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Classic GM/Ford battle moves to Targa Newfoundland

One of the oldest rivalries in the history of motorsports will move to a new stage in September when the Targa Newfoundland international rally for historic, classic and modern sporting cars plays host to a classic GM-Ford battle with a couple of unlikely combatants.

The newest version of the old rivalry will pit an Australian interpretation of the quintessential American muscle car - the Ford Mustang - against an Acadian Canso, the uniquely Canadian sporty coupe from GM, in what could be the best battle of the event.

The Mustang is owned and driven by Len and Gayle Cattlin, a team of leading Australian contenders. The Acadian belongs to driver Jud Buchanan of Ontario and co-driver Peter Wright. Neither car is what it appears.

The Cattlins are experienced Targa rallyists and veterans of three years of the tough Targa Tasmania, where their brilliant yellow 1967 Mustang fastback has been a featured car. During the 2002 Targa Tasmania, the South Melbourne pair was vying for the overall lead of the Classic category but fell to a broken axle on the final stage of the last day of the event. The potent 5.3-litre Ford features a 6-speed gearbox and sophisticated suspension and is a favourite with Australian fans.

Buchanan's 1967 Acadian started life as the Canadian version of the popular Chevy II of the era, but like the Cattlins' Mustang, it has emerged as a highly sophisticated combination of new technology wrapped in traditional garb. It packs a 5.7-litre engine with 5-speed gearbox, and employs modern suspension and brake systems. Both cars run on 17-inch wheels and modern, low-profile tires suited to the tarmac surfaces.

Both teams believe they can win Targa Newfoundland. It is hard to imagine another event where two competitors, with similar cars built on opposite sides of the world, would meet to compete head-to-head.

Len Cattlin gained considerable experience as a road racer and motorcycle competitor before moving into the rally arena. Buchanan is a versatile driver with road race, solo and rally experience. The teams will compete for class, category and overall honours.

The event is also something of an Atlantic Canada homecoming for Buchanan, a native of Sydney, N.S., and his Acadian Canso.

The inaugural Targa Newfoundland is patterned after the highly successful Targa Tasmania in Australia and Targa New Zealand rally events, and is expected to attract up to 150 cars for the September 13-22 event. Targa Newfoundland will start and finish in St. John's, and the route will cover portions of the Avalon, Burin, Notre Dame and Bonavista peninsulas on the Canadian island province, including 500 kilometres of Targa stages on closed roads. The event is staged with the co-operation of Octagon Motorsports (which administers Targa Tasmania) and is sanctioned by the Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS).


Media: Competitors:
Doug Mepham Robert Giannou
(613)966-4969 (709)722-2413
[email protected] [email protected]
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