Thursday, Sept. 19, 2002
Leg 3 - Clarenville to Gander
Five stages today, all north of Clarenville and finishing off with a stage within the Gander city limits. They ranged in length from 4.34 km. to 11.73 km.
The transit followed the Trans Canada Highway through Terra Nova National Park, exiting at Gambo to follow the "Road to the Shore". From the time we hit the Road to the Shore there were people in all the towns waving us on... on the transits! Driving through Gambo I was particularly impressed at all the employees in their uniforms standing outside a supermarket, and ladies wearing aprons and hairnets in front of a bakery. It seemed as though the whole town had taken a few moments to cheer us on.
It was that way in all the towns up to the stages, it even looked like school had been let out just to see the Targa Newfoundland Parade as there were supervised groups of children waving and cheering.
A stop at a gas station had dozens of people, especially adolescent boys, crowding around and asking questions. It was all the competitors could do to fuel up quickly and hit the road again.
The day's second stage, Musgrave Harbour, was a medium-fast through a heavy residential area. It was fairly rough, especially in our lowered Porsche. It was also the first stage where the Base Time was virtually impossible to meet, meaning we - and virtually all other teams - picked up our first penalties.
Then it was on to lunch at the Muddy Shag Lounge. It was a fairly typical rural tavern, a community unto itself.
The stage in Gander was UNBELIEVEABLE! The 6.34 km stage was held in a housing development... yes, your average suburbia, where you would normally see minivans, bicycles and kids playing street hockey (this is Canada, after all). Banner tape was stretched along the front yards and we were allowed to have a go. You'll have to see the photos.
Two contenders for the overall big bore win went out on the Gander stage. Jud Buchanan's Acadian lost the clutch and was seen parked in someone's driveway along the route. The Porsche AWD Turbo of Mark Saxby and Martin Rees blew an engine on the stage; though they say it never revved over 5000 rpm.
A couple of other web sites with stories on Targa Newfoundland: