Gumball 3000 Fever Returns to Pall Mall..Vrooooom!

07/05/2010

Gumball 3000 Fever Returns to Pall Mall - Part 1&2

Part 1.  Gumball fever returned to London's Pall Mall on 1st May where princelings of the motor racing world including sportsmen, celebrities and enthusiasts converged to participate in the 3000 mile, 8 day high-octane drive finishing in Times Square NYC.  Gumball 3000 is one of the most exciting international rallies founded and created by talented entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper whose silver Morgan Aero was at the head of the car Rally line-up. 

A great spectacle in Pall Mall of around 150 cars stretched from the IOD to the ‘Start' point close to St. James's Palace where keen crowds enjoyed viewing a diverse display of the most expensive customised coveted toys for big boys.  Shimmering in the sunshine were super sports cars, luxury limousines, heavy-duty intimidators and magnificent, aerodynamic models a sheer joy to behold.  Oh, and jazzy Jezebel was back, hot under the bonnet...the car I mean!  A good-looking Bugatti V caught our attention too, cars pink and blue in every hue.  Also seen was a billowing batmobile and what resembled a gigantic butterfly on wheels with a batty skateboard trailing behind it as depicted in my photos.

Earlier in the morning my daughter Gina and I had gone to St. Martins Hotel to collect our wrist bands for official coverage of the Gumball event where we'd met some of the Rally drivers.  At the hotel I met Nassim a helpful friendly fashion designer who introduced us to drivers relaxing, chilling ‘n chatting.  I interviewed a few of the following daredevils who enjoy the sensation of speed and putting their foot down on the accelerator:
Michel Pitzner from Denmark 1st time at Gumball said he was going to enjoy driving fast when possible in his black 599 Ferrari and then we met his co-driver amusingly named ‘Mads' who's in the jewellery trade.  Standing in the same group was Bart driving a black Porsche 911 at his 1st Gumball and, from Italy colourful characters Caglio and Pansere looked good in their ‘Flower Power' T shirts, they'd be driving a bespoke ‘Flower Power' white Porsche 911 turbo also their 1st Gumball.

I then recognized and was pleased to see again Antonio Pardo an Italian whom I'd spoken to in London at the 2007 Gumball - he'd come all the way from Venezuela S. America and was driving a Ferrari F430 red McLaren, a skilful driver this being his 4th Gumball.
Big, jolly man Christian from Vienna Austria his 2nd Gumball told us he was arrested for speeding in Texas last year when partaking in the ‘Coast to Coast' rally and he'd be driving his black Lamborghini confidently no doubt.

First time Gumballer Sergey from Ukraine Russia in a red outfit said though he'd participated in "old car" rallies he was looking forward to speeding in his two tone black/bordeaux Ferrari 612.

From St. Martins Hotel we walked to Pall Mall and entered the Gumball car pens and while Gina and I were admiring cars galore we came across the stylish mother and son team Josephine and John Barry both kitted out in blue attire matching their lovely baby blue Porsche with the ‘FBI' plates.  This, their 3rd Gumball and in fact John B immediately recognized me as I'd previously met them in 2007 alongside their white Bentley - it was a pleasure seeing them again.  The growing excitement was felt  all around us as determined drivers made last minute adjustments to their treasured cars...

© Part 1 and Photos by Amita Chatterji - Gumball Fever continues below

Part 2 Read on:
Although many of the Gumball drivers were busy preparing themselves others weren't even seen beside their cars, I then interviewed as many Gumballers as possible while my mum Amita took photos and we spoke to some of the teams.
We said a quick hello to Londoner Karl Chopra of Design 911 Centre for Porsche who was busy in the process of giving away free promo T shirts to onlookers but he paused for us to take his photo.
Moving on we met Moe, Matt and Moth from UAE known as ‘The Sheikhs' dressed in national costumes and their 2008 convertible lux Rolls Royce was appropriately customised with a red and white ‘Ghutra' square scarf print representing traditional Arab culture.  This was their 2nd Gumball, they were winners of the Gumball 3000 Ambassadors Award '09.  They too handed out freebie promo goodies to the crowds and Mum and I were also given coloured wristbands to wear.

