ELKINS — More than 75 Porsche sports cars from 12 different states cruised the streets of West Virginia this past weekend as the Ruchlos Rally II made its second visit to the Mountain State, including a sweep into Randolph County.
The annual event is a gathering of like-minded Porsche souls with a wicked hunger to explore the best roads east of the Mississippi, according to the Rucholos website.
This year’s field trip began Thursday when the group arrived at Snowshoe Mountain. On Friday, they ventured to Elkins, where they spent most of the afternoon, having lunch at the Smoke on the Water restaurant.
“We are excited to be out here enjoying the West Virginia countryside and roads. It’s really nice here.” Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s Tony Sottile told The Inter-Mountain. “We have people in our group from the East Coast to the Midwest. We have quite a few people from the Milwakeee, Chicago and Minneapolis areas, along with a bunch from Philadelphia.”
The rally, intended only for Porsche automobiles, consists mainly of vintage cars.
“The rally is only for one brand and that is Porsche”, said Sotile. “Everyone here really loves their car and this is the second year in a row that we have contested this rally in West Virginia. We have a great group of guys and we’ve made a lot of friends over the years by attending events like this.”
Elliott Dem, from Chicago, Illinois, said most of the drivers in the group work on their own cars, and many of them have spent years building their vehicles and getting them roadworthy.
“Most of the guys here bought non-roadworthy cars and put them back together,” said dem “The camaraderie that comes from trying to keep old cars going is pretty strong. The quality of the people I’ve met and the friendships I’ve made as a result are incredible.”
Dem said he’d dreamed of owning a Porsche since he was a little kid and he’s glad to finally have one.
“I wanted one of these cars when I was 8 years old.” he said. “Then when I turned 40, I finally got one.”
The group headed into the state’s New River Gorge portion on Saturday before departing West Virginia on Sunday. Sottile said there is no precise plan that drivers have to stick to as they depart from where they are every day.
“We don’t want Congolese cars in a row, we want people to just go out and dare,” he said. “We want people to be able to stop where they want. When they see a memorial or a sign of something, we want them to see it. We’re putting things on the map and giving people the choice to drive around and see what they want to see.”
Sottile said the roads of West Virginia present a distinct change of pace for many drivers participating in the rally.
“Most of these people, especially the Chicago guys, have to drive an hour just to see a curve instead of a corner.” said Sotile. “When you get out of here, there aren’t many straights on the roads. We love coming to West Virginia.”
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