A plethora of shined-up Porsches glistened under a warm West Coast sun over the weekend.
The Porsche Club of America’s Vancouver Island Chapter settled into Ucluelet’s Black Rock Resort on Friday and packed their annual visit to town with three days worth of festivities and fundraising to support the Ucluelet Volunteer Fire Brigade and the Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer bike ride.
The chapter’s past president Brad Blaney said Ucluelet has been an exciting annual staple on the club’s calendar for the past seven years because of the community’s consistently “fantastic” hospitality.
“Everybody welcomes us here and we love coming here,” he said.
“This is a beautiful place and the reception we get from everybody and the teamwork we get from the fire department and the city, you name it; everybody enjoys this, including us.”
The Fire Brigade hosted a barbecue and fireworks display at Big Beach Friday night followed by a pancake breakfast and Show and Shine at Ucluelet’s Whiskey Dock on Saturday and a Porsche parade through town on Sunday.
The club’s weekend events raised $5,922 for the Fire Brigade, according to Ucluelet’s Manager of Emergency and Environmental Services Manager Karla Robison.
Ucluelet mayor Dianne St. Jacques was delighted the club enjoyed themselves and that the community’s hosting prowess shined as brightly as the cars being celebrated.
“It’s awesome the support that they give for our fire department and the fundraising that they do,” she said. “We’re happy to host them and happy that they have a great time while they’re here, and we arranged the weather perfectly.”
She said being an attractive destination for groups like the Porsche Club is an important cog in Ucluelet’s economic wheel.
“These types of events are really welcomed as far as keeping our people working steady and our rooms full on a steady basis, in the shoulder seasons in particular,” she said.
“We’re proud of what we have to offer here and everybody is so appreciative when they do come to Ucluelet and walk the trail and go to the aquarium and get down to the lighthouse. It’s good all the way around. It’s nice for us to be able to host, it’s great that they have a positive impact on our economy and our jobs and it’s a fun thing to do.”
While the chapter is comprised of Vancouver Islanders, Blaney noted many event goers were members of other chapters who wanted to take in the Ucluelet experience, including porsche enthusiasts from Texas, Washington, Alberta and Vancouver.
One of the hottest rides on display was Irwin Axness’ 1973 914 2L S, which he bought, brand new, in the fall of 1973.
“It has 63,000 miles on it…It doesn’t get driven too too much,” Axness told the Westerly. “It feels like a go-cart. Quick, responsive, super handling. It’s just fun to drive.”
Axness, a Nanaimo local, has been a member of the Porsche Club for 37 years.
“It’s just a great group of people with lots of activities and a good resource for maintenance on vehicles,” he said. “They’re super people with great cars.”
He said he’s enjoyed visiting Ucluelet before, but this was the first time he’d participated in the Porsche Club’s annual trip and he was delighted to take in the festivities.
“It’s a super event and the Black Rock Resort is excellent,” he said. “We couldn’t ask for better weather and this is a beautiful town.”
Nanaimo-based Tour de Rock Cops for Cancer rider Cpl. Kevin Flood rolled in with the Porsche Club on Friday afternoon and was delighted by the warm West Coast welcome he received.
“We started fundraising right away and instantly people were donating funds to Cops for Cancer,” he said. “Everybody has been so friendly and supportive. The weather has been fabulous and I just think everybody is happy to be here and enjoy the events…It’s amazing, the community support here.”
He said the club is a longstanding and valuable supporter of Cops for Cancer.
“They’ve been fabulous,” he said. “They’ve been fundraising for the Nanaimo Tour de Rock riders for over six years now and raised thousands and thousand of dollars to support kids going through cancer.”