The Seventh Annual Gumball 3000 Rally crosses the finish line!
‘The People’s Rally’
After 3000 miles of ‘wacky races’ high jinx through 13 countries in just 7 days the seventh annual Gumball 3000 Rally has crossed the finish line in Monte Carlo; trophies and accolades have been presented, and the deck has finally been scrubbed after the party to end all parties on the Gumball Ship! With daily life settling back into a ‘normal’ routine, all 120 cars are now safely tucked up in their garages around the world having a well earned rest!
This years Gumball was like no other. Gone are the days when the Gumball was an underground pursuit enjoyed by an elite few participants, and the public only got to read the stories of their excess and notorious behaviour months later in fashionable lifestyle glossy’s; well this year Gumball came of age! The public were there on hand at every stage of the way, along with global TV networks covering the event live as if it were ‘breaking news’ everytime Daryl Hannah’s pink camouflaged Range Rover pulled into to fill up with bio-diesel! Richard & Judy, Sky News, FOX, ITN, CNN and MTV all clambered to get exclusive’s and literally thousands of fans cheered the cars into every city, village, and fuel station, and from every motorway bridge the whole 3000 miles!
The event kicked off in London with the Global Film Premiere of Sony Pictures ‘6 Days in May’ by Ruben Fleischer, an insight into the 2004 Gumball Rally in Morocco through the eyes of DC Shoes American skateboard legend Rob Dyrdek and his bodyguard Big Black, followed by an exclusive performance by J ay Kay and Jamiroquai at a party that saw VIPs queuing to get in take on a new meaning. Having to call in the police to help with ‘crowd control’ on the red carpet should have been indicator of what was to come, but nobody could have imagined that over 250,000 people were going to attend the start the following afternoon.
As the cars lined up on Waterloo Place, the adrenaline began to flow, and the crowd came in their masses. And what a line up it was…on one hand you could have imagined you were at the Geneva Motor show as the Farboud GT lined up, next to the prototype MB EOS supercar, a 1996 Spectre R42, next to the previously unseen Gumpert Apollo and lime green prototype Lancia Stratos; or that the Le Mans 24 Hour race was about to start as Ferrari after Ferrari impressed onlookers including Enzo’s, an F40, the 550 LM, all sitting next to 3 Pagani Zonda’s, a couple of Porsche Carrera GT’s, McLaren SLR’s and CLK DTM Mercedes, and more Lambo rghini’s than you’d care to count; and on the other hand you could have been in an episode of the ‘Wacky Races’ cartoon as the Ice Cream Van entered by a horror film director, lined up next to a British Army ‘Tank’, next to a Stretch Hummer H2 full of The Cuban Brothers and ‘Soul II Soul’ diva Kym Mazelle fresh from celebrity ‘Fit Club’, Sir Clive’s son with his Sinclair C5 strapped to the top of a Porsche, a 1970s VW Samba ‘split screen’ Campervan complete with nitros injected Porsche engine, next to legendary hard man Dave Courtney OBE with all his gangster cronies posing in front of his Ford F150 Lightning truck, a BMW/Honda hybrid fresh from January’s Paris – Dakar rally, 3 perfectly pink, orange and green camouflaged tuned Subaru Impreza WRX’s entered by DC Shoes, a couple of lonely looking Caterham 7s, the VW Golf GTi polished down to bare metal as piece of ‘living art’ by fashion design guru Mark Eley Kishimoto and his ‘support team’ of ‘supermo del’ polishers and then the Fuel 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T of Richie Warren with the largest car sound system in the world, next to Celebrity Big Brother winner and Happy Mondays legend Bez in his MTV ‘Pimped My Ride’ Chevy Scooby Doo’ styled van complete with ‘base’ vibrating seats and more plasma screens than Circuit City!; Or then again you could have been mistaken for being at the Louis Vuitton Concours d’Elegance, as an award winning 1963 Lola T70 MK3 lined up next to an Aston Martin DB4, next to the Flip skateboard team’s uncharacteristically civilised 1976 Bristol 411 Series 5, next to a 1973 E-Type Jaguar, next to an early Countach, next to…the line up was awe inspiring!
By the time British F1 driver Jenson Button waived the ‘Union Jack’ for Gumball creator Maximillion Cooper to put pedal to the metal in his ‘General Lee’ liveried Ferrari 550 LM the whole of Pall Mall, St. James’s and Piccadilly was a crowd of over a quarter of a millio n screaming fans. With the road submerged a single lane just wide enough for the Gumball cars to crawl through at 2mph opened up, taking 2 hours to set off all 120 amazing and wacky vehicles!
“I can honestly say that the start just blew me away, it was just Nuts!” Maximillion Cooper, Gumball Creator
As the drivers caught their breath, and headed towards the Eurotunnel, the roads were lined with even more hoards of fans hanging from lamp posts, with ‘Go Gumball’ banners draped from motorway bridges; this year the Gumball had exploded!
