Rally digs West Coast curves

As Porsches shined through the streets of Ucluelet this past weekend the community shined back.

Ucluelet provided the backdrop for the Vancouver Island Region Porsche Club of America’s annual getaway this past weekend.

Ucluelet has set the stage for the club’s annual getaways for the past six years and Friday saw 140 club members descend on the West Coast.

It was the fifth Ucluelet experience for Victoria based Porsche Club member Mike Woods who was stoked to drive his 1986 Porsche 911 through Highway 4’s narrow turns.

“The drive in from Port Alberni through to the junction is just fantastic,” he said. “It’s like those roads were designed for these cars: twisty, tight and fun.”

While the drive to get there is thrilling, Woods said the experience members receive in Ucluelet is the true prize of the trip.

“I have loved it every time. It’s just such an awesome place, so much natural beauty,” he said adding the Ucluelet experience has kept the club returning year after year.

“We’re treated incredibly well here. The whole community is super accommodating and the (Black Rock) Resort bends over backwards to accommodate us,” he said.

“It’s a cool tight knit small community that just really pulls together to go the extra mile for the club. We love it.”

The Black Rock Resort housed the club and was the scene of the annual pancake breakfast and evening banquet, which both raise funds for the Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade. “They’ve become sort of like family to the staff and it’s nice to see familiar faces return,” said Black Rock staffer Andrew Loiselle. “We always have a lot of fun and hope to see them back next year.”

Last year’s getaway event raised over $5,000 for the fire brigade and the brigade’s deputy chief Mark Fortune said the fundraising efforts have been much appreciated.

“We appreciate what the Porsche Club brings to our community,” he said. “They’ve been very supportive of our fire rescue society over the last five years and have enabled us to purchase some rescue equipment that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to obtain; it’s a good funding source for our department.”

Woods said participating in the Porsche Club connects people across North America and the club’s motto “it’s not just the cars it’s the people” consistently rings true.

“We’re all car nuts so that’s the one common interest we have that sort of gets the ball rolling but then we get together in mass events like this and just have a blast; it’s a party crowd,” he said.

He expressed confidence that Ucluelet will remain stapled on the club’s annual calendar.

“Ucluelet has just done such a fantastic job for us over the past 5 or 6 years that we have no reason to look elsewhere; we just love it here,” he said.

Tyson Johnson of the Porsche Centre in Victoria said Ucluelet is a perfect place for the club to meet because of the community’s hosting prowess and naturally beautiful surroundings. “We keep coming back for all the same reasons you stay here,” he said.

Past-president and treasurer of the Vancouver Island Region club Rick Kroeker suggested choosing Ucluelet for the club’s annual getaway is a no-brainer.

“It’s by the ocean, everybody’s friendly and it’s a great place to be,” he said. Steve Titus, a 14-year member, drove his 1987 Porsche 928, equipped with collector’s plates, from Cowichan Valley to attend the annual Ucluelet getaway for the third time and said Ucluelet has never dissappointed.

“We like the people here, we like snooping into the town and we like the rugged West Coast,” he said.

Titus has enjoyed his annual Porsche based experiences in Ucluelet so much that he has become a return tourist, bringing friends to the community for cycling trips.

Municipal councillor Randy Oliwa said the club’s visit was a win-win for both the club and the community and that Ucluelet’s successful track record of hosting the event exemplifies the community’s strengths.

He said Ucluelet has proven its hosting abilities and he is confident other organizations and groups are taking notice and considering Ucluelet for their adventures.

“This shows the fact that Ucluelet can pull together and pull it off,” he said. “I think it’s a perpetual thing, if this is the last year for the

Porsche Club, which I’m potentially hearing, hopefully there’s something else out there that’s looking at Ucluelet and its track record of community based volunteerism and coming forward.” reporter@westerlynews.ca