Rennsport Reunion IV

Story by Mike Simmons, Photos by Bren Hirschberg
When it was announced early this year that Rennsport Reunion IV was going to be held at Laguna Seca Raceway in October I knew that I was going to be there. The more I talked with other members of the High Desert PCA club our excitement grew as we envisioned scores of Porsche race cars, race drivers, all at a world famous race track. I bought my tickets in March and the idea of being at such a famous racetrack with all of the other faithful Porsche fans began to become reality.

On October 12th, 2011 our journey to see it all began, as 9 Porsches and 17 members of the High Desert Region PCA gathered at the south end of Bend and we received the instructions from our club President, Tim Hagner, for our trip down to Monterey California. We would travel over the Cascades and then up over the coastal range and onto highway 101 to cruise down the coast highway for our first leg of the drive.
The roads were uncrowded on a Wednesday and the trip was beautiful on this fall day. We stopped for lunch in Cave Junction and were soon in the California Redwoods. The drive was fast and fun and full of wonderful scenery along the way. Scotia, California was our overnight stop. It is a company-owned lumber town that has a working lumber mill and a beautiful old inn that provided us both lodging and dinner and we were very happy to be able to enjoy the hospitality they provided.

Thursday morning after a hearty breakfast at the Scotia Inn and we were on our way to Monterey. South along the coastal highway and we soon arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge were we stopped for pictures and a driving break and took in the views of San Francisco, Alcatraz, and the boats sailing across the bay. This is where it got a little bit dicey as we entered into San Francisco and started dealing with the traffic, stop lights, and trying to keep the cars all headed in the same direction. However, with leadership of our tour guides, we were soon through the maze of highways, out of San Francisco and going south to the Skyline highway to our lunch stop.

Alice's Restaurant is a 70-year-old family-eating establishment that caters to thrill seekers who take on the 56-mile action packed drive over the mountains to Santa Cruz. We had a ball enjoying all the turns, curves and thrills the road had to offer. Alice's Restaurant on the west coast is not the same as the Alice's Restaurant of Arlo Guthery fame but we still got everything we wanted for our lunch break. Two CHP officers helped us with directions over to highway 1 and we were on our way on another great stretch of highway filled with more thrills and fast turns. Carmel was our final destination and we soon found the Motel we would call home for the next three days.

Friday morning was the beginning of Rennsport Reunion IV and we were all up early to take in all the sights and sounds of the largest ever gathering of Porsches at one spot on the West Coast. And what an event it was.  The 1400 street driven Porsches were all lined up by model number and there was a huge representation of every model. The sight of row upon row of 356 and 911 Porsches was overwhelming. The rainbow of different colors made it a beautiful sight as we found our spot in the parking lot and parked the car. PCA had brought in a representation of street cars, which had mostly been driven to the display and were in two big circles as we entered the event. Vendors selling everything Porsche made it very difficult to get to the Paddock as we stopped time and again to buy a hat, shirt, poster or other item that caught our eye but by noon we had finally reached the reason for Rennsport Reunion IV.

THE RACE CARS!!! The Pits were full of them. There were 400 Porsche racecars. 356, 904, 906, 917, 962, hundreds of 911's. The different groups would be on the track at different times all day, practicing and running qualifying laps for the races on Saturday and Sunday and we were there to enjoy it all. The Porsche racecars were being driven by the drivers who made them famous with the over 28,000 race wins that Porsche has achieved over the years. WOW!! What fun!! The day went by quickly and after miles of walking, viewing and talking we left the track and headed back to Carmel for our hotel, a fine meal and some rest.

Saturday morning and up early again to satisfy our need to view more Porsches, more races and more of everything Porsche has to offer. We saw the new 2012 Porsche unveiled for the first time in North America. We watched the racecars drop off into the famous "cork screw corner" and disappear around the track. Oh, and by the way, all this time the racecars were on the track and the sounds and smells of the racing community permeated us and made us happy and glad we could be a part of this great event. What a time to be part of the Porsche heritage. Once again the day seemed to slip away and we soon were on our way back to Carmel, saying goodbye as we drove out the Laguna Seca track. We knew this was a time in our lives that would be talked about and relived again and again as the years went by. We would enjoy one more sumptuous meal in Carmel before we lay down for the night, exhausted from two days of fun but happy that we had been part of this once in a lifetime event.

Sunday morning our Porsches were headed north towards Bend not on winding Porsche roads but on the Freeways that would allow us to do in one day what two days took us on the way down to Carmel.  Ten hours and 601 miles later and Bend was in sight and the experience of Rennsport Reunion IV was now a wonderful memory. Thanks to Tim and Sue Hagner for leading us down and back on this journey and keeping us safe and ticket free.   

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