SCD members Rob and Molly Taylor joined our Porsche GT Tour for a second year. Here’s Molly review of the tour from the co-pilot’s seat.
Written by: Molly Taylor
If you think the Ponderosa Cafe at the top of the Horseshoe Pass sounds like the most Wild West setting in the UK, then imagine the scene with a new bunch of cowboys in town — enter the Porsche GT drivers led by Sheriff Adam and Deputy Jonty. I really hope the other lucky cafe customers appreciated the spectacular sight and sound of 15 Porsche GT cars pulling out of the car park led by the SCD V8 BMW M3.
Our route initially took us north on the fine Welsh roads to Ruthin before seeking out the B road routes to Bala. From there to Lake Vyrnwy, the road is very narrow in places but it’s worth the close encounters for the photo opportunities! Here, and throughout the tour, the media team, Riad and Dan, did an amazing job racing ahead in the Golf R whenever possible to be waiting to photograph and film the pack as we passed.
Lake Vyrnwy was already packed with tourists, this being August and British breaks being more popular than usual, so from the lakeside we headed up to the lovely Lake Vyrnwy Hotel. Fortunately, an outside bar and facilities had recently been installed there for non- residents and we managed to squeeze into the busy car park. Incidentally it’s a great place to stay for a room with a view and some fabulous B roads to get there.
Once rested and refreshed, we took a different route back to Bala and onto a further tour of Snowdonia National Park. Mere words cannot do justice to North Wales’ spectacular scenery so I’ll let the photos do the talking! Our next stop was at the Riverside Chocolate House at Pentrefoelas for a little energy boost before the last leg of day one of the tour. I recognised some familiar Evo road test routes on this section and probably wasn’t the only one to wonder if the pair of new Aston Martin Vantages travelling at speed in the opposite direction might have been on test in the hands of someone interesting (and whether they thought the same of us!).
The SCD exclusive-use residence for the night (as on last year’s tour) was the lovely Penmaenuchaf Hall Hotel, a Victorian country house located above the Mawddach Estuary, hidden away at the top of a narrow winding drive. I imagine there’s an air of calm serenity there under normal circumstances but not quite so much so once the GT Tour arrived! We had a beautiful room with tasteful soft furnishings and a fabulous view, not just because of the rainbow of Porsches below our windows. This was our time to slow down and enjoy the company of old friends and new over a couple of drinks and a sumptuous dinner. Cheers!
You will see from the photographs that both 997 and 991 GT3s and RSs were well represented, along with a Cayman GT4 and a couple of Boxster Spyders. One cheeky GT owner (and son) turned up in their 992 Turbo S Cabriolet with some lame excuse for not bringing a GT car — they’ve been getting through a lot of tyres recently apparently! The cheeky one then proceeded to demonstrate just how fast the Turbo S is by whooshing past most of us!
Conrad and Royd were both in their Viper Green 991 GT3 RSs and there was Luke in an Ultraviolet example of the same generation. Max had replaced his Aston Martin with a GT4 just in time to make it back into the ‘club’. There were three Weissach Pack GT3 RSs; ours, Nigel’s in PTS Jet Green Metallic and a Lizard Green example — what a great first SCD trip for that owner to take! I had to tell Nigel that his beautifully specced Jet Green Metallic RS WP was the inspiration behind ours changing colour! Since appearing in the last issue of SCD magazine, our GT Silver car has had a liquid wrap done by Litchfield Motors and is now looking beautiful with its curves enhanced in Blu Corsa — a Ferrari colour so apologies to the Porsche purists!
A car we were particularly excited to see in the metal was Myles’ 997 GT3 RS, the 4.0 version with the last of the Mezger engines. Have a look at Chris Harris on Cars’ video, “Last Drive Before Hibernation”. Rob and I have watched it many, many times and it is that exact car he owned, the one that Mr Harris let slip through his fingers long before he made it big at Top Gear. It was fantastic to see it being used properly, to chase it and be chased by it!
The forecast on the second morning was awful — high winds and loads of rain. Everyone debated over breakfast what was best to do and I’m happy to report that most elected to carry on.
One lovely thing about a visit to Wales is appreciating the effort they put into keeping the tarmac in great condition. Unfortunately on this occasion, most of it looked more like a lake, a stream or a river, but high-speed testing was carried out nonetheless and it turns out that Cup 2 tyres aren’t so bad in the wet after all! Also it’s fair to say that moody weather makes for the most dramatic photographs. I’m so glad we didn’t opt out. It’s always nice to find previously unexplored routes and the Caerwen Reservoir viewpoint was a new destination for us that morning. Nice one SCD. Did you organise that rainbow over the route down the other side too?!
With a plan slightly altered from the original, we had a great morning’s drive ending at Norbar near Barmouth — top notch pizzas and burgers with a view of the coast. There was plenty to talk about over lunch and a lot more banter than the previous day, but that’s how it is when you’ve lived through an adventure together!
The planned afternoon trip to the seaside for ice cream and doughnuts was eventually cancelled on account of the rubbish weather, but fingers crossed for returning again for that particular pleasure next year.
This feature was taken from issue 37 of the SCD magazine, you can get your own copy using the button below.