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Corner Brook's Darren Brake grabs first place in Grand Touring division at Targa Newfoundland

Driver Darren Brake and navigator Herb Johnson pose for a photo in front of Brake's 2017 Subaru WRXSTI. The two Corner Brook natives teamed up to win top honours in the Grand Touring division at the 2018 Targa Newfoundland.
Driver Darren Brake and navigator Herb Johnson pose for a photo in front of Brake's 2017 Subaru WRXSTI. The two Corner Brook natives teamed up to win top honours in the Grand Touring division at the 2018 Targa Newfoundland. - Contributed

Cruising along the twisting roads of the province at a maximum speed of 150 kilometres in his 2017 Subaru WRXSTI was a great vacation getaway for Darren Brake.

Driving his Subaru, the 50-year-old Corner Brook native, along with navigator Herb Johnson of Corner Brook, won first place in the Grand Touring division at the 2018 Targa Newfoundland.

KSAB Racing, with Brake behind the wheel, became the first rookie team to win both the Targa Bambina and the Grand Touring title at Targa in the same year.

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Corner Brook team overall winners of 2018 Targa Bambina

Seeing pockets of the province from a unique vantage point and cruising along 1,600 kilometres of challenging and winding road, including over 440 kilometres of close-road flat-out Targa stages in the Burin and Brigus area, gave Brake a rush and that’s what he was looking for when he decided he wanted to take on something new and exciting to learn.

“Driving the car fast was just, wow. It was a crazy experience. I loved it very much,” Brake said.

Angela Decker played the key role of navigator in the Targa Bambina victory that was used as an event to prepare rookies for the big event, but Johnson came on board for the navigator role in the Targa and Brake appreciated the efforts of both in making his experience something special.

“It was a fabulous experience. It wasn’t just one person who won it. It was the team that won it,” Brake said.

He said the race itself was exhilarating and he’s anxious to enter the 2019 Targa Newfoundland — a free entry into the event the reward for the victory at the 2018 Targa Bambina — but there was a special feeling that came over him after he realized the common bond he shared with others on the course.

“You were racing against people you didn’t know and at the end of the race these people were your friends … it was an incredible experience that way,” he said.

Racing his car around the winding roads of a province blessed with beauty is something he could get used to in a hurry so don’t expect him to drive off into the sunset anytime soon.

“Having a week off to race your car … you can’t beat it. It was an extraordinary feeling,” he said.

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