2017 Annual Banquet

Celebrating Record Participation at 2017 UCR Events

ON SATURDAY OCTOBER 29, about 160 Upper Canada Region (“UCR”) members and friends celebrated a record year of event participation at our Annual Banquet, which took place at the Islington Golf Club. The annual banquet is an occasion to give recognition to our long-time partners, volunteers and members who are the best ambassadors of the Porsche brand.  We currently have 2,800 primary members, which makes us the largest region among 143 regions at the Porsche Club of America. If we include the affiliated or family members, we have close to 4,150 members at the end of October. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Downtown Porsche and Porsche of London, who’ve been supporting UCR membership growth by offering free first year PCA membership to everyone that bought a car from them. 

Our banquet began with an opening prayer by John Adam, Past President & Club Historian. Cindy Jacisin, National Secretary of the Porsche Club of America was the special guest of honour at our banquet, flying in from Chicago to attend. Cindy did a “Stand Up Sit Down” by asking all participants to stand and then count down the years that each member joined UCR. She then presented a PCA flag to the longest-serving members – John & Rosemary Adam, who joined UCR in 1983.

At the banquet, I thanked all UCR volunteers for delivering a total of 65 events for more than 4,000 participants in 2017. About 30% of these events were track-based performance driving events with the remaining 70% for members and families. I have classified these events in the following four categories: 

1. Our performance driving events include the Introductory Driving School in April, monthly Driver Education events from May to October, annual Can/Am Challenge Club Race in August and Autocross. These attracted more than 1,000 participants in 2017.

• Our Driver’s Education events (DE) had a record number of participants in 2017. Huge kudos to our DE track chair Dave Osborne and his team (Co-Chief Instructors – Stephen Goodbody and Tim Sanderson; Registrar – Mary Iantorno; Work Assignment – Del Bruce and Tim Venturelli; Attitude – Andy Wright; Safety – Scott Bodo; Tech Chair – Paul Neto; Tower Control – John Adam and Track Treasurer – Graham Jardine) and all the DE instructors who worked tirelessly during DE weekends to help students develop advanced driving skills. Congratulations to Dave Osborne and Andy Wright who recently received their “Certificate of Appreciation” for each of their 25th anniversary of UCR membership! 

• 2017 Can-Am Challenge Club Race at CTMP (aka Mosport) was one of the best races we ever had, especially with the inaugural visit from the Cayman GT4 Clubsport Trophy East series. The huge success of our club race was supported by three sponsors: Porsche Centre Oakville was the Presenting Sponsor and brought a GT3 and a BMW i8 pace car to our club race; Porsche Cars Canada has been the National Sponsor of our club race during the past 22 years; Braidan Tire was the trackside tire sponsor. Thanks to our Club Race Co-Chairs – Walter Murray and Terry Cassan and the Club Race Committee: Brion Charters, Matt DiStefano, Neil Dowdell (Volunteer Coordinator), Steve Revoy (Registration), Allan Lewis (BMW Trillium Club Race Chair) and Isi Papadopolous (BMW Trillium Club President). Moreover, the entire event was made hugely successful with the help of 30+ UCR volunteers who worked at registration, manned the grid and managed the control tower during this four day long weekend event. 

• Autocross: Mario Marrello organized six Autocross events together with the BMW Trillium Club at two locations (Powerade Centre in Brampton and John D. Bradley Convention Centre in Chatham) between March and October in 2017.

2. Our Socials (monthly), Rally and Fun Runs 

attracted a total of 2,000 participants in 2017. Thanks to our Socials Team (Socials Co-Chairs – Peter and Susan Blake, Onsite Registration – Michelle Gananathan, Dagmar Ruehl-Pegg, Kim Willis); our Rally Master – Sajjad Butt, who organized a spring and a fall rally; Fun Run Co-Chairs – Peter Hoffman, Jason Figueiredo, Cynthia Wong, and our various Fun Run hosts – Jennifer Beauchamp, James Biggar, Paul Biggin, Mike Blinn, Dennis Centis, Hazel de Burg, Neil Dowdell, Humberto Duarte, Michelle & Randy Gananathan, Guenter Gamauf, Martin Hederich, Peter Hoffman, Greg Oldenburg, John Tsourounis, Stefan Walther, Jennifer & Vaughan Warrington, Laurance Yap and Rick Zuccato.

3. Our three Signature events were the Open House in the Spring, Concours d’Elegance & Picnic, and the 

Annual Banquet that attracted a total of 800 participants. Thanks to our Open House Chair – Gregory Sachs; Concours d’Elegance Chair- Randy Gananathan;  and our Annual Banquet team – Peter & Susan Blake (Socials Co-Chairs), Terrence Tong (Treasurer), Stefan Walther, and especially Michael Pohlmann (Vice-President) & Veronica Pohlmann for bringing Elyse Saunders, a Canadian singer and songwriter, to perform her song “RISE” at the banquet.

4. UCR hosted the following Community Events in 2017: 

• The annual Driven2Smile event was sponsored by UCR. We had 85 Black and Red run group drivers from our Driver’s Education program giving rides to 300 physically challenged children for a few laps at Mosport. Del Bruce and Jill Clements are the co-chairs of this annual event they have run for the past six years. 

