ST. JOHN’S, NF – 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 Dr. Sawyer intends to indulge his passion for Targa this year with the help of a surprising new teammate – his daughter.
Dr. Sawyer 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!” he says. “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, Dr. Sawyer has to juggle his obligations to fit the annual motorsport marathon into his schedule. Although he is involved professionally in an academic group practice unit and with general surgery resident education and the Columbia Medical School from his home in central New York State, Dr. Sawyer is also a citizen soldier — a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and member of the 452nd Combat Support Hospital unit. He has deployed to Afghanistan four times including the most recent tour in 2012. “I just go when I’m needed,” he says modestly.
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,” he explains. “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,” he says. “I want to get through the event without problems and have a good time.”
Although it is her first time as co-driver, oldest daughter Skye knows a little about what she faces in Canada’s longest and toughest motorsport challenge. She worked as service crew for her father in 2011. And she shares some of her father’s professional interests: Skye is an artist and medical illustrator, which will surely make for interesting conversation on those long transits.
The 2013 effort will be a family affair: Daughter Keely and wife Robbin will support the team.
ABOUT TARGA NF: Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 2013 competition starts in St. John’s on September 14 and concludes back in the capital on September 21. The 12th annual rally will cover more than 2,000 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including up to 450 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.
From Doug Mepham 613 966 4969 firstname.lastname@example.org // www.targanewfoundland.com