Six new competitive stages, a host of revisions to some favourite stages from past events and a drastic re-write of the schedule will challenge first timers and test veteran competitors, the official in charge of setting the course for the 5th Annual Targa Newfoundland has promised. “The 2006 event is really going to test everyone,” says Ross Wood, Clerk of the Course and the official charged with designing the route for the international rally for historic, classic and modern sporting cars. Although the 37 competitive Targa stages spread over the five days of competition cover slightly less distance than last year, Wood promises that the new stages and the revised order will more than make up for the lost distance. The six new stages are all extremely challenging, says Wood, even though some are short. And reversing the direction the cars will run over some of the other popular stages will add a new level of driving challenge, he says. “We’re really going to test the competitors this year,” he adds. Among the other major changes, Wood says, is the drastic revision to the first and last days’ schedule. “We’ve essentially swapped day one with day five,” he advises, with many of the longer, flowing, faster stages from last year’s final day being moved to the first day, and many of the challenging stages from the first day put into a heavy day five schedule that will be both long and tough. “Day one will be longer and faster, with a lot of stage distance,” Wood confirms. The day starts in St. John’s and ends in Gander with lunch in Placentia in between. Day two features three new stages. “They aren’t long, but they’re spectacular,” he says. The day ends back in Gander, but with more time in the schedule to stop in some of the communities along the route. Day three is a reprise of the third day last year, but with a lunch stopat the spectacular Barbour Historic Site before the run to the overnight stop at Clarenville. Day four sees the competitors leave Clarenville and run to Marystown for a breakfast before the start of competition. Route changes in the Burin Peninsula leg mean the competitors will run some breathtaking shoreline roads like the Path End stage before the overnight halt in Marystown. Day five begins with a competitor favourite: Last year’s popular Harbour Mille will be run twice as part of a packed last day that includes new and revised stages at Spaniard’s Bay and Torbay along with some old favourites like Brigus. The day ends when the weary competitors wind their way back to St. John’s and the traditional ceremonies on George St. “The Targa Newfoundland route is like a living, breathing thing. It changes every year. Communities leave and stages disappear, and new ones take their place,” says Wood. “Communities that have dropped out have come back. Change is good for the event and good for competition.” “The 2006 route could make this the best Targa Newfoundland yet,” Wood adds. The 5th Anniversary Targa Newfoundland will start Sept. 9, 2006, in St. John’s and will cover more than 2,100 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of the island of Newfoundland, including more than 400 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages. In addition to the two primary competitions for Targa and Grand Touring entries, a new category known as Targa Tour has been added for 2006. The latter gives motorsports enthusiasts and collectors of unique and rare vehicles the opportunity to enjoy all that Targa has to offer without the pressure of competition or the need for stringent vehicle preparation. Competitors have come from the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, Holland, the Bahamas and the U.K. for the first four editions of Targa Newfoundland. Entries continue to arrive daily for the 2006 and 2007 events. Targa Newfoundland is owned and organized by Newfoundland International Motorsports, and is listed on the FIA international motorsports calendar.