time. Absolutely impossible to maintain 66k, and brutal even at 40-50. Rough part ends and Alan starts to cook it to make up time. When approaching the finish, our normal procedure has been to call the target time then give a count, ie: 'Target time 24. Now 20, 21, 22, 23...' Driver adjusts speed to cross at target. This time, there is absolutely NO time to call target or give a count. I SCREAM 'Slow Down!!'. Alan hammers the brakes killing a LOT of speed. 'Speed Up!!' Back on the gas. 'Slow Down!!.. Speed Up!!'. We cross the line dead on target time and nearly kill ourselves laughing. Mental image of the car nose yoyoing up and down as we alternate between brakes and power.
    Just one stage to go, our lead should still be 4. We're feeling good about it now. We know Torbay.

    Stage 5-7 Torbay 3.89 km 65-80 kph

    Last stage and the same stage as prologue day but run in reverse. Our target time is 3 minutes 27 seconds. On prologue day, Alan did it in 3:11. Should be no problem, especially with the experience garnered in the last 5 days and our familarity with the roads anyway.. Starting on Gosses and Rodgers lane, its a quick left onto Laceys Hill then a fast left then right onto to Upper Evenings Path. Quick run to the top of Mannings Hill, about a second fast, ITC in sight, stab of brakes, hit the ITC dead on time and swing around the hard left. Next is just a quick deke off the main road, around a shed and back on main. Common location for a checkpoint on rallies from years gone by and we take it at speed with just a few twitchs of the wheel. Few wiggles in the main road then a hard sweeping uphill right followed shortly by another sweeping right. Required speed goes to 80 kph. Three quarters of a kilometer to go with just a few gentle curves. Nail the FTC dead on and we're done!! To the best of our knowledge, we've picked up a maximun of 3 penalty points. Barring disasters it looks like we did it!!

    Brief stop at the Kinsmens club after the last stage

    On to the Waterfront for the finale at The Keg. Waiting around for for the announcement.

    Thats Alan on the left and me on the right with our Finishers Medallions. If you didn't know which one of us did the navigating, the pockets should give it away....

    Results are announced and we just took the 3 point penalty in Upper Island Cove, no ITC. The Cobra took 5 points with a bad hit of 3 at an ITC but it wouldn't have mattered anyway.
    Final score, 18 penalty points for Car #1025, Alan Kearley & Greg Martin, 2004 Mazda 3 Sport GT Unequipped.
    2nd place Car 1016, 2006 Factory Five Cobra, 27 points
    3rd place overall and 1st in Equipped Car 1006, 2003 Porsche 911, 39 points, etc.
    See here for final results

    Additionally, the local motorsports club had an slalom/autocross event on Saturday morning. Alan and I ran in that as well and took 2nd and 3rd place. Fortunately, I did beat Alan as seeing as how its my car, it would hve been embarassing to lose to him.... The results can be seen here

    I had measured the tread on the tires when I got them a few days before Targa. Measured them again after the slalom. 15% wear on the back but a whopping 33% gone from the front!! I think the slalom runs did most of the damage....

    At the Gala and Award Presentation

    Dropped up to my sponsor CarQuest for some pictures and what should pull in behind me....

    The trophy

    Back to reality. Dropping off some lumber for my sister-in-laws deck. Not too many Targa cars can do that!!!

    Regardless of how you do in Targa Newfoundland, it is an experience you'll never forget. The thrill of driving like a maniac on public roads and getting away with it is a minor part of it. The feeling of camaraderie and friendship from everyone else participating, whether they be competitors, support crews, Targa personnel or volunteers, THAT is what you will remember and make you want to come back again!

    And lastly, a collection of thumbnailed pictures of the cars we competed against in Grand Touring.

    Hope you enjoyed my (lengthy) telling of My Grand Touring Adventure!! Maybe we'll see YOU there someday!
    Last edited by sureshotqxc; 10-17-2007 at 04:15 PM.

  8. #8
    Spinning doritos fanatic Jenn's Avatar

    '03 Spicy Orange MSP

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Nova Scotia, Canada
    We have some racing buddies who do Targa NFLD each year. And my bf has some co-workers who do it. Looks like a lot of fun!!
    2003 Mazdaspeed Protege (Spicy Orange)
    1988 RX7 Convertible (w/ turbo kit)
    1986 Rx7 Coupe Race Car

  9. #9
    Registered Member sam1's Avatar

    2002.5 protege

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    coeur d alene, id
    Wow! Awesome pics...and great racing! Good to see your car came out in one piece...and in 1st place, no less! Good job!!!

  10. #10
    Registered Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Great story and great job! Way to go!

  11. #11
    I shoot fire. Lt. Dan's Avatar

    1985 Mazda RX7

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    right up the street from Nissan Pavillion
    That looks like it was a hell of an experience!! Something you can pull out an any dinner conversation!!!
    Boris Said-"I feel like the chimp that gets to fly the rocket, I just sat in there and held it wide open."
    FlipandFunk-"bill is a really a cyborg or also known as Bitterbillminator, a sophisticated drinking robot sent through time to out drink and bitterbarn our time."

    I WANT A PRODRIVE P2!!!!!!!!

  12. #12
    "Fitzie" Lani's Avatar

    Mazda 3S

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Great job! The driver of the other Mazda3 sponsored by Sirius looks familiar. Was it Nika?

  13. #13
    Registered Member sureshotqxc's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Quote Originally Posted by RacerChick View Post
    Great job! The driver of the other Mazda3 sponsored by Sirius looks familiar. Was it Nika?
    You are correct. Nika Rolczewski. She had gotten married the day before Targa started and postponed her honeymoon to compete... Her co-driver was Sandra Lemaitre, who is the manager for corporate communications for Mazda Canada. The Mazdaspeed3 was one of two cars sposored by Mazda Canada that ran in Targa
    Last edited by sureshotqxc; 11-01-2007 at 07:00 PM.

  14. #14
    Registered Member

    2008 MS3

    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Congratulations on the great finish. Looks like it takes a lot of experience and hard work to do so well.

    Excellent job on the writeup with pictures, I really felt like a part of your team and was thrilled with the win.

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