This was my take on the European leg. Some details have been omitted to protect the guilty as my wench sometimes reads this site and I don’t want to be castrated! Our account of the USA final party will also be up in a day or two:
Friday morning arrived nice and warm in Budapest. Mussy and I were picked up by his chauffeur in a brand new S class Merc. Arriving at the BA desk we asked for an upgrade, but the lady said that we were already assigned seats in cattle class, but she would try and move us further to the front.
Despite it being early morning, I decided that it was perfect time for a Bloody Mary in the lounge while Mussy learnt to play on my PSP: I had discovered the perfect method of rendering him quiet for a couple of hours. The flight was great; we had indeed been upgraded to Business Class, a bonus that was coloured only slightly by the brash whining voice of a septic tank (septic tank = yank = US citizen) going on about his property deals (time-share crap FFS!).
London is always a good town in which to have fun. Having moved the car from the Chancery Court to the Trafalgar Hilton (and paying 35 quid for a car wash!). The day was spent drinking Bollinger while waxing the car. As we only had a baby Porsche this year we were determined that she had to be looking her best. In the evening we hooked up with Michael Ross, Emma (from last year) and the seriously smooth Allessandro Grimaldi (who should win the ‘Most Decent Man Alive’ award) at Michael’s place ‘Tabernacle’ – great food, great service (as you might expect sat next to the owner!) and great women J. Common sense prevailed and we left early as the next two days were going to be hectic. I got back to my room at 2am. This turned out to be the earliest night I have had on the Gumball in 2006!
Registration day. Sleep in until 11. Try and register. Usual Gumball organisation: cram everyone into a small windowless corridor for 2 hours. I dread to think how much money was stood around me waiting; a rough guess was just over 800 million pounds – 20 quid of which was me J. Eventually we got our Gumball Goodies: some were identical to last year, others worse: the sunglasses! Oh My God! What 70’s hell did they come from? Last year’s shades were fantastic L. Also the shoes: last year a pair of black DC shoes with the Gumball logo on them. This year? Some plain white canvas ‘road-slappers’ like the old Dunlop Green Flash plimsolls. Having already raided my first aid kit for blister kits for the Gumball Crew (who had to wear them), I gave mine away after 30 seconds. I loved the new Annual though (mainly because I was on page 26) and the new CoPilot was cool and looked much better than last year.
There was enough time to wax the car one more time and polish off another bottle of bubbly, then some sleep before the Premiere. Turned up to the joint late (I was warned by Mussy that there was no-one there at the official start time). There was only La Bam’s Lambo and the 612 Ferrari that Max was borrowing for this year, and about 30 people hanging around outside the joint (some engineering faculty on the Embankment). Went in and for once Gumball was giving away free booze to Gumballers (well, free if you ignore the entry fee for the Rally!). Well oiled by rapid consumption of 10 vodkas, we were herded into the cinema (much, much better than last year). We were not allowed to take our drinks in, so it was lucky that I had a bottle of rather fine Remy Martin with me. It duly got demolished, and was the only good thing about the movie: talk about repetitive crap! It was 20 minutes of good ideas and jokes strung out for a couple of hours. Soon I could take no more and followed Steve H and others to the bar.
The Gumball Party was in full flow when I got there (after a fine dinner of fish and chips – much better than the buffets that Julie’s Mum makes for Gumball!). The cognac was flowing, the cigars were great (my box of Cohiba Sublimes 2004 went down well), and there were several very pretty girls wandering about the place. I was again determined to have an early night, as we all knew that the Sunday night was going to be a rather long haul to Budapest. Mussy did the decent thing and went to bed around midnight. I crawled into my room at 3.30 am, having walked to my hotel via a kebab shop. Just as well Mussy and I didn’t need to meet until noon.
Start Day. The start day started well: me with a complete hangover and the oil container in the front splitting, soaking everything in the front baggage compartment with Mobil 1. To say I was a tad peeved was an understatement. We did a clean up as best we could, but then Mussy decided ‘fcuk this’ and ripped out the lining of the compartment. Much better. Everything re-packed and ready to leave the garage – just in time to have Julie scream at us to re-park the car until 1pm – glad to see no pre-start nerves on her part . Eventually we got out of the garage behind an F50. Luckily we got out quickly, before the vibrations from the Ferrari shook our car to bits. One seriously loud engine.
We were near the start of the grid and all went well: friends came and said hello, pictures were taken, and I laughed and pointed at the cellulite and saggy bums of some of the ‘Playboy’ and ‘CoPilot’ ladies, some of whom, while undeniably worthy of my attentions, were wearing hotpants that showed not only a camel’s toe, but the whole foot and a bit of the camel’s leg as well! The drivers’ brief went as expected, with the usual hello from the Plod. Poor Max wasn’t feeling too well though: just earlier he had been twatted on the head by a piece of falling scaffolding in the hotel and was still bleeding fairly badly from a head injury. I applied ice, but he needed stitches (turned out he needed 2). As a result he sadly missed the start of the rally: same as last year, the start was awesome! Much better organised and safer this year than last (when we almost ran over several people).
The first kilometre went well, and then our navigation went tits-up: the new GPS unit kept trying to take us back to the start line! Wretched thing. We met up with a little convoy of a Lambo Murci, a 430 and a Noble and they knew the way to the M20, avoiding 99% of the speed cameras on the A2. We tagged along, and all was well until we approached the motorway. Just as we were getting ready to get up to a decent cruising speed, along comes Plod on a bike, and sits in front of us doing exactly the speed limit. Bstard! There is soon a long line of Gumballers tailing along behind the biker. When the first car made a move to inch pass, the copper made sure that the message was: “overtake me, and I arrest you
Great story guys! Thanks again for the 3ezer keychain you gave me in London, My car keys will wear them with pride ;P
This story is the best I’ve read so far and explains a lot. For instance from whom that piece of Porsche interior was inside the parking lot. I was there when you were cleaning up the mess, but didn’t realise afterwards it was you who took it out of your car.
Quote: ” These Belgians are mad – must be all the mussels with chips and mayonnaise!”
Tjeez guys, what can I say? I’m Belgian, born and raised and love chips and mayonnaise. There you go: now you know why my nickname is W1ck3d! :)
I’m looking forward to your next story about the Asia leg…
Great writeup, one of the best thusfar!