Just the words ‘Gumball Rally’ conjure up memories of the 1976 film about a race from New York to Long Beach, and Michael Sarrazin’s immortal line: “There’s only one rule: there are no rules”.
Chuck Bail’s cult comedy, however, was inspired by a real race, the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, which was run five times - totally illegally - in the 1970’s, the most memorable being the 1971 edition, which was won by former Le Mans winner Dan Gurney in a Ferrari Daytona, with publisher and race founder Brock Yates as navigator.
They covered the 4608km from New York to Redondo Beach, California, in 35 hours and 54 minutes (that’s an average speed of 128.36km/h, including a snowstorm in the Rockies and a speeding fine) and Gurney himself later said: "At no time did we exceed 280km/h."
UNFORGETTABLE ROAD TRIP
Now South Africa has a gumball rally for regular driving enthusiasts, the Gumboot Rally, to be run from 1-5 April 2013 over a 3000km route that will take in some of the finest scenery in South Africa. It’s open to any street-legal vehicle, and will include some new tweaks that promise to make it an unforgettable road trip.
Gumboot Rally manager Carel Cloete explained: “We haven’t fixed any of the routes, so crews are free to choose any route they like in the hope of gaining an advantage over other competitors or taking in more of South Africa's magnificent scenery."
The 2013 Gumboot Rally will start in Pretoria and run through Durban, Welkom, East London, and George to the finish in Cape Town, where there will be an awards ceremony and "send-off" bash.
At each stop the organisers will provide campsites, entertainment and food for the participants.
The entry fee is R5000 per vehicle, and Gumbooters can enter one of four categories: supercars, vintage cars (pre-1973), streetcars and motorcycles. Entry is limited to 150, and each car may carry a maximum of four people.
The rally will benefit the Reach for a Dream Foundation, and Ballz Visual Radio will broadcast live while taking part in the rally with celebrity entrants. Tsogo Sun will offer those who prefer not to camp discounted rates on accommodation.
The 3000km Gumboot Rally will have two special stages - a track day at Phakisa and another at the East London Grand Prix circuit. There will be something special planned for each checkpoint, including a classic car show in George, organised in collaboration with the George Motor Klub, that will be also be open to the public.
For more information visit the Gumboot Rally website.