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Rhyno

The Targa NFL

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Rhyno    10

Hey all, how about these guys!!!!Two disabled Canadian Forces soldiers beat all expectations, including their own, in the rugged five-day, 2,000-kilometre Targa Newfoundland international car rally. Master Cpl. Jody Mitic of Ottawa and Cpl. Andrew Knisley, of London, Ont., drove to first place in their class and seventh place in their division and won a Targa Plate for completing each of the 40-plus stages within tough target times. Both men received devastating injuries in combat in Afgahanistan that left them with just three arms and one leg combined. The car, a silver 2010 Acura TL, had paddles on the steering wheel for shifting gears instead of a clutch, making it easier for Knisley to drive without full use of his right hand. Mitic used his prosthetic feet to work the gas and brake pedals, while Knisley used his left foot crossed over his right during the grueling week-long event, which ended Sunday. "We hoped we'd have a finish like this, but we realistically set a goal to just successfully complete the entire event," Mitic said. "Each day, we focused on driving consistently, reigning in any exuberance and keeping our sights on Day 5." "They were long, hard days," Knisley said. "But that's where our military training was invaluable: teamwork, communication and situational awareness. It was a big accomplishment." The two were competing to raise money for the Soldier On Fund, which helps improve the quality of life of ill and injured soldiers. The team is encouraging Canadians to contribute to Soldier On through tax-deductible donations made to the organization's website, SoldierOn.ca. Retired Canadian general Lewis MacKenzie, a former Targa Newfoundland class champion, was team manager. "Targa stages are unlike other racing competitions. There are over 40 opportunities to make a mistake. Jody and Andrew didn't make a single one. I can't even fathom the physical pressure they endured. But the mental pressure, too. Remember, they switched roles as driver and navigator each day. It's a phenomenal achievement." Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa rallies. The others are in Australia and New Zealand. As multi-day endurance contests, Targa events use a series of timed, closed-road, high-speed special stages in which each vehicle competes against the clock as well as against other vehicles. Mitic and Knisley blogged about their week-long adventure at AcuraSoldierOnatTarga.blogspot.com as well as on Facebook (Acura Soldier On at Targa Newfoundland).

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