A few weeks ago I returned to the office after a hard day on the road to find an unusual black envelope embossed with the Gumball 3000 logo. I buy lots of Gumball 3000 clothing, probably more than is acceptable (at least to my wife!), so my initial thought was that it was probably a catalogue. It didn’t even cross my mind that it might contain this …
Immediately, lots of questions sprang to mind – what will I drive?, how will I wrap the car?, should I take t-shirts and stickers to give away?, what will the team be called?, will we be able to raise some money for charity as we go? and, of course, how will I manage to take the time off work? A few weeks before a friend of mine, Mr @officialDubRun, also received an invite. I wondered, could we be a team? The options seemed limitless. Strangely, I did not give one thought to how I was going to fund the trip of a life time. Suddenly I crashed back to reality when I started to add up the entry fee, the cost of a wrap, insurance, car transport etc. Those t-shirts and stickers might have to go on the back burner! And then I remembered that I only have one car and it is neither a supercar nor quirky. On the plus side, the TPL workhorse would, however, be a comfortable way to travel 3000 miles.
When asked on Instagram by Big Angry, criminal defence lawyer, Judge and Gumball 3000 alumni “Well? You going?” I responded “I would be crazy not to try and make it happen – it has been an ambition for so long …” This may be easier said then done.
After my initial excitement, I started to wonder why I had actually been invited to enter. I have never filled in an application or even made any kind of enquiry. Bizarrely, it was as a result of the power of social media. The good folks at Gumball 3000 reached out to me due to my numerous and, some might say, often prolix tweets, discussions and posts about Gumball 3000. It has probably been my only consistent topic of conversation since 2002.
So, one of my long held ambitions is dangling in front of my nose, ready to be grabbed but there is still one huge hurdle to overcome before you even get to the car and the wrap … the entry fee! I used to think the sale of a kidney on the black market might be enough but it is clear now that I may also need to sell an arm and a leg. It has made me think about why I wish to complete Gumball3000 rather than any other rally. Why is Gumball 3000 so special?
It all started for me when I was studying my Diploma in Legal Practice and my Norwegian flat mate introduced me to this video. I then carried out my own research and a year or so later I watched this clip. Who wouldn’t want an adventure and stories like these?
From then on I was hooked. I have an interest in cars, street art and skateboarding and Gumball 3000 just seems to tick plenty of boxes for me. Yeah, there may be great parties, superstars, hyper cars and billionaires but, for me anyway, the endurance driving is the real draw. It is maybe less hard-core now than it once was but even so my general impression is that it brings everyone down to the same level, striving for the same goal. After all,”it’s not a race, it’s a rally”. I would love to be able to be involved in some way allowing me taking photos, run social media and getting content out about the journey. It would be really different from the day to day work of the TPL.
Over the years I have interacted on Twitter with guys like Sam Moores, Team68, MrJWW and Big Angry who have been kind enough to interact and fuel my goal. Now that I have the invite I need to find a way to raise the funds and make the ambition happen. Sponsorship might be an option. You are only allowed one personal sponsor and there is a very small part of the car left to carry any logo. As my cousin, owner of advertising agency Hats + Rabbits, said “… logo placement is going to be a really tough sell … in exchange for social media … unless you’re famous”.
Who knows – maybe I just might make it to the star grid in 2017. Or maybe not. Either way, I will still follow the progress and look forward to watching the participants’ social media updates. Now, time to set up an e-bay account to sell those limbs …
In the meantime here are some photos I took when Gumball 3000 passed through Scotland in 2014 and 2016.
Gumball 3000 2014 – Miami to Ibiza – Prestwick Airport
Gumabll 3000 2016 – Dublin to Bucharest – M77 Ayrshire