First impressions, Targa Muskoka makes a good one
By Joan Bercovitch, New UCR Member
Photos by Michael A. Coates
Morley and I joined PCA this July and signed up for our first Rally, the Targa Muskoka, September 6 to 8. Being newbies on all fronts, it felt like a brave step for us to venture into the world of Porsche Rallying.
On Friday afternoon we pulled into the parking lot of Patterson-Kaye Resort and Spa on Lake Muskoka. The setting was perfect for a weekend away. Imagine 32 Porsches gleaming in the sunlight welcoming our black Boxster. We settled into our lakeside cabin and wandered over to the patio where members were enjoying each other’s company over a drink. Smiles greeted us, followed by an invitation to pull up a chair and join the members. That was a pleasant surprise. First impressions matter. The afternoon (and wine) flowed into an evening reception courtesy of our gracious hosts David and Anne Forbes. Canapes, cava and wine were served by the ever smiling wait staff. As we wove our way back to the cabin, gales of laughter echoed off the water.
An air of anticipation filled the breakfast room on Saturday morning. Sixty-six participants, newbies and pros alike, waited for the Driver Packages to be distributed by UCR Rally Master Sajjad Butt and President Walter Murray. Morley came prepared with a pen and pencil. Others whipped out calculators and iPhones. Yikes, what had we gotten ourselves into!
Ten o’clock saw 33 Porsches lined up and roaring to go. We were rally car #2 and pulled out at precisely 10:02 am. I was nervous. Morley tried to reassure me that we’d be fine. Slow and steady wins the rally, he said. Concentrating on our speed on winding roads and rolling hills was all I could do. Every once in a while I’d breathe. The sweetest sight on that first leg was seeing Walter, Sajjad and his wife Gulzar waving to us as we pulled into the Utterson Country Store stop. Felt like we’d been in the car for days.
Leg 2 turned into a thrill of the unknown and great teamwork. The Cottage restaurant in Bracebridge welcomed us all for lunch. Patrons stopped to admire the Porsches and have their picture taken beside their favourite car. Brent and Carolyn, an entrepreneurial couple from North Bay, shared their table with us, and the true nature of members began to emerge. We were sitting with an adventurous man who had climbed Machu Picchu and Mt Kilimanjaro with total support of his wife…teamwork on all fronts. Their enthusiasm for living life was rubbing off on us. Can’t wait for Legs 3 and 4!
By the time we arrived home, half the cars were in the parking lot…car #2 must be a tad late. We turned in our sheet to Mario Marrello and wondered what to do next.
The organizing committee had arranged for us to cruise on Lake Muskoka in a classic mahogany boat. The sleek lines of this boat were as fine as any Porsche. Chris and Julie had purchased the boat last year and very kindly offered the members a ride to be remembered. The inboard engine was a noisy and powerful 450hp. A typical reaction from participants was “Wow you should see this thing go”. After dinner, Chris shared the history of the of the Muskoka Wooden Boat industry with us.
Dinner at the Lodge was definitely the highlight of Saturday evening. Morley and I enjoyed the company of the UCR Vice President Arthur Quinlan and his wife Charlene. These long-time members and racing enthusiasts encouraged us to sign up for runs and socials as well as rallies.
The wait staff and chef’s talents provided us with delicious gourmet plates of either fresh trout or prime rib, followed by cheesecake to die for. The food, the presentation and the table service was impeccable. Kudos to the staff at the Lodge for making the dinner hour first class.
Sunday morning came too early. With eyes barely open, we ate our oatmeal, prepping for the day ahead which promised to be more challenging. Not that I needed it. The comment “family friction is a possibility” jerked me awake. Guess I’d better listen up.
Legs 3 and 4 sounded tighter. Walter asked all of us to drive with our heads up. By 10:00am the engines were revving to go. This time we knew a little and promised ourselves to pick up the pace. Carving those curves was exhilarating! Unfortunately we missed a direction and pulled off the road. We were floored when Anibal and Cindy stopped to help us. They truly represent the club’s values. In the next leg when we saw their car on the side of the road we slowed down to make sure they were OK…but quickly realized Anibal didn’t need a hand. We dashed for the finish line.
What a great time! All in all, the weekend was a huge eye-opener for us into the wonderful world of Porsche Rallying. Would Morley and I encourage other new members to join a Rally? Absolutely! We want to keep the URC alive and well by participating in planned events. A special thanks to the team of volunteers who worked tirelessly to ensure we had a great experience. First impressions truly matter.