Blue Mountains Art Rally

WE, WHO SEEK THE OPEN ROAD especially when joining with a group of Porsche UCR adventurers, may not have necessarily been aware of a driving tour that is an elevated variable than group touring. Unbelievers take note, when you layer on the top of route navigation the challenge of applying mental acuity skills plus keen powers of observation, you find yourself in the challenge of the “gimmick rally.”

Such was the event the experienced, as well as the uninitiated, set out to match their skills, not against the clock, rather the observable items along the route. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? When one of the targets, for example, is to name the creature pushing a wheelbarrow on a mailbox, simply identify and jot the answer down on a score sheet. Everyone got that one, unless a gaze was wandering while cruising at 60 KPH. It was a gnome, but you already guessed that, right?

At the outset of the drive, unlike other events, cars are not launched from the parking area in a follow-the-car-in-front-of-you formation. Rather each car, driver, and navigator are given the drive-on signal in 60- to 90-second intervals. To give you a bit of insight into the plan, organizer Hazel de Burgh took the pause time between cars to share a short personal greeting and snap a pic of each car and occupants. And in her words, “The most fun part of the event was releasing the cars in the morning and wishing everyone a wonderful day, and the personal interaction with all the people.” For a bit more insight, from organizer Martin Tekela we learned of the efforts expended to reach a final route, which includes driving the course three-plus times to ferret out the best possible parts of the course. And to put some perspective on the effort, he will tell you, “After 90 percent of the work is done, the rest is all fun!”

Perhaps the operative word to describe the drive is “hot, hot, hot!” and the next descriptor could be “coordination,” as in between driver and navigator, teamwork. Having a good navigator means keeping U-turns to a minimum, or none, as some reported. Having a great navigator also means tagging the targets on the quiz plus keeping on course. A great navigator is important.

As a result of the discerning care taken to plot the route, the roads travelled were together filled with the nature of countryside and perky curves and intersections. And, when the first part of the course was completed, the staunch road warriors descended onto the patio seating at Sterlings that served up a delightful lunch that took in the breezes and view of Thornbury harbour. As ever, the sharing of a meal at generous-sized tables was catalyst for engaging in Porsche lore with new and old friends.

Our meal being polished off meant taking a walking excursion through Thornbury’s main street to collect scoring points for spotting the art items in several galleries. Some were heard to say they first would like to find the gallery with several large nudes on display. Credits for these go to the artist Sue Tupy.

The second phase of the course was equally challenging as the first, and the operative words this time were “even hotter.” Even some of the cabriolets felt top-up was preferrable to being seared.

To cap off the day, the group was welcomed at Hazel and Martin’s home in Clarksburg for a modest offering — hardly. A splendid cornucopia of wine and cheese, beer, cider, sparkling water (for drivers), plus dessert and cookies. All the while the group was savouring the spread, the adjudicators were huddled to tabulate the scores. A tip of the hat and a round of applause was in order for the team of Richard Metcalfe and Bev Like for nailing every point for a 100-percent total score — remarkable! Close behind were Janet and Art Haggar tied for second with Brian and Linda McGregor, followed with Greg and Denny Delfosse, and Paul and Peggy Biggin.

Ask any of the participants if they would jump in to take a gimmick rally challenge again. You can guess the response. Advice to the reader, the next time you see a rally on the schedule, perhaps for 2022, don’t hesitate if the  date is open for you. It is likely the registration will fill up quickly. </>

Story By Marc Etherington | Photography by Hazel de Burgh

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