This is the story of Flyin' Miata and how their legion of loyal fans sponsored their trip to race at the 2011 Targa Newfoundland.
A feature-length documentary film project!
WHAT IS TARGA NEWFOUNDLAND?
The Targa Newfoundland is a race like no other: five days and fourteen hundred miles of fierce competition on the public roads of Newfoundland. On each of the five competitive days, two-person driver/navigator teams race against the clock on a closed section of public road attempting to set the fastest time. The timing is cumulative for each stage over the course of the week. The lowest total time for all stages is the winner. Drivers come from all over the world to race at this legendary event, spending tens of thousands of dollars to prove their worth in a contest that has no prize purse. This is racing at its purest: car versus clock, man versus road. To the winners go the bragging rights – and maybe a trophy if they’re lucky.
OKAY, SO WHAT’S THE STORY?
In 2008, newly married Keith and Janel Tanner ran the Targa for the first time. Their car of choice was a 1994 Mazda Miata that Keith built in his home garage. Keith quite literally wrote the book on Miata tuning. Actually, he’s written three of them - all while working for one of America’s premier Miata tuning companies, Flyin‘ Miata. One of those books is what funded their 2008 adventure to Targa, actually. At that time, they figured it was a once in a lifetime opportunity, but that hasn’t stopped them from dreaming of ways to get back there.
In late 2010, Keith and Flyin' Miata owner, Bill Cardell, decided they’d try getting some corporate sponsorship to send two cars to the 2011 Targa Newfoundland. They knocked on a lot of doors, but had no success. That’s when they turned to their friends...
Flyin’ Miata has been very active in the Miata community since the first Miatas appeared in 1989. They have helped people from all over the world make their little convertibles faster and more fun to drive, and they’ve made a lot of friends along the way. Bill and Keith asked their friends and customers to help sponsor them. They hoped to raise $10,000. Now, just under a month before the race, they’ve raised more than $15,000! This isn’t a normal way to sponsor a race team. In fact, this just isn’t done. Customers don’t finance their tuning shop’s racing efforts. At least, not outside the Miata community they don’t.
So it is that Keith and Janel will return to the Targa for what will likely be their last time. They know how rare this gift is, and they’re determined not to squander it. They’re racing for the overall win, and they’ve now got the car to do it: a modified version of their same Targa Miata, now sporting a 5.3L Chevy V8 engine putting down 400hp at the wheels! That’s almost three times the power the car had in 2008.
For his part, Bill Cardell is racing one of Flyin’ Miata’s demo cars, a third generation 2006 Miata with FM’s own custom supercharger setup. Bill hasn’t run any rallies in a long, long time, and he’s never competed in anything quite like Targa. To complicate things, he won’t meet his rookie navigator, AutoBlog.com scribe Zach Bowman, until two days before the race begins.
HOW WILL I USE THE FUNDS?
Getting my crew and all of our gear to Newfoundland for 10 days is a very expensive proposition. Whether we fly or drive, it’s a long ways off, and it’s not easy or cheap to get to a remote island in the Northern Atlantic. My request for $5000 is the bare minimum we need to get there. More money will allow me to hire some local crew for a few extra days of shooting and rent more gear. With a race event, you don't get a second take at any of the action, so you better hope you've got enough cameras pointed at the action to cover everything.
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