The 3000 mile route took the drivers, representing 35 nationalities, through 13 countries to end up in Monaco at the Grand Prix. With London setting the tone, a more subdued checkpoint was expected to follow at a beautiful moated chateau in Belgium. Now considering that this checkpoint was literally just a coffee stop on route through the night to Prague, to arrive into another ridiculous crowd, of over 20 ,000 was ludicrous. A 20 mile traffic jam in the middle of the countryside in Belgium at 1 AM with fans requesting autographs off just about every driver, started to make the Gumball seem more like a ‘rock ‘n’ roll’ tour than a car rally! Even the reaction from Gumball’s actual rock star participants confirmed this scenario as being “incredible, out of this world”, Happy Mondays ‘Bez’, said that he never got this reaction with the band “Gumball has become huge!”
Following a rare blast through the autobahn’s of Germany, Prague was reached by morning without incident other than the majority of cars finding themselves racing down an unfinished highway for half an hour before reaching a pile of bricks at one end and a sign saying ‘CLOSED’. With maps being a thing of the past, perhaps this was a small prank by Gumballs satellite navigation system ‘Co-Pilot’, to make sure that everyone was following the ‘Big Brother’ instructions from HQ!
Other than t alk of a new gearbox fitted overnight in a Lotus Esprit, and the eerie jingle of the Ice-Cream vans arrival mid afternoon despite having a top speed of 55mph and only 5mph up hill, this was a night to relax after the humungous first stage; and for the first time Gumball felt slightly overshadowed by the Czech Republics defeat of Canada that evening in the Ice Hockey World Cup!
The following morning news that Bez had had all his ‘pimped up’ car devices including the plasma screens stolen from his Scooby Doo van (“Pay back from a misspent youth”, he said) circled the Chinese whispers en route to Vienna, the first stop; and what a stop that was, instead of a mere flyby for lunch in the Imperial Royal Hofburg Palace, the city was swamped with over 40,000 fans! It took 30 minutes to drive 100 feet, and instead of Gumballers once fearing the reaction of authorities, this year the authorities were out to protect Gumballers from over zealous fans! What a s trange but welcoming turn around.
Back to the rally, and not everything or everyone’s adventure was running to plan, the 1966 American ‘muscle’ Pontiac GTO of full rock stars including The Darkness’s Frankie Poullain, had unwittingly lost their passports somewhere in Prague. Not to be deterred by strict Austrian ‘border guards’ they donned their ‘Elvis suits’ and performed at the border in a painful but successful effort to be let into the country! A road cone had become lodged and sprung a leak under the radiator of Michael Ross’ Bentley Continental GT, before ripping off a bumper only for the Aston Martin Vanquish to swallow it in pursuit!
Upon reaching the Hungaroring race circuit outside Budapest, crowds had again gathered to Formula One capacities, and a few hot laps around the race track from all the cars achieved rapturous applause of fans in the grandstands, with the black and orange McLaren Mercedes SLR of professional driver Oliver Morley achieving the Gumball lap record!
That night Gumball again hit party mode in the stunning location of Budapest’s ancient Turkish Gellert Baths, with an amazing performance by Gumball veterans The Cuban Brothers (this year living it up on the rally in the 888.com Stretch Hummer), with superbabe Caprice impressing all by ‘diving’ 30 feet into the healing waters in her birthday suit!
In fact there seemed to be more female drivers this year than ever before; Caprice was driving with fellow VH1 ‘Surreal Life’ house mate Pepa, of 80’s rap group success Salt ‘n’ Pepa in a beautiful black Porsche Turbo, and with Pepa screaming to “Push it” Caprice obliged to keep up with the front runners, in a battle to beat the likes of supermodel Jodie Kidd in her Lamborghini Murcielago, Gumball boss Julie Brangstrup and photographer Fiona McLeod in their borrowed Ferrari 355 Spider, two girls in a Caterham that had bought the car solely for the rally in a l ast minute bid to get selected, and Kill Bill star Daryl Hannah and world Snowboarding legend Tina Basich (taking part in the Gumball for her second time, promoting her charity ‘Boarding 4 Breast Cancer’) in their tuned up pink Range Rover Vogue. However with the bio-diesel Range Rover in pursuit of B100 fuel rather than the lead, Daryl and Tina tended to keep up the rear of the rally, keeping company with another Gumball veteran and soul diva, the legendary Kym Mazelle, who after taking part in the rally for the past 4 years is still to take her driving licence, and was again happy to be chauffeured around, living large with the Cuban Brothers in the back of the limo!
