Truck? Did you say TARGA TRUCK!
Mark Bovey is in love with his wife, Liz. His son, Wyatt, is the focal point of his life. His truck – that is not a typo, I really meant to type his truck – has been with him for what seems like forever. And it is likely not going anywhere fast. It does, however, take him everywhere fast. 2014 was an amazing year for Mark and his truck. You may have heard about it. The truck that ran in Targa Newfoundland. That is correct, the 45 year old truck that completed the 2200 kilometre/1400 mile road rally that is held over nine days (five of the days are competition events) in September of every year. This Targa is held on the East Coast of Canada, with many stages of the course looking over the Atlantic Ocean. It attracts cars and drivers from all over the world. In 2014 it also attracted a truck. The truck you got a glimpse of in my article on Ontario Time Attack and now we are going to look at it a little bit more in-depth. A couple of years ago I heard about this guy autocrossing an insane, classic pickup truck. I met him at the OTA performance driving school that was hosted by SPDA – a club that we both belong to. Mark and I both believe in the philosophy of these two organizations, which is to get drivers involved in organized, grassroots autosport.
For about a year now this 1971 GMC 1500 Long Box has been known as the Targa Truck. Mark Bovey and navigator Miles Markovic participated in the Classic category and finished in second place, only 13 minutes behind a 1965 Ford Mustang driven by Jack Rogers with navigator CJ Strupp and ahead of a Porsche 911 and a Chevrolet Corvette. Needless to say this second place finish was a surprise to many, who simply did not think that a farm truck, regardless of how exotic it may be, had any place in one of the world’s most challenging Targa competitions.
Mark’s dad Martin bought this eighteen year old, beat up farm truck for his fourteen year old son in 1989. According to Martin, it was a definite fixer upper at that time but he thought it would be a great project for the two of them and, as Mark was not yet old enough to drive, a great way to learn respect for the automobile he would eventually take on the road. Martin’s first sign, at least in respect to the future Targa Truck, that Mark was somewhat obsessed with building the best he could occurred shortly after the purchase. Martin arrived home from work one evening to find the GMC pick up torn apart with truck pieces literally everywhere. The build had begun!