Targa changes for Car­bon­ear

New com­pet­i­tive stage planned for com­mu­nity of Fresh­wa­ter

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY TERRY ROBERTS

The 2012 edi­tion of Targa New­found­land will bring some added ac­tiv­ity to Con­cep­tion Bay North, with a new com­pet­i­tive stage planned for the com­mu­nity of Fresh­wa­ter, and some sig­nif­i­cant changes to the stage in Car­bon­ear.

The new com­pet­i­tive stage in the Lo­cal Ser­vice Dis­trict of Fresh­wa­ter is a five kilome­tre chal­lenge added to the final day of the rally. Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease, it uses the streets and roads of the com­mu­nity and is sched­uled be­tween the first and sec­ond stages at nearby Car­bon­ear.

The new stage is sure to test both ex­pe­ri­enced com­peti­tors and new­com­ers alike, said Targa or­ga­nizer Robert Gian­nou.

“The ad­di­tion of the new stage at Fresh­wa­ter takes us to a com­mu­nity with new fans and a new driv­ing chal­lenge in the cru­cial final hours of the event,” said Gian­nou.

“We’re very ex­cited about hav­ing Targa in our com­mu­nity,” said Eric Par­sons, who is trea­surer with the Lo­cal Ser­vice Dis­trict of Fresh­wa­ter, a scenic com­mu­nity of roughly 80 year-round fam­i­lies lo­cated next to Car­bon­ear.

Par­sons said the com­mit­tee ex­pects to learn more about the event in the com­ing weeks.

This will mark the third year for Targa in Car­bon­ear, and fans will no­tice some dra­matic changes in the course, said Brian O’grady, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions and public works for the Town of Car­bon­ear.

Pre­vi­ously, the stage took place pri­mar­ily on the south­side of Car­bon­ear, in the vicin­ity of Car­bon­ear Gen­eral Hospi­tal. O’grady said this posed some chal­lenges with re­gard to ac­cess to the hospi­tal, es­pe­cially among those liv­ing in other parts of the re­gion who may not have been aware that cer­tain streets were closed on the day of the event.

“The hospi­tal has al­ways been ac­ces­si­ble, but there has been some con­fu­sion about ac­cess,” said O’grady. “The mes­sage wasn’t al­ways get­ting out to peo­ple in other regions served by the hospi­tal.”

As a re­sult, the 2012 course in Car­bon­ear will be con­cen­trated on streets north of the start­ing line at the Con­cep­tion Bay Re­gional Com­mu­nity Cen­tre, which should help avoid any con­fu­sion over hospi­tal ac­cess, he said.

The re­vised Car­bon­ear stage will fea­ture steep hills and hair­pin turns that are sure to please spec­ta­tors, added Gian­nou.

“Changes to Car­bon­ear came from rec­om­men­da­tions by the town of­fi­cials, whose in­ti­mate knowl­edge of the area has helped make this an even more ex­cit­ing stage,” Gian­nou stated.

“The Targa New­found­land route is al­ways chang­ing and evolv­ing. It’s a mix of fa­mil­iar and new that keeps the com­pet­i­tive chal­lenge fresh.”

Owned and op­er­ated by New­found­land In­ter­na­tional Mo­tor­sports Limited, Targa New­found­land is one of three in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized Targa mo­tor­sports events in the world. The 2012 com- pe­ti­tion starts in St. John’s on Sept. 8 and con­cludes back in the cap­i­tal on Sept. 15.

The 11th an­nual rally will cover more than 2,000 kilo­me­tres of the chal­leng­ing, twisty roads of the cen­tral and east­ern por­tion of New­found­land, in­clud­ing up to 450 kilo­me­tres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.

O’grady said the ex­act date for the Car­bon­ear stage will be an­nounced in the com­ing months.

He said the event has been a suc­cess in Car­bon­ear, with “98 per cent of the feed­back” be­ing pos­i­tive. And with some 50 course mar­shalls, he said vol­un­teer sup­port is strong.

O’grady is also en­cour­aged by en­hanced mea­sures to im­prove safety, and noted that host­ing Targa is a boost for the lo­cal econ­omy and a treat for those who en­joy mo­tor sports.

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