3.46am (GMT) 7/05/06

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, and I bounced out of bed to get ready for the 8 am bus to the airport to collect the car. Problem was that Gavin was still a teeny bit tipsy from the night before, so it made getting him get up and out the door like trying to deal with a five-year-old with ADD. Still, we made it onto the bus on time and headed for the airport, where overnight, the Antonovs had landed and their precious cargo of supercars had been disgorged and parked neatly beside the planes. Gavin continued to live up to the hyperactive five-year-old role by running around drenching everyone with a pump-action SuperSoaker water pistol. What larks, especially when poor Gav fell awkwardly on his ankle…

We were soon on the road to the Miller Speedway race track, located in the middle of nowhere about half an hour’s drive outside SLC. We were actually supposed to be heading into the city centre to parade in the Cinquo de Maio parade, but that didn’t happen for various reasons. Once at the track we had lunch and watched some of the others putting their cars to the test. We decided not to race the 360 as its brake pads were somewhat worn after 2,000 miles of hard driving, and we didn’t want to push our luck.

After the speedway it was off to Bonneville Salt Flats, where we saw precisely nothing. A seemingly random car stopped us and gave us our checkpoint cards for the route down to Las Vegas. So after a brief trot (or hobble in Gavin’s case) onto the sand, we jumped back into the car and headed for Vegas. The route took us through the edges of nowhere, then deep into the middle of nowhere, before finally bringing us to Interstate 15 outside Vegas. We saw quite a few Gumballers pulled over for speeding (one of them was fined $762 for doing 106 mph), but I managed to avoid getting any tickets whatsoever by keeping a close lookout for cop cars, and by tailing a local who seemed to know what he was doing: when he did 100 mph I did likewise; when he stood on the brakes so did I. Finally the laser jammer saved us once more outside Vegas. Most of the trip was spent cruising at a steady 80 mph.

We finally pulled up in 19th place, which is not bad considering we weren’t really going that fast. I guess it takes time to write all those tickets! We’re staying at the Hard Rock hotel (policy: no children, no old people), in a luxury suite. Fabulous! Hopefully Gavin’s ankle will have healed in time for him to drive the last leg into LA tomorrow. As for tonight, it’s dinner in the hotel restaurant, followed by an exclusive concert by an inquisitive canine. Snoopy dogg or something. I don’t know!

We’ll check in again tomorrow from the finish line!


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