U.S. Army doc scratches Targa road race itch

The Southern Gazette - - EDITOR’S VIEWPOINT -

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.

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