|Targa Newfoundland 2012 start by Kate Tompkins|
The 12th annual Targa Newfoundland will be running this September from Saturday the 15th through to Saturday the 21st. That’s 2,000 kilometres of Newfoundland’s scenic but challenging roads, including 450 kilometres that are closed for the Targa, allowing drivers and cars to go all out. Having caught some of last year’s Targa during a trip to St. John’s, I can assure you it’s well worth the trip, but Newfoundland’s well worth a trip anyway. It’s stunningly beautiful even in bad weather, and the people are friendly.
The organizers like to change things up a bit each year, and this year is no exception. According to rally organizer (and one of the founders) Robert Giannou, “As we’ve discovered over the years, the Targa route is a living, breathing thing. It is always a mix of the best of past events and enticing new roads and communities. That’s what makes Targa a unique driving challenge, and what keeps competitors coming back.”
That and Newfoundland itself, I suspect. This year’s rally will feature six new stages on Wednesday the 19th, venturing into the Bonavista Peninsula for the first time. There will be 11 stages in all that day. The Targa Newfoundland press release says the day “will begin at Port Blandford and travel to the communities of Lethbridge and Brooklyn in the Bonavista Bay area before continuing on to the Trinity Bite region where the historic town of Trinity will host a competitors’ lunch. The afternoon will begin in Trinity and continue in the Bite area, going through Goose Cove to Trouty and New and Old Bonaventure. The teams will then reverse the route and continue on to Port Rexton and Champneys West, finally completing the day in Clarenville with two stages and the car show at the Clarenville Events Centre to benefit the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
“We are absolutely delighted to be welcomed into the Bonavista Peninsula. We have known that there are a number of very challenging roads in the area for some time. We chose this year to enter the lower part of the peninsula and the Trinity Bite area which is one of the most picturesque and historic in Newfoundland,” says Giannou. “The stages in Port Blandford, Lethbridge and Brooklyn are beautifully situated in the bottom of Bonavista Bay while the stages in the Bite area are in Trinity Bay and very exposed and rugged. In short they will take us to new communities with new fans and offer competitors a new driving challenge in the heart of the event.”
One of the ways Targa Newfoundland reaches out to the communities it passes through is by the car show it hosts each night. The nightly shows raise money, as noted above, for the Autism Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. Competing teams are also invited to raise money for their charities of choice and many do so. I went to the opening night show last year in St. John’s, and I can tell you there were some very excited kids getting their pictures taken with the cars. Maybe a few excited adults, too.