Day 4 was the Croatian stage, a mere 700 mile leg from Budapest to Dubrovnik, through one of the most picturesque countries in the world, calling in at a serene ‘waterfall’ for lunch before hitting top speeds on the most beautifully finished highways of Europe – 3 lanes wide, and just for Gumballers! Croatia officially named the day ‘Gumball Day’, commemorating the relationship by issuing a ‘Gumball 3000’ postage stamp as a tribute to the ‘freedom of spirit’ and cultural diversity that Gumball brings. Upon arriving into the historic castellated city of Dubrovnik the streets were heaving and Gumballers were permitted to park their cars on display in the city centre where only the Pope and visiting Presidents had previously driven! If any other countries need a lesson in hospitality and working international relations then Croatia should be consulted! After the Mayor of Dubrovnik welcomed Gumballers at a party thrown by the government inside the castle, a ‘parade’ to the boat ensued, for Gumballers to dance the night away en route to Italy.
Off the boat and heading for Sicily, the Gumball Lamborghini ‘Polizei liveried’ Gallardo led the field with Gumball’s official Polizei Ambassador Herr Roy on the loud hailer, with diplo matic lights flashing to clear a path through the traffic jams….passing the ‘real’ Italian Police on the road side was a sight not to be missed, after all, there is only one official Lamborghini Police car in Italy, “isn’t there?” Bewildered, the Italian Police saluted and Gumball marched on to Taormina. By now numerous cars were developing leaks, overheating and the sight of another Gumballer on the roadside with the bonnet up was not unfamiliar; the ‘Caterham girls’ appeared to be out with an electrical problem.
Continuing the tour of Europe’s most beautiful locations, Taormina in Sicily must be right up there with the best in the world, with its 1st Century BC Amphitheatre and twisting lanes and piazza’s immortalised in Francis Ford Coppola’s ‘Godfather’. Gumballers chilled out for a day on the terrace, sipping champagne under the watchful eye of the smouldering volcanic Mt. Etna!
Ferrari officials attended the party, presenting a trophy to Maximillion Cooper as a thank you for bring the Gumball to Italian soil, and in particular to the birthplace of the ‘Targa Florio’ road race of the last century. The following morning, all 120 cars, some now a little wounded and battle scarred followed a stunning road out of Sicily taking in the route that the Targa Florio used in its Porsche and Ferrari heyday of the late 1960s.
Back on mainland and heading northbound for Rome the happy sight of the ‘Caterham girls’ back on the road after having spent the night fixing their ‘one week old’ car paid off, although as the heavens opened the thought of them driving that little open top sports car couldn’t be easy! The rain played around with a few participants to keep everyone knowing who’s boss, sending a Lamborghini Murcielago to tango with the central reservation, a 355 Spider to pirouette 360’s and a 1970 Buick Riviera GS to tussle with a road sign. Eerie as it sounds the jingle of the Ice -Cream van driven by horror film maker Matthew Devlin appeared just in time with the familiar “Hi Kids, want an ice-cream, jump in!!?”
With Rome playing host to the Premiere of Star Wars Episode III and the Gumball on the same night, someone had the bright idea to combine the parties; the evening ran into the morning with Darth Vader dancing hand in hand with Caprice, and Nuts Magazine babe Kayleigh Pearson gyrating with Jabba the Hutt, whilst Chewbacca arm-wrestled legendary body guard ‘Big Black’!
As the cars left Rome for the final leg to Florence for lunch before a scheduled 8PM finish in Monaco’s Casino Square, the engine of the ‘Caterham girls’ little car expired once and for all, the Elvis suited drivers of the 66 Pontiac GTO took to a flat bed trailer in a quest to make it to the finish line whatever the cost, and the Ferrari 355 Spider of Gumball boss Julie Brangstrup and Fiona McLeod gave up for the umpteenth time in a petrol sta tion with a flat battery! Unbeknown to them the borrowed car had the largest sound system of any Ferrari in the world complete with a custom body 2 inches wider to house the speakers. After struggling to open the boot, numerous Gumballers and Italian Police came to their rescue and fixed the ‘problem’ whilst Fiona encouraged them to strip naked and wash the car for her photography portfolio!
As front runners in the McLaren Mercedes SLR, CLK DTM, Porsche Carerra GT, Bentley Continental and Herr Roy’s BMW M5 approached Monaco vying for position and self satisfaction, others were still en route to Florence, taking it easy and still playing hi-jinx on the open roads, with Intersection Magazine art director Yorgo Tloupas challenging pro skateboarder Rob Dyrdek and DC Shoes designer Damon Way, along with Flip’s ‘vert’ skateboard champion Rune Glifberg to a slalom competition of the perfectly positioned road cones; the pink and black camouflaged Subar u left a little of its bumper on the Tuscan highway as the Datsun liveried Nissan 350Z of Yorgo shimmied past!
