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Porsche Club at Tarlton

Broadcast date : 29th October 2006

If you had to use one word to describe a Porsche, that word would probably be "excellence".

These are cars built by the best brains in the motor industry, and it follows that when a bunch of Porsches are gathered together, the event is going to be exceptional.

The Porsche Club of South Africa was formed way back in 1953, making it one of the oldest motoring clubs in the country.

Itís also one of the biggest Porsche clubs in the world, the fifth largest behind, America, the UK, Germany and Australia.

This year Tarlton Raceway played host to the Annual Porsche Parade for the gymkhana and sprint trials of the event, which was centred at nearby Sun City.

Members come from all over the country, including Cape Town and Kwazulu Natal.

But for many of the 100-plus members that attended the 2006 event, the gymkhana is the most important part of the Porsche Parade weekend.

The Porsche Club is noted for being one of the most competitive motorclubs of all, not surprising considering Ferry Porscheís creation is a car you can thrash for hours on end, and it still comes back for more with its tail up.

The Gymkhana route at Tarlton follows an identical format each time the Porsche Club runs there, ending with a top end run on the main strip.

The presidency of the club rotates between the regions, and is currently held by Cape Townís Jerry Barnard.

The day before, the cars had taken part in a major concours díelegance at Sun City, which explains why they looked ultra clean and sparkling for the hard-core segment of the weekend.

The top GT2s and GT3s were going for overall honours, while older examples compete in lower classes. And, as weíve seen in other branches of motorsport recently, the on-track action is not limited to the hairy-chested sector of our species.

The great thing about the Porsche Club is that it opens up half a centuryís worth of Porsche knowledge and folk-lore to even first-time Porsche buyers.

And all Porscheís are respected by the members, because many of them started out on a humble 924 or 944, or a 911 from the 1970s, before graduating to more powerful models.

An example of one of Porscheís finest is this lightweight, naturally-aspirated 911 RS, owned by Martin Maine.

And just in case you didnít know all that, thereís a high-down-force rear-wing to remind you this is special.

Of course, Porsche development on the 911 never stops, and while Martinís 993 spec RS is a classic, the 996 RS development - like this one owned by Durbanís Sun Moodley - is even quicker.

And then thereís another branch of extreme collectabilia in the Porsche family, the 993 Turbo.

In case would-be Porsche enthusiasts are confused about the nomenclature, itís worth emphasising that all rear-engined six-cylinder Porsches are officially known as 911's.

The other type numerals refer to factory series codes, and this distinguishes between the major evolutions to the bodywork.

Thereís a saying about the Porsche 911 that it was a bad idea to put the engine in the back in the first place. But Porsche people, being Germans, refused to admit they were wrong, and instead spent the next forty years proving they were right!

Whatever, the Porsche, any Porsche, is simply a superb motorcar. Drive one, and youíll understand.

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