@targanl • ST. JOHN’S (August 28, 2015) – The hyper-stressful environment inside of a hot, noisy rally car rocketing along a strange road at 100 mph wouldn’t be where you’d expect a father and a daughter to build a strong relationship.
Yet that’s where Carson Scheller and his daughter Lauren have forged a strong bond as both a family and a competitive rally team – a bond they’re going to test to its limit in September’s annual Targa Newfoundland international rally.
Driver Carson and navigator Lauren are veterans of four years as a team in the grueling La Carrera Panamericana rally in Mexico, where the pair has notched class and category awards in their vintage 1954 Ford. The intense, stressful environment inside a competition car has created a kind of magic the elder Scheller struggles to explain.
“It’s a good question,” he says. “Is it temperament? Personality? That we both have the same birthday? I really don’t know…”
Whatever creates the magic, the result is outstanding cooperation in the car under extreme circumstances.
“It comes down to confidence and trust,” Carson says. “Setting aside the father/daughter relationship, it’s important to be able to place your total confidence in the other person. To be competitive and make it work, you have to push through the tough times, and sometimes push each other. It goes both ways.”
Carson, of Los Alamos, California, and Lauren, who lives in Phoenix, Arizona, will add two new elements to their first attempt at Targa: A new car and a new style of rally. The pair will compete in a 2003 Audi A6 in the Grand Touring category, a six-day competition that places a high priority on precision and navigation. Carson thinks his navigator is up to the job.
“Lauren grew up on our cattle ranch here, dealing with everything you see on a ranch – cattle, equipment, the environment, the land. Ranching is full-time crisis management,” he explains. “She’s consistent, she’s calm.”
“We’ve had our tense moments in La Carrera when we disagreed but a few disagreements between father and daughter are understandable, and expected, while racing at high speeds across Mexico in a 60-year-old car for seven days,” Lauren adds.
“My dad raised me with an appreciation for all things horse power and instilled in me a passion for adventure,” Lauren confirms. “La Carrera brought both of those together and my detail-oriented tendencies have been beneficial. A little — ok, maybe a lot — of competitive nature helps, too.” Lauren has stayed close to her roots in her profession, moving from ranching cattle to promoting that industry for the Arizona Beef Council.
Carson and Lauren are far from the first father/daughter team to take on Canada’s longest and toughest motorsport challenge, nor are traveling the greatest distance. Father/daughter teams have come from as far afield as Australia (Ralph and daughter Alisha Grant) and as nearby as St. John’s (Joe and Melissa Butler). The most recent team, Dr. Don Sawyer and daughter Skye, of New York, got more adventure that they bargained for in 2013 when they crashed heavily. Despite minor injuries to the driver, they carried on in a borrowed car. Still, it’s the adventure that attracts the Schellers.
“We’re approaching this as an adventure,” Carson says. The appeal of events like Targa, he says, is “the people, the country and the cars. This is our excuse to go out and experience those things. That’s what we expect in Newfoundland. The local people have always been a high point for us.”
Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 2015 competition will start in St. John’s on September 13 and concludes back in the capital on September 18. The annual rally will cover more than 1,600 kilometers of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including more than 400 kilometers of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.
Media: Doug Mepham email@example.com (905)325-3431
Competitors: Darren Sheppard firstname.lastname@example.org (709)722-2413