Upon entering the 2 mile section of France between Italy and Monaco, the French paid tribute to the Gumball by pulling every car over for as annoying amount of time as they could, sadly paying havoc to the scheduled timing of crossing the Casino Square finish line, where the Monaco Police were equally not prepared for Gumballers spraying champagne over their perfectly manicured streets (our secret device to slow Schumacher down!), although you can vaguely understand the French police’s reasoning for questioning the situation when 14 cars happened to pass them all displaying the same number plate reading ‘GUMBALL’; all from different countries and all legal I may add. So after the last car crossed the imaginary finish line Casino Square was ‘closed down’ and cars embarked on the final challenge to find the Monaco Football Stadium to park th eir car. The Gumball was over for another year, and the delirious emotions of being more tired than you can imagine, having lived off adrenaline for the past week started to kick in! The Cuban Brothers break danced the night away as the Gumball ship played host to a weekend of non-stop partying!
DJs James Stephenson and ‘The Cuban Brothers’ Clemente Rodriguez spinned the tunes whilst the trophies were presented by Maximillion and Julie to as follows:
Spirit of the Gumball – Kathryn Huddart & Suzanne Bellarby – 1990 Caterham 7
DC Shoes Style Award – ‘Elvis suited’ rock star car of Frankie Poullain (The Darkness), Tim Patterson, Christian Drew & Brendan
Topp – 1966 Pontiac GTO
Meguiars Cleanest Car Award – Mark Eley and Jason MacLean – VW ‘Eley Kishimoto’ – 2005 Golf GTi
DC Shoes Honorary Award – Karta Healy (as the one person other than Maximillion to have participated in the Gumball every year since its inauguration in 1999) an d his co-driver Yorgo Tloupas – 2004 Nissan 350Z
Co-Pilot Navigation Award – Matthew Devlin – Ice Cream van
Unity VIP ‘Best Quote’ Award – Big Black and Rob Dyrdek – 2005 Subaru Impreza WRX “Don’t tell me the prices, I’m f**kin rich, just bring me what I want!”
Gumball Custom Car Award – Phil Wright, Dave Carrington, James Melhuish, and Stuart Bryden – 1960 VW Split Screen 23
window Samba Camper van w/Porsche engine
Gumball Most Beautiful Car – Lola T70 Mk 3 – David Harvey & Jillian Tuffrey
Gumball Driver Award – Kym Mazelle – A passenger in the 2005 Stretch Hummer H2
Gumball Hard Men Award – Dave Courtney OBE & Andrew Gardner – 2004 Ford F150 Lightning
This years Gumball was the biggest success yet, apart from Caprice complaining she didn’t win any trophy, especially for entertaining ‘all the boys’ as she put it! With the unprecedented positive support of every country en route the Gumball made great international relations, putti ng itself on the map as an Annual event that’s here to stay. What Gumball may have lost in its ‘notorious underground’ appeal, it’s certainly made up for in being an event that everyone can enjoy! With over 1 million fans taking to the streets across Europe to cheer the cars on….and everyone feeling like a rock star – who wants it to be secret again!
Gumball would like to thank all of its sponsors, including DC Shoes, Co-Pilot (T-Mobile & Microsoft), 888.com, Extreme Drinks, Von Zipper, Meguiars, Alpine Stars, Famous Stars & Straps, Top Trumps, Hudson’s of London, Unity VIP, Sony Pictures, Dunkin Donuts, Coke Cola Classic, Mission Media, Racoon, and Everyman Testicular Cancer Research that we continue to raise awareness for.
In 2006 the ‘Gumball 3000’ Rally will return with another 3000 mile adventure; crossing the worlds 3 most powerful Continents of Europe, Asia and North America in just 8 days, in a quest to bring the cultures o f the world ‘together’ under the ‘colourful’, ‘peaceful’ and ‘free spirited’ environment of the Gumball!
Starting in London at the beginning of May and driving across mainland Europe to Istanbul, all cars will then get flown to Beijing, where they’ll embark upon a ground breaking journey from China into North Korea to its capital city Pyongyang, before crossing the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) into South Korea, having achieved unprecedented permission from the DPRK since the signing of the Armistice with the United States in 1953. From South Korea the rally will head to Tokyo before flying all cars to the USA, for the final stage from Las Vegas to Los Angeles.
“And with 4 live ‘Gumball Music Concerts’ en route promoting ‘World Peace’ in London, Beijing, Pyongyang and Los Angeles, and a Hollywood feature film in production the Gumball will continue to bring action, adventure, humour and goodwill and a little notoriety to the Nations and people of the World!”
“Gumball’s not a rally; it’s a way of life!”….. Stay tuned for up to the minute news on www.gumball3000.com
For celebrity interviews, photographs, and information please contact the Gumball HQ on T: 00 44 (0) 20 7229 5865
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