Ordos Drive 2011
Ever since the Club started to organise its first driving trip from Hong Kong to Shanghai back in 2005, five more Mainland Drives, namely three Shanghai Drives and two Chengdu Drives were successfully organised in the years that follow. Our members thoroughly enjoyed each of them. Not only did they have endless opportunities to explore the driving dynamics of their Porsches in China and on the Shanghai and Chengdu Circuits, they can always rest assured that something new and exciting will be expected in the year to come. Against such positive feedbacks, this year, in early October, the Club once again broke new ground in organising the inaugural drive to Ordos in Inner Mongolia.
The Drive took place between 1st October (Saturday) and 6th October (Thursday). Members flew to Wuhan (武漢) to attend a charity party before heading to Xian (西安), then Ordos (鄂爾多斯), before, finally, spending a full day at the Ordos International Circuit. An overwhelming 50 Porsches participated in this year’s event, represented, as always, by a full range of Porsches, including, a 997 GT2 RS, several Mk II 997 GT3s, Turbos, Carreras, and Caymans etc. Interestingly, of all the China Drives, this year’s drive was the shortest in terms of distance driven, but that did not mean it was short on excitement or fun—the road was smooth, scenery was beautiful, circuit was challenging and there was ample sightseeing opportunity!!
Day 1: Participants gathered at the Hong Kong International Airport and together flew to Wuhan to attend a charity party at the Wuhan Tiandi—a residential and retail development of Shui On Land Limited located in the heart of Wuhan. It had been two years ago since members last went to Wuhan, the area of which they last saw was now completely finished with all the shops and restaurants opened. The charity party, however, was held at the adjacent site which would be the next phase of the development. A huge stage was set up where a band played throughout the night. Tents were set up on both sides, with one side displaying several of the members’ Porsches and the other side selling Porsche Club merchandise. The highlight of the evening was the charity auction. A number of precious items, including, model cars and helmets autographed by Darryl O’Young were available for auction. Bidding was intense with one of the model cars selling for over RMB10,000! Proceeds from the auction, together with those from the sale of Club merchandise, were all for the benefit of various organisations in Wuhan. The party finished before 9 p.m., giving members plenty of time to relax before calling it a day.
Day 2: The first day of driving was about 750 km. Participants started early but unfortunately it was drizzling. The rain never got heavy but it failed to stop either, which was enough to keep the road damp and drivers weary. Unfortunately, despite the much reduced speed, the partners in crime of the damp roads and semi-slick tires were enough to cause two accidents. Due to the bad weather, despite the early start, it was after dark when the participants finally arrived at their hotel in Xian. After a tiresome day of driving, all the participants were happy to enjoy an early and relaxing dinner at the hotel.
Day 3: This day was the eagerly anticipated visit to the Terracotta Warriors Museum, where many members had never visited before. The museum was approximately an hour away by coach. Throughout the coach ride, the tour guide was continuously giving members background information on the Museum and Xian. He was really giving Arthur a run for his money for non-stop entertainment!! However, the coach was soon stuck in extremely heavy traffic, a sudden awakening that it was the National Holiday week. Eventually, members managed to enter the Museum and saw the beautiful, yet breath-taking sights of the terracotta warriors. The sight of the throngs of tourists in the Museum was also quite a scene! Members really had to fight and squeeze their way through in order to get a closer look at the warriors!!
It was about 2 p.m. when members left the Museum. Once again, the coaches were stuck in traffic and were hardly moving. Three members from one of the coaches then decided to get out and run back inside the Museum to buy food from KFC for everybody on that coach. However, not long after they left, the coaches started moving, albeit slowly. There was a long queue at KFC and it was at least another 20 minutes before the three of them finished buying. By then, the bus had moved much further ahead and around a bend. Members on the coach telephoned those three to alert them of the coach’s location. The three of them kept running and was finally able to catch up with the coach before the traffic completely cleared out. The three of them received a big round of appreciative applause when they finally got on the bus with handfuls of KFC chicken wings!!
Lunch was at a nearby restaurant serving local cuisine. What’s of interest was that midway through lunch, several ladies started bringing out and showcasing certain Chinese paintings for sale. The paintings were of decent quality and one of our members was interested and started to buy a piece. Once they made the first sale, the ladies started to bring out even more paintings, the size of which progressively got larger with the biggest ones almost as wide as the entire wall but selling only for RMB300!!
After lunch it was a quick visit to the ancient city wall in the heart of Xian. It was after 7 p.m. when they got back to the hotel. Even though there was no driving, members felt just as exhaustive after a long day with lots of walking. Although no official group dinner was planned, many members decided to get together and tried out some delicious local cuisine at nearby restaurants.
Day 4: Ordos is about another 750 km away from Xian. After the previous rain-free day, participants were dismayed to find that it was drizzling again. Despite the extra cautiousness, three additional cars equipped with semi-slick tires were involved in accidents; this goes to show that semi-slick tires are simply not suitable for long road trips, in particular, if weather conditions are unpredictable. The rain eventually stopped around noon and participants had a much more relaxing drive thereafter.
Interestingly, some participants stopped at a brand new service station, which was much more spacious and cleaner than the typical service stations along the highway in China. Even the food there was delicious. Hopefully, we will see more service stations like that in the future!! Participants arrived at the Ordos International Circuit around 6:30 p.m. After all the cars were securely parked in the pits, coaches took the participants directly to the restaurant for dinner.
Day 5: Members were all keen to experience for the first time the 3.715 km Ordos Circuit. Its 18 corners were very challenging for the members, with some struggling to remember the different corners, whilst others lamenting that they were getting dizzy after a few laps with all the turnings!! Turns 1 and 2, and turns 4 and 5 are particularly tricky as the turns get progressively tighter and tighter and the driver is expected to downshift smoothly in the middle of the turns. Then there are Turns 14 and 15 where the driver is charging downhill through a large right hand bend, but at the same time, car balance has to be maintained in preparation for the immediate left turn. Despite the technicality of the corners, all participants enjoyed the challenge; more importantly, no accident happened throughout the day. Time flew and before anyone realised, it was time to leave. To cap off a very satisfying day, members savoured a delicious Mongolian feast entertained by dancers dressed in traditional costumes.
Day 6: Some members departed in the morning but the majority of them stayed behind to join a tour to the Xiangshawan Desert (响沙湾), a tourist attraction in the Gobi Desert. Xiangshawan was so named because of its ‘singing sands gorge’. The place is organised like a theme park, with attractions like sand buggies, rope sliding, camel rides, sand sculptures and members’ favourite—a slide down a 90 meter, 45 degree dune, sitting on a little wooden plank!! After lunch there, a coach took the participants to the Ordos airport to await their late afternoon flight back to Hong Kong, concluding an adventurous and memorable Ordos Drive.
If any participant would like to refresh some of these very memorable and precious moments and lovely scenes, you may be delighted to know that the Club’s official photographer had taken over a thousand pictures during the entire Drive and had saved them in a set of two CDs. If you are interested in securing a set, please contact Ms. Janice Wong on 2336 1316 for more information.
Or click "here" to see more photos.