Gumball 3000 have the respect and fame all around the world, where the drivers were driving by. This happened in Hungary as well, although it was not the only reason why it was interested for us. On the entry list there was a name Mark Muss, who as the name tells us not Hungarian, he is Scottish; however, he’s been living in Hungary for the past ten years now. After his arrival with his Lotus Esprit S4, he told us as an insider about the Gumball 3000 Rally 2005.
A 3000 miles long tour just only in 6 days brings a lot of adventure to it especially if you driving really fast cars. There was 120 cars starting the Rally from London, where just about 250 thousand people were curious enough to see these cars leave the city. The spectators needed actions and all the Gumballers were totally aware of that. As they found some small area burnouts came to please their audience. That was Mark Muss’s Lotus’s destiny as well, since the starts and burnouts put high pressure onto the clutch. Although the car went through a long and demanding test and preparation, it received new braking system as well, but the clutch still just could not handle it. The real test of power was the German rout, since that was the first part of the Rally to step use the force hidden under the hood. In Belgium there was high level of security making sure that the Gumballers are not going Our of Control that was the reason to wait till reaching the Autobahn with the full throttle. Passing the boarder the horse powers were let out and the cars went faster than 250km/h, at some points reaching the 300km/h speed during the night. At first the Lotus was handling the speed quit right; but later some smell gave Mark and Seamus (his copilot) the unmistakable clue that the clutch has some serious problems. There came a lucky rain to help the Team 3ezer group (www.3ezer.com) to be able to stay in the competition since all the cars needed to slow down in the rain. They have arrived to the first day’s checkpoint, to Prague, as they needed to spare the clutch for the rest of the day. There Team 3ezer had to face four major problems according to go on the next morning. First, they needed a clutch system, that seemed to be impossible to find in Prague, on a Sunday morning. After a couple of phone calls, there was a brand new clutch system found in England. So the part was ready, the only problem was that the part was in England and the car in Prague where the next day of Rally begins just in a few hours. Since Lotus is not the car we call the most popular around here, it is rare to find a mechanic who knows Lotus quite well. After a couple of phone calls this was no problem no more, and since he was found in England of course, it was no problem for him to bring the spare parts with him, but with what? Luckily to book a flight was just easy compare to the previously mentioned stunts and under the time the mechanic was flying toward Prague, Mark and Seamus was finding a chop-shop for them to repair the car.
The rest of the Gumball 3000 crew was partying during the night while Team 3ezer had to make major changes to their hope of be able to keep going the next morning. Our heroes after sleeping 3 hours started the next morning’s rout leading to Budapest through Wien. The Austrian police was just as strict as the Gumballers got a sample of in Belgium, so they were happy to cross the boarder at Hegyeshalom to the country of Hungary. The first to arrive to this days final checkpoint to the Hungaroring was the last night repaired Lotus and its crew.
After the party at the Gellért Bath, Team 3ezer had just about 7 hours of good sleep before leaving for Dubrovnik. After reaching the highways the speedometer was showing up above 200km/h already. The rout was lead by Alex Roy with his M5 BMW, that just almost looks like a police car. Right before the Hungarian police could have done something the Gumball crew was already entering to Croatia. Where the Minister of Tourism made sure that the Gumballers will be not bothered for their journey during their stay in Croatia. On the brand new highway where almost no other cars but the Gumballers have driven, all the cars were going on their maximum speed. There were cars passing – approximately in the speed range of above 300km/h reached by some Lambo’s and CLK DTM Mercedes’ – by the heavily breading Lotus that was riding in the range of only 290km/h. Changing their tactics Mark and Seamus decided to slow it down a notch and stayed around 220km/h for the rest till Dubrovnik; although, they were keeping their pace when all the other cars slowed down thanks to the pouring rain, since the Lotus had high quality street tires rather than racing tires. Our heroes have arrived to Dubrovnik at half past seven.
Team 3ezer with Alex Roy and Jon Goodrich from Team Polizei:
After going on a ferry the next morning’s rout was totally in Italy. As Mark told us the streets and roads are worse than the Hungarian’s, and that states for the highways as well. They were heading towards Roma, when they met a negative bump, the speed was approximately just above 260km/h when they did the touch and go stunt, where the back of the car was up in the air for a couple of minutes. The Team 3ezer crew has no idea since how they could survive that crazy action. There were some unlucky riders as well on the Gumball 3000 entry list, for example one of the doubles driving their Lambo, they have run into a Police scan, where they lost their Lambo for speeding, so they had to change their car to a McLaren F1. Although by the time they got to Bari, their original car was waiting for them, since they have baled it out during the time being. Just 8 hours after they sat back to their original car, at the same bump we have just spoken about, they have totaled their Lambo. I believe the loss was incredible.
In Rome after receiving bad information about the checkpoint, Alex Roy took the whole Gumball crew to the Coliseum. After loosing 20 minutes of valuable time they figured that they become victims of a joke. After that the real fight started to get back to the highway. Where they have took all the three lanes plus the so called Gumball lane to be able to get back to the Rally.
Near by the Italian-French boarder they have slowed down since the police radar checkers kept going off. After one of the tunnels there was big group of police waiting with the cut Gumballers. Finally the French authorities have checked all cars with extra attention toward radar detectors. They have found one in the Lotus as well, but Mark and Seamus have explained that what they have seen was a parking-radar and nothing more. There was the helping factor of Seamus’ passport since he is a diplomat.
In Monte-Carlo there was only one Gumball organizer waited for them without the fame and finishing line or anything the Gumballers have dreamed of. They have received only a copied map showing their way to their parking spot, with also showing the spot where they could get on a little boat.