After the very long first leg of the 8th
Gumball 3000 Rally took the competitors
from the Pall Mall, London startline on
a dash through Europe via a midnight
checkpoint at a Belgian Châteaux and on
to Budapest yesterday teatime, today saw
the surviving crews heading out of the
Hungarian capital city very early on to
a make a lunchtime rendezvous in
This last dash down Eastern Europe sees the end of the first leg, which has comprised a route of 1,000 miles undertaken since the London start late on Sunday afternoon. The 'Gumballers' arrived at Belgrade City Hall in the Serbian capital around lunchtime for a reception and parade, and now begins the major logistical task of packing all the cars and equipment up onto a fleet of waiting cargo planes and flying them on to Phuket in Thailand for the start of leg 2 on Thursday, also 1,000 miles in duration, which will see them dash southwards on a route that will take them through the rainforests from the popular holiday resort of Phuket to the Thai capital city Bangkok where the government will host an official reception for the tired crews.
Of the original entry of 120, a number are already out already with several cars, including a Rolls-Royce Phantom and Dodger Viper crashing spectacularly, while a further number of cars have been confiscated by the European police forces for speeding offences. Italian sportscars are well represented with also fifty Ferrari and Lamborghini mounted crews taking part. Cars in action on the rally this year include the Ferrari F430 Coupé and Spider; 360 Coupé, Spider and Challenge Stradale; F355; 612 Scaglietti (including one driver by the rally's organiser Maximillion Cooper); F50 and from Lamborghini the current crop of production models are all represented: the Gallardo, Murciélago Coupé and Roadster, as well the fearsome Diablo and the massive LM002 offroader.
The Gumball 3000 Rally - History
In 1933 legendary motorcycle racer Mister Baker, had crossed the United States coast-to-coast in 54 hours, earning him the nickname Cannonball. He had had an annual race ever since 1914 (when he needed 11 days), and bettered his time ever since. In the 1970s motor journalist Brock Yates of Car and Driver magazine had started the Cannonball Baker Sea To Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash in honor of Cannonball. The first race was held on April 1, 1971, and first prize was a Gumball dispenser. The first race was won by Yates and Dan Gurney, former race driver for Formula One and Le Mans, who drove a Ferrari. They needed about 35 hours from New York to L.A. These events inspired the 1976 movies Gumball Rally and Cannonball, as well as sequels such as Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run 2, etc. The original Gumball race was finally cancelled in 1979.
Drawing inspiration from the 1970s race, the movies and Smokey and the Bandit, Maximillion Cooper started the modern edition of the game in the summer of 1999 as the Gumball 3000 road rally. Gumball 3000 has since gained the reputation as road race for the modern era and has captured the attention. With celebrity participation the public have been bought closer to the race by witnessing it on everything from MTV to reading about it in Vanity Fair.
1999: The original race featured 50 among Cooper’s friends, and went from London, to Rimini, Italy and back, passing through Paris, to the beautiful Chateau d’Esclimont, before lapping the Le Mans race circuit, followed by a checkpoint at the Mas du Clos Ferrari Museum, then Monaco Grand Prix circuit in Monaco, the Ferrari Factory in Modena, the Ambras Palace in Austria and the Hockenheim Grand Prix Circuit in Germany before returning to London to cross the finish line on Park Lane. The winner drove a 1963 Jaguar E-Type. Other drivers included actors Billy Zane in a 1964 Aston Martin DB5, Jason Priestley in a Lotus Esprit V8 and Dannii Minogue in a Porsche Boxster.
The second race
was held in May 2000. The race started
at Marble Arch in London and went to
Stansted Airport, where all cars and
people were airlifted to a private
airport in Spain. The race then
continued through Bilbao, Cannes, Milan,
Hotel Bühlerhöhe Castle near Baden-Baden
(Germany), the Nürburgring GP circuit
and Hamburg before returning to London.