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Car enthusiasts set out on rally from Spirit Ridge
Rarely are so many powerful and beautiful sports cars assembled in the same place, but at Spirit Ridge on the weekend there were Porsches, Lamborghinis, Corvettes, BMWs, Ferraris and the odd Bentley or classic DeSoto.
On a warm and sunny Saturday morning, dozens of such cars, proudly driven by enthusiastic owners, poured out of the parkade to hit the roads of the South Okanagan.
Motorists from throughout Western Canada and a few from the United States came to Osoyoos to participate in the Area 27 Rally.
Organizer Bill Drossos, president and founder of Area 27, said he hopes to generate support for a racetrack at Oliver that can allow these powerful vehicles to be driven to their potential.
“We need a proper environment where a person can really enjoy the car,” said Drossos. “Otherwise it’s really just a piece of transportation. Some of these cars are faster than what was called a race car 20 years ago, so you can’t use them on the road at all.”
The plan to build a motorsports complex on Osoyoos Indian Band (OIB) land near Oliver was announced in September with the involvement of Canadian racing legend Jacques Villeneuve. Drossos hopes to raise funds for the facility through the sale of memberships to Area 27. A charter membership costs a one-time $30,000 plus annual fees of $3,000 to $4,000.
“It’s a country club for sports car enthusiasts and we’ve been getting more and more members,” said Drossos. “It’s just like a golf club or a tennis club or a yacht club where you have a membership-based club, only this is for the car person.”
The weekend rally was a chance for the growing membership base to meet each other.
The event was also intended to help build membership, raise awareness and get members working together, said Drossos.
The cars left Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa in waves to make their way up toward Penticton on the back roads. Drivers planned to meet for lunch at a local winery.
One of the first to leave was Roberto Giannini, originally from Regina, who was driving a Lamborghini Diablo VT Roadster. It was a car he bought three years ago and kept in California, where he would drive it up and down the Pacific Coast Highway.
“The attraction is just the sheer pleasure of the engine sound, the performance and the power behind it,” said Giannini, who has been a sports car fan since the age of eight. “Not many people understand it until you actually drive it.”