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Freewheeling


HAVING A BALL

So you are super rich and your name figures in the social registers. You're also car crazy and have a Ferrari parked in the front yard and a Lambo in the backyard. And you don't know how to start your day and time hangs heavy on your hands. What do you do? Head for the annual Gumball 3000 rally.

Organised every year in the cruellest month of May, the modern incarnation is put together by Brit, Maximillion Cooper, who happens to be a racing aficionado. What started off with 50 friends in the first rally has snowballed into a regular event with over 150 entries every year. The amount of publicity and interest that the rally has generated is phenomenal and it has only grown in proportions.

The winner of the rally gets a Gumball machine and that's how the rally earned its name. The Gumball rally, which is actually based on the 1970s all-out dash across America, had movies made on it subsequently. Last year's rally in Winnebago was covered by MTV's crew of Whatever Things!

However, this year's Gumball rally was bigger and went around the world in eight days. The rally started in London and the eclectic range of cars sped through Europe to Belgrade, followed by, in true Gumball style, air-freighting all the cars and the participants to Phuket, Thailand, in a rare Russian Antonov aircraft. This was followed by another flight to Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S., from Bangkok with a dash down, via the sin city of Las Vegas, to the rally finish at the fabled Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.

The rally was not devoid of amusing incidents. Drivers had cars impounded, were slapped with speeding tickets of as much as up to Euro 1,000, faced arrest, got their million dollar cars destroyed in accidents and partied like maniacs along the way.

If you want to experience an adrenaline rush the expensive way and can afford to put aside a whopping 40,000 for the entry fee which is inclusive of everything for two people, get ready for the 2007 edition, which promises to be more fun-filled and exciting.

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