While the focus has been on Spec Miata racing here in Texas, in the background, there’s plenty of work underway to prepare for Targa Newfoundland 2017. It’s the Sweet Sixteen edition of this event, and it will be our third time participating.
Unfortunately, our co-driver from 2015 and 2016, Don Kjorven, won’t be able to join us this time around. Don and I showed up at the Targa Performance Driving School in September 2015 with exactly zero rally experience between us – the night before was the first time Don even sat in the car! I thoroughly enjoyed climbing the learning curve with Don as we managed a 3rd place finish in Targa Classic in our first year and had a lot of fun along the way.
We returned to Targa Newfoundland in 2016 to find that a number of new participants had used our YouTube videos as part of their preparation. All were complimentary of Don’s composure in the car. With some experience under our belt, we set expectations for a higher finish in our second race. The car, however, had different plans. Brake issues in the first two days put us at the back of the field, but Don’s calm and clear thinking prevented it from being much worse. We stayed in the hunt for a podium and eventually managed a respectable 4th place finish in Targa Classic despite our early issues.
Thanks, Don, for two great years!
Joining Underbite Racing for Targa Newfoundland 2017 in the co-driver seat will be Martin Cadieux. Martin was introduced to us by Cindy McCarron – a co-driver in the Fast Tour division of last year’s event. Martin hails from Saint-Lazare, Quebec, and has co-driven a number of regional and national performance rallies in Canada. Welcome to the team!
Back in Newfoundland, Adam (crew chief) and Megan (official photographer) have their plates full. In addition to working their day jobs, each running their own businesses, and building a home, our little 1991(-ish) Miata, Mimi, needs some work. At the end of last year’s event, the car wouldn’t start without a push, and when it got running, the head was a little noisier than I’d like – that’ll require a new starter and maybe some valve adjustments. We’re also going to install small plates under the motor mounts to tuck the oil pan up between the front subframe members. That, plus a new skid plate, will hopefully help us keep the oil inside the engine for another year. The other issue we need to address is high operating temperature – a new water pump, radiator and thermostat are all on their way to Newfoundland to install.
We have our next Spec Miata race coming up on Memorial Day weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. Watch our Facebook page for some live streaming from that event!
Bryan Bursey, driver, founded Underbite Racing in 2015.