• UCR organized two Street Survival Schools together with the BMW Trillium Club in 2017. Our instructors provide one-on-one in-car coaching to help young drivers, who have less than 10 years of driving experience. Thanks to the Street Survival School Co-Chairs, Mario Marrello and Hazel de Burgh and our Street Survival School Chief Instructor – Martin Tekela.

• At a few of our DE events at Mosport, UCR instructors and members provided dream rides during their lunch break to young children with cancer.

At the 62nd Porsche Parade in Washington, Provinz magazine won 1st place at the Newsletter Contest for Class VI (Regions with more than 1650 members) award. Congratulations to Randy Gananathan (Provinz editor) and his team on this well-deserved achievement. It is a daunting task for volunteers to produce twelve first class issues, 48 pages each, of a printed on paper newsletter that is mailed to all 4150 members of UCR. Peter Helston (Past President 2002) has volunteered to be our Sponsorship Chair to assist with recruiting new advertisers for Provinz and UCR sponsors in the coming year.

I want to express my appreciation to the following Past Presidents, who have been giving me excellent advice during the past year – John Adam (1998 President), Rosemary Adam (1989 President), Mike Bryan (2015 & 2016 President), Ken Jensen (2000 President), Walter Murray (2013 & 2014 President). 

At the banquet, we recognized many longstanding PCA members, who have been Porsche enthusiasts for five, 10, and multiple five-year periods thereafter. There were 324 UCR members in such categories in 2017. 

Michael Pohlmann (Vice-President) and I presented “Certificates of Appreciation” to 20 anniversary members attending the banquet. We welcomed three first-time UCR event attendees by giving Porsche pins to Albert Luce and Michelle Gravina plus Linda Woo, who joined UCR in October 2017 and immediately attended the first available event, our annual banquet!

The last recognition of the evening was for our  “2017 Enthusiast of the Year”. I met this gentleman (who joined UCR in 2016) at a new members’ social in March 2017 when he pitched his first Fun Run in Niagara Falls. Through my network, I learned that he experienced some issues during his inaugural Niagara Falls Fun Run in May, but he was not discouraged. He wrote an email to me explaining the issues that he encountered and what he planned to do to improve his next Fun Run. Since then, he has organized six out of 20 Fun Runs that we had in 2017. He lives in Niagara Falls and two Fun Runs he co-hosted took place in the Muskoka region. In one of his Fun Run follow-up articles, he wrote “People thought I was crazy. I was going to wake up at 4:00 am to drive over two hours to Muskoka, then drive few more hours during the event and drive another two hours to get home. But I told them, I am driving a Porsche!” Congratulations to Stefan Walther, who won UCR’s 2017 Enthusiast of the Year Award!

During the banquet, I conducted a quiz. The question was “How many UCR volunteers do we have at the banquet tonight?” I asked all banquet participants to write their answers on the back of the table place cards. After Michael Pohlmann (Vice President) and Terrence Tong (Treasurer) had collected the table place cards, I asked volunteers at each table to stand, so I could call out the total number of volunteers at each table. Terrence Tong, our Treasurer who is a Chartered Accountant, added up the numbers and revealed that there were 43 UCR volunteers at the banquet. It was interesting that eight participants had 42 as their answers but only Angela Sun had the correct answer of 43 and she won a $50.00 UCR Goodie Store gift certificate.

The highlight of the evening was the performance by Elyse Saunders, who is a Canadian singer and songwriter. Here is the link to her song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UJ4J_VXyvc 

Our thanks to Veronica Pohlmann who invited Elyse to perform the song “RISE” at our banquet. RISE tells the remarkable true story of Jessica Phoenix — a two time Canadian Olympian, four times Pan Am Medalist and one of the top equestriennes in the world. The song was about how a small-town girl fought through life-threatening injuries and injustice to achieve a greater goal — and doing so with a level of determination, confidence, and grace that shines bright. You can follow the story at www.jessicaphoenix.ca, https://www.elysesaunders.com and www.roar-group.com

Veronica Pohlmann also kindly donated an exquisitely handcrafted Verona picnic basket for the prize draw. This is a two-lid willow basket with premium leatherette (weather proof) accents, canvas carry straps and lined with polyethylene for durability. The lucky winner of the Verona picnic basket (retail value $130) was Andrea Heitz!

During the rest of the evening, I showed the following three UCR videos. These videos were produced by FlightSquad Media, which is a group of university students studying engineering and sciences. The team’s manager is Ryan Tam, who is the son of UCR member Roy Tam. I would like to take this opportunity thank Ryan and his team for the tons of hours they spent to edit the footage and produce these three amazing videos for UCR. You can also see them via the UCR website. 

Video #1: UCR 40th Anniversary Picnic, July 23, 2016. There were 150+ Porsches and 500 participants at our 40th Anniversary picnic.

Video #2: Can/Am Challenge Club Race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (Mosport), August 5-7, 2016. Ryan Tam captured his Dad’s (Roy Tam) first PCA Club Race at CTMP.

Video #3: Inaugural Race of GT4 Clubsport Trophy East Series at CTMP (Mosport), August 4-6, 2017

Our banquet ended with a closing prayer by John Adam. Mark your calendars – our 2018 Annual Banquet will be on Saturday October 27, 2018. </>

Photos by Peter Blake and Stefan Walther

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