U.S. Army doc scratches Targa road race itch
After two consecutive years as a competitor, Dr. Don Sawyer missed competing in Targa Newfoundland last year.
He had a good excuse – he was in Asadabad, Afghanistan, serving as a surgeon in the U.S. Army field hospital there.
But Sawyer intends to indulge his passion for Targa this year with the help of a surprising new teammate – his daughter.
He has recruited daughter Skye as co-driver for 2013, in a return to Newfoundland he’s been planning since his last trip to the event in 2011.
“I just love it! There’s nothing like it. I look forward to the next Targa from the minute the last one’s over. It’s really a passion!”
Like most of the amateur competitors who have become devoted to Targa, Sawyer has to juggle his obligations to fit the annual motorsport marathon into his schedule. He has deployed to Afghanistan four times including the most recent tour in 2012.
He’s been smitten with Targa since seeing it as a spectator.
“I wanted to go the first year I heard about it but couldn’t for a variety of reasons, so I went to watch. I was hooked.”
He returned in 2010 with a MINI Cooper S but missed the early portion of the rally with clutch bothers. In 2011, things went much better until he missed a stage – and his coveted Targa plate. His objective for 2013 is clear: “Finish and get a Targa plate. I want to get through the event without problems and have a good time.”
The 2013 competition starts in St. John’s Sept. 14 and ends back in the capital Sept. 21. The 12th annual rally will cover more than 2,000 kilometres of roads in the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including up to 450 kilometres of closed-road, flatout Targa stages.