Well, we left the hotel in Budapest early to head to the airport in Belgrade. On the way we had one, of what was to be many arguments with the Co-Pilot, which had told us to turn round after we travelled 10 miles along, what looked to be a new motorway. After much discussion we decided we had best do this as we hadn’t seen any other Gumballers for some time. We eventually found our way back to the A road and met up with Damien, Richard and Ezra in their Phantom and Max in the NOD5 Ferrari. We thought great, we are back on the right road then, 20 minutes later we joined a motorway at the same junction we had made our u-turn some 45 minutes ago! Co-Pilot – sort it out!

More problems lay ahead when Ezra lost his Phantom round a bend wiping out the front and back end. Then Max got a puncture after hitting the debris. Too top it all, Nods the got arrested for reversing into a local. Nightmare!

After, much discussion and the threat of a court hearing Nods managed to sweet talk the policeman with the help of the local businessman he had reversed into and a few US Dollars. Who say’s money doesn’t talk! We managed to get Max back on the road by contacting Rupert in the Batmobile – also a 612 Ferrari. These guys had a spare wheel in the boot and one of the crew delivered it. Unfortunately, there was little we could do for the boys in the Phantom.

After 90 minutes we were once again back on the road headed for Belgrade and once again having a now familiar row with the co-pilot. However, help was at hand in the form of one of the locals in his yellow BMW who guided us to the town square. Once there we were greeted with thousands of fans wanting pictures and autographs. This caused a clutch problem which was evident by the fact the management warning light was on and the smell not good. We did a brief lap of the square and tear-arsed out of the place before the clutch became more of a problem.

We got to the airport in no time and parked our cars in the holding area to await the loading of them onto the Antonov Monsters. We were then taken by bus to passenger departures and were on the plane soon after check in. The flight was around 10 hours, so there was only one thing for it – red wine, lots of! Managed to drink solid for 5 hours then sleep for a couple. When we stepped off the plane the tropical heat hit us like falling scaffolding.

We jumped on minibuses to the Amanpuri Resort which was a 30 minute drive from the airport. When we arrived it was paradise! Beautiful thai style villa’s with their own pools over looking the Andaman sea. Fantastic! Grabbed a couple of Singha’s and chilled in the pool with our neighbour’s Tom & James, and Adam. Once we had cleared the mini-bar we headed to the beach to chill and make the most of our day off. Here we grabbed some lunch and a few more Singha’s and a Thai massage. Later that evening we headed into Patong and the delights of Soi Bangla.

An early start followed another late night, the buses were here to pick us up at 6.30 to take us to collect the cars. We had decided to have a change of cars today. So, I jumped in the Porsche turbo with Gary, and Bill jumped in FLASH with Nods. Gary and I were one of the first out of the airport and made haste north towards the mainland. However, our haste was to become a halt as we lost a fan belt only minutes into the journey. Many Gumballers pulled over to offer assistance, but not much could be done at this stage. Nods and Bill were not far behind and pulled in. Bill then insisted he stay with the Gary and the Porsche – a decision he would later be glad of.

We were back in FLASH and we were headed north at some speed. Adam overtook us soon after and a race followed. However, the roads were not good with plenty of unexpected pot holes and dips, loads of motorcycles and twisting bends. It was while doing around 150mph that one of the dips got the better of us and we took off. We landed at 45 degrees and slid sideways into the rain forest, hit a tree spun travelled another few hundred yards and came to a halt next to a bar. Handy! Once we had dusted down the ants from our laps and sorted out the car we did the only thing to do in that situation and had a beer! We spent the next 7 hours by the roadside with Tango and Sten. The local’s made us welcome in traditional thai style by bringing us Pad-Thai noodles and more beers. We returned their hospitality by teaching the kids English and joining in with their games.

After paying a Thai bloke to look after the car we eventually got back on the road – albeit in the back of Tango and Sten’s rented pick up. We climbed under the tarpaulin as the sun turned to rain and the day to night. A long journey ahead and some hours into it Tango was looking tired. Nods offered his services and took the wheel for the rest of the journey into Bangkok at not quite lambo speeds.

We eventually found the hotel around 1am and were greeted with cheers and beers from the Gumballers still hanging around the lobby. Time trails in Mustafa’s wheel chair followed for many of the now, well oiled Gumballers (strong stuff that Singha). I persuaded Nods’ it may not be a good idea to have a go due the recent luck with our own wheels.

The following day was leisurely, we saw off the Gumballers who were off to get their Icelandic Air flight to SLC. Our Cathay Pacific flight was not until 6pm which gave us the opportunity to sample some of the Thai culture so off we went to arrange Tuk Tuk races. The deal was to get 3 tuk tuks and pay the first driver to Patpong 1000 bht. What a laugh! After a bit of sightseeing and a trip up the river on a long tail boat we returned to the hotel to get our limo to the airport. Here we were to get a flight to LA via Hong Kong and had a private jet arranged to take us to SLC. In the meantime Nods was working on getting a replacement car to meet us in SLC. A long flight followed so we had a few drinks and tried to catch up on our thoughts and some we needed sleep whilst 36000 ft above the Pacific.


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