Everybody Loves Targa!

Navigator Ed Millman and my beautiful wife Suzanne made it in safely Thursday night so we all met for breakfast Friday morning.  While Ed and Suzanne struggled with jet lag, we got our act together and Ed and I drove out to Bell Island for our “practice day” – a class put on by Open Road Motorsports that was held on a nearby island community.  We fired Willy up and the story and more pics are to follow – just click on the pic below.  This was an amazing moment after our last practice stage after Ed and I wandered down to check out a corner that had given me fits earlier.  There seemed to be thousands of kids who came out to check out the “invasion” of their peaceful island.  We hadn’t anticipated what was to follow but this will give you an idea:

Bell Island KidsWe were asked to sign all their arms with our only writing instrument – a “Sharpie” – so these marks won’t be coming off for a while…

The day didn’t start out that smoothly, however, as we drove the 15 minutes to the small ferry there was a strong smell of raw gas.  As we pulled into line, I got out and looked under the car at a little pool of fuel.  After opening up the fuel, we found what 4200 miles of trailering can do to fittings, nuts, bolts, etc.  A few fuel line fittings were very loose and fuel was spraying around the engine compartment.  We pulled out our 5-finger tool kit and tightened things as best we could and loaded up on the ferry.  Fellow “02′ers” and past overall winners Roy Hopkins and Adrienne Hughes were right in front of us and offered assistance.  After arriving into Bell Island, we opted to drive the short distance to the town of Wanaba where our school was being held and we did a few more lasting repairs:

Targa - Fuel Problem

After that, a guy named Evan who was working for the owner Glen came down and gave us a summary of what we had missed yesterday and answered multiple questions:

Evan - Bell Islannd

After that, they had closed down a stretch of local roads for some “real Targa training”.  We donned our driving suits, pulled out the helmets, went to hook up the intercom, and my ear buds were nowhere to be found…  ….OK, no intercom – well we would have to have more real life training and rely on hand signals…   As we queued up for our first stage:

Bell Island Practice

And Ed’s favorite car there:

Targa Escort

We had some great moments, some not so great moments, but all in all it was a really fun day and incredibly important to my learning curve.  Cold tires (they never have time to heat up), inconsistent road surfaces, off-camber turns, gravel on the road, no knowledge of what is coming up other than the tulip diagrams (more on that later in a different blog), crowds just off the roadway as you scream by at 140k plus - these all add up to a completely different experience than running around a predictable track with lots of run off. 

We wrapped up our day and headed back to the picturesque ferry terminal but as noted earlier, had an interesting experience with the local folks that I hear becomes a common experience.  As we pulled into a parking area to watch the turn that had been a problem for me, we were swarmed – literally:

Bell Island Kid Fest

Every kid wanted an autograph.  I’m really happy we brought lots of “hero cards” (earlier on this blog you can see a copy) and some other cool things to give away – none of which we had with us today…  So we made a sharpie do with little autographs on their hands.  So many kids were around the car and poking their hands in that my window gave way (small fix later – hopefully) but it was worthwhile as this is what it’s all about!

Finally, a few other pics of the ferry terminal and our ride back:

Bell Island Ferry Ramp

On Bell Islannd Ferry

These posts will probably get shorter as the week progresses due to time constraints, but had to share…

4 comments to Everybody Loves Targa!

  • Kathleen

    Great photos, Jack! Looks like a beautiful place that I imagine you will see as a blur much of the way! Looking forward to hearing how the race goes. I hate to say it but be safe! XOXO

  • Grandma Sally

    John and I have really enjoyed your pictures and daily updates. It was a real pleasure meeting you guys and we wish you the best of luck.

  • Jessica Rees

    I was helping with the targa races that day ! :) was awesome … can’t wait for it to come back again :)

    and i know those kids in the pics lol :)

  • admin

    Hi Jessica – thanks for visiting! We are definately trying to get back there next year and see if “Willy” can make it this time. We thought the enthusiasm shown by both young and old in your country was incredible and made the event one of the highligts of my “career”. Cheers! Jack

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