One of the most stunning and sleek cars in the grid was the silver SLR Mercedes, a rare ‘Sterling Moss' model owned by Marcus Meier from Germany who told me there are only 75 of these cars in the world and are each worth just under a million Euros.  Marcus purchased the car in Germany, this was his 1st Gumball and sitting in his car he looked like he'd just landed in a futuristic silver spaceship!

Winners of the Gumball Spirit Award in '06 Ezra Chapman and Damian Williams were back this time in a sporty smart Bentley and their Spirit of Gumball trophy, a gumball sweet machine was strapped to the top of the car and was presented to them by Playboy Hugh Hefner.
We came across a lady dressed in a black hijab-style costume and a man dressed in Chinese costume whose team (Team Wu) we learned were seasoned Gumballers and they'd participated 5 times having driven a Californian Highway patrol car in Gumball last year, this year they were in a Mercedes.
The lively Betsafe team sponsored by Maltese betting website Bestsafe.com came from Sweden, their 1st Gumball and they were going to be driving two cars a Lamborghini and Porsche Panamera.

Whilst in the grid area we met Hollywood superstar Michael Madsen checking out cars in the Rally - he's known best for his performance in film Reservoir Dogs in the famous scene where he tortures a man cutting off an ear while dancing.  Madsen is charming, just as super cool in real life and was happy to have pics taken with us while we had a chat with him.  Michael whose hair is now a gingery blonde was taking part in Gumball for the 1st time driving a black and blue Aston Martin DB9 accompanied by his friend Mark Mahan who was unfortunately on crutches.

We then entered the press pen for celebrity photo calls, an opportunity to photograph and interview celeb Gumball drivers. There we met Xzibit, U.S Hip Hop Artiste and MTV's ‘Pimp My Ride' host who was driving a white Porsche Cayenne.  U.S hottie Rapper Eve whom I also took photos with told me she normally drives a Porsche back home and was excited to be driving a Bentley for the 1st time at Gumball and loves driving fast.  It was good seeing Eve a lady participating in Gumball, hopefully more women will be encouraged to participate in future Gumball rallies. Ex Knightrider & Baywatch star David Hasselhoff was also supposed to be at the photo call but it seems he might have bailed out, we heard media people repeatedly asking "where's The Hoff?"

After the photo call we waited eagerly for the start of the Rally and the flag to drop, the long wait was worth it.  Watching the cars lining up, listening to the sound of powerful revving engines at the start line and crowds screaming gave me a thrilling adrenaline rush so I can understand why people are attracted to car rallies.  We were buzzing from the experience and couldn't wait to watch the video footage I'd taken of the Gumballers taking off in Pall Mall...Va va Voom , Vroom Vroom!

© Part 2 by Gina Chrysanthou

Please click link to view full collection of Amita's photos in Gallery:  http://www.pukkapr.com/gallery/view.aspx?cat=Gumball+Rally+Fever+Returns+to+Pall+Mall

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Above: Hollywood film star Michael Madsen

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Above: Team Wu                                   Michael Madsen

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Above: U.S Rapper Eve

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 Above: Gina of Pukka PR interviewing Eve

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Bart in red, Caglio & Pansere       Gina, Michel Pitzner, Mads, Eve 

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             Gumball revellers                 John Barry & Josephine

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 Betsafe team                          The Sheikhs team Mo, Matt & Moth 

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Poet/Writer Amita by the Bat mobile!

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Silver SLR Mercedes, a rare ‘Sterling Moss' model owned by Marcus Meier from Germany above 

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Gumball Spirit Award '06 Winners Ezra Chapman & Damian Williams

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Gina, Michael Madsen, Amita         Michael & friend Mark Mahan

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Karl Chopra of Design 911

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Above: Gumball Founder Maximillion Cooper & U.S Rapper Xzibit

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Please click link to view full collection of Amita's photos in Gallery:  http://www.pukkapr.com/gallery/view.aspx?cat=Gumball+Rally+Fever+Returns+to+Pall+Mall

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