Seagle with Jonathan Pittman
The duo speeds across a bridge during another portion of the grueling
race, which began Sept. 9 and ended Sept. 16.
Former Marion residents finish well in grueling rally
The McDowell News
September 28, 2006

A pair of McDowell County natives recently competed in the Targa Newfoundland Rally, finishing second in their class and fourth overall among rookies, as well as winning the coveted Targa ("Plate" in Italian) Trophy Award for finishing within a set time limit for their vehicle class.

Driver Harold Seagle and navigator Stan Pendergraft brought their SeaEagle Racing Porsche 911SC to the finish line after six days of grueling competition in the international event that covered 2,200 kilometers along the rugged coast of Newfoundland, Canada.

Teams from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the U.S. competed in the annual rally, which features many makes and models of cars racing cross country through sections of normal roads - on which they must obey local traffic laws - and sections set aside for racing as fast as possible.

It wasn’t easy.

Seagle, a successful environmental lawyer who lives in Asheville, has been an avid motorcycle racer for years. But this was his first road rally, and he and Pendergraft faced numerous obstacles along the way.

While loading their racecar in Asheville for the trip north, the duo uncovered a problem in the car’s electrical system. It wasn’t until after the first day of the race that they were able to isolate the problem, tracing it to an on-board rally computer. After miraculously locating another identical unit in Newfoundland, Seagle and Pendergraft worked late into the night installing it.

On the fourth day of the rally, Hurricane Florence nailed the seaside village of Greenspond - at the same time the racers were passing through the area. But the SeaEagle team actually managed to make up some time during the storm, thanks to a fortunate tire selection made earlier in the race.

On day five, the Porsche developed a bad miss, which became progressively worse. The car began to lose power and eventually stalled. After some emergency work on the ignition system and a push by the service crew, the SeaEagle team managed to finish the stage. That night, they discovered the engine problems were caused by water in the fuel. More frantic repairs followed. The following day saw the transmission linkage lock up due to the abuse it had suffered during the brutal rally, but again, Seagle and Pendergraft worked through the problem and stayed on pace.

Although the team had its problems, Seagle was quick to point out their struggles were minor compared to those of Canadians Criag Seko and Ian O’Halloran. At one point, Seko and O’Halloran lost control of their Porsche 944 and ran it into the bay off Burin Peninsula. Only the top of the car was visible. Amazingly, the Canadian team pulled the car from the bay, drained it of saltwater, and eventually got it going again after a tremendous amount of work. Incredibly, Seko and O’Halloran finished the race, and were awarded the "Spirit of Targa" trophy for exemplifying the spirit of the rally.

In addition to their solid finish, Seagle and Pendergraft were proud to be part of a charity effort that raised more than $40,000 for Easter Seals of Newfoundland and Labrador.

SeaEagle Racing is sponsored by Time Warner Cable and Road Runner High Speed On Line.

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