Dreaming of a Rally - The 2017 Okanagan Dream Rally
The Okanagan region of British Columbia is slowly becoming known for more than its wine and dine menu’s, beautiful views, and vast lakes. It’s becoming a central hub for automotive enthusiasts of all kinds due to its unique setting, winding roads, and long hot summers. One of the staple events of the Kelowna Car Culture is the August Motorcars Dream Rally.
Each year, August Motorcars, a luxury dealership located in the heart of the Okanagan, host’s an amazing event, for an even better reason. August pairs up with Autism Okanagan, KidSport and the Central Okanagan Hospice Association to let a handful of special kids co-pilot the most exclusive super cars the Okanagan has to offer! The Rally departs downtown Kelowna, and winds its way through some of the best highways in Canada, following the fine line where the lakes meet the mountains to Penticton and back.
My day started with my own little personal Dream Rally. Waking up early has never been something I’ve been good at, but for a cause like this, and with a car like mine, I had no choice but to wake up before the sun and cruise my way into town for the start of the event! I met up with Jordan Wickett, a fellow Firing Order Journalist, and we immediately went to work photographing the vehicles with a warm Kelowna sunrise revving everyone up.
In the early stages of the event I noticed two major themes among the kids, both of which I found to be equally incredible. The first being the kid’s faces when they saw the cars they were about the co-pilot. They literally lit up. It was smiles and high fives all around even before we departed as the kids talked about which was their favorite, the engine they liked best, and why they thought their car was better than everyone else’s. The other thing that really caught my attention, was the dull roar over the city as the super cars pulled into their spots. On my walk from my parking spot to the Rally starting line I was passed by not only a slammed A7 from Mirror Image Customs, but one of my all time dream cars, a Mid 80’s Ferrari 328 GTS. As I started shooting the automotive artwork (for lack of a better term) you could still hear the cars coming to the starting line. Vipers, Mclarens, Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches. All of them. All in one space, and all ready to wind their way through a beautiful Okanagan afternoon!
I was paired up with a guy n’ gal for the majority of the cruise in an SRT8 Jeep, labeled as one of the official camera vehicles; which, for a couple of randoms who walked into August only days before the rally to try and snag a front row spot, was an absolute honor. My Job was to collect as many rolling shots of the vehicles as they passed us. We jumped ahead of the pack and cruised towards Penticton, until we found a sneaky little pull out on the highway where I could grab some shots as the Rally blasted past us! The media helicopter (yes, you read that right, there was a helicopter) flew just over our heads as I was set up on the side of the road waiting for the vehicles to start flying past! The sound of one super car is enough to get my gears turning, so you can image what the sound of 200+ supercars did to what used to be a clean pair of pants.... After about half of the cars ran past us at the pull out, we jumped back in the SRT to capture a few more shots of the cars on their way to Penticton. I’ve got to say that hanging out the window of any vehicle, taking photos of any other vehicle is rush, let alone shooting cars that I’ve grown up with posters of on my walls!
When we arrived in Penticton the kids headed down to the beach to watch a Pro Wakeboarder show off some tricks just off the sand, and enjoy some lunch with their drivers! While everyone was down at the beach hanging out, I took a mozy through the parked cars, and took a look at what the monsters look like when they’re sleeping. Now, I’ve always known that there is just a different level of quality built into these cars. But up close and personal it is exceptional. The tiny little stitching, the embedded “firing order” on the Diablo VT, and all the other goodies that you get just by purchasing one of these works of art. I’ve always grown up building my cars, and although I may still be able to pick quality parts, and put together something cool, there is something about hand made seats and dash inserts in an Aston Martin from the factory that is absolutely exquisite. All of the other opportunities I’ve had around vehicles like this have been at shows like SEMA, or on a race track where you don’t have much time to appreciate all of the stock features that come loaded into these cars. The way the center console sits in a 570S is incredible. Silly things like that are what I was looking at while everyone was over scarfing their lunch down!
For the ride home we started off at the front of the pack, and slowly let the supercars pass us, so we could get a few more rollers before the after party at August Motorcars! One of my all time favorite things is the sounds of these cars. For whatever reason it is both calming and exhilarating at the same time. Being out the window with the camera meant that I had some control over what the cars were doing in front of my lens, but once I had captured the image I needed, it was fun to get them out of the way in the “quickest” way possible. Essentially I would put a hand up to my ear as if I couldn’t hear the giant V12 next to me, and watch their drivers downshift from 5th or 4th to about 3rd. Somewhere between that gear change, most of the drivers would take their right foot and plant it firmly on the floor board with only the accelerator pedal between them. I spent most of the ride from Penticton to Kelowna with my top half of my body out the window watching with just as much excitement as the kids who were riding shotgun!
All in all, I completely understand why they dub this event THE Dream Rally. There is something truly beautiful about these vehicles, the ones we hung as posters, the ones we played with as hotwheels, and the ones we just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to surround ourselves with. The smiles the kids had on their faces showed such an obvious excitement for something that could have been completely new to them; After all, I don’t think they were all the die hard car people we are. I guess it’s true what they say about us car guys though; We never stop playing with toys. They just become more expensive.