Seagle with Jonathan Pittman
Former Wilmington attorney Harold Seagle finished fourth among rookies at the 2006 Targa Newfoundland Rally.
Seagle puts on his rally cap

Tom Grady
Wilmington Star-News
March 3, 2007

Within the winding trails that encompass his sport, Harold Seagle is a 59 year old rookie, a road rally beginner with the skills of a veteran.

The former Wilmington attorney turned his motorcycling skills into an award-winning Porsche race car performance at the Targa Newfoundland Rally last fall.

Seagle and his navigator and long-time friend Stan Pendergraft finished second in their racing class and fourth overall among rookies. The performance also earned Seagle’s team, Sea Eagle Racing, the Targa Trophy, which goes to racers who finish each stage of the six-day, 2,200 kilometer race under a set time.

The race will be replayed on the Speed Channel on Sunday at 3:30pm.

Seagle drove the Time Warner / Road Runner Porsche 911SC with Pendergraft in the passenger seat. Following behind was a crew with fuel and repair parts.

Seagle credits his car, a good crew, and the transferable skills developed racing on two wheels.

“Motorcycles, under racing conditions, handle very similar to a 911 Porsche,” Seagle said. “Getting used to motorcycle racing, you sort of develop a comfort with speed and you develop a feel for the machine.”

His cycle racing dates to his law school years at the University of North Carolina. Seagle practiced law in Wilmington for 26 years before returning to his home in the mountains.

The Targa Rally lasts six days, with six to nine legs per day that last about seven total hours. The streets in Newfoundland are closed for each race stage.

“One of the big things is just the endurance part of it,” Seagle said. “It’s really rough country, rough roads and hard driving, under really adverse conditions. Even that was not so bad for a day or two.

“I think one of the greatest challenges of a race like this is it goes on for so long and you’re in the car for so long.”

Seagle and Pendergraft had not been to Newfoundland before the event, but some other racers had. For the fourth day of the rally, the Sea Eagle team did get a familiar equalizer, reminiscent of Seagle’s days in Southeastern North Carolina. Hurricane Florence hit the seaside village of Greenspond.

“We did well through that leg,” he said. “That was one day we felt like, hey, we’re kind of on an even keel here. We’ve got a fair shot.”

Pendergraft said he and Seagle have known each other since junior high school in McDowell county. That friendship proved to be vital over the week-long grueling work at close quarters.

The navigtator announces each upcoming turn or hazard based on information noted in a route book. Pendergraft studied the pages each night before the next leg of the race.

An odometer is zeroed out before each stage and is used to map the course for the key location points.

“I’m supposed to warn (the driver) of upcoming turns,” Pendergraft said. “I’ll count down the distances and the meters. We go through all the turns with me looking down basically. The next turn, once he says he sees it, then I go ahead and look at the next one.”

Seagle and Pendergraft will head back to Newfoundland in September for another go at the Targa. They liked what they saw and how they did.

“I can say that we did better than a lot of people expected,” Pendergraft said. “We just really enjoyed it and we’re really looking forward to going back.”