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February 26, 2021

Lifestyles of the rich and shameless

Ah, the Gumball 3000 Rally, an event that’s as fun to watch as
it is to say.
It’s a casually good time for the fattest of fat cats.
Known for its super cars, super stars and super-ridiculously
expensive crashes (more on this later), this pretentious,
high-octane extravaganza revs up for its 10th annual running in two
weeks.
Ah, the Gumball 3000 Rally, an event that’s as fun to watch as it is to say.

It’s a casually good time for the fattest of fat cats.

Known for its super cars, super stars and super-ridiculously expensive crashes (more on this later), this pretentious, high-octane extravaganza revs up for its 10th annual running in two weeks.

For those who don’t know, the Gumball 3000 is an eight-day race that spans the globe, incorporating glitzy parties at each overnight checkpoint. It was organized in 1999 by a really, really good looking British billionaire bloke with a lot of free time. His name is Cooper, Maximillion Cooper, and he’s an ex-Armani model that enjoys collecting Le Mans cars, skateboard decks, BMX frames, art and spending time with his family, according to his dossier. Also posted is Cooper’s mission statement for his rally-inspired company, Gumball 300 Group: “Gumball is about challenging tradition and taking a non-conventional approach to exploring and developing cultural and creative boundaries.”

Since its inception, the rally has drawn a laundry list of A-list actors, musicians, professional athletes and, basically, anyone else who has a showroom car and a wad of cash. This year’s guest list includes (gulp) Johnny Knoxville and the cast of “Jackass,” drummer Travis Barker, Rob Dyrdek of MTV’s Rob & Big, and David Hasselhoff, who’s reportedly going to drive K.I.T.T. from Knight Rider – no joke.

Casual Friday would be in the field, but can’t afford the $122,000 entrance fee. That covers the cost of hotels, parties and airlifts. This year’s race starts Aug. 9 in San Francisco and continues to Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, and Pyongyang, North Korea for a diplomatic shindig; and then it’s on to Nanjing, Shanghai and Xuzhou in China and, finally, Beijing’s Tiananmen Square – just in time for the Olympics.

If you’re reading this, you can probably get in on the car ogling. From San Francisco, the rally continues at breakneck speed down U.S. 101, possibly on the way to Interstate 5 – only the Gumballers know the exact route.

The Cas’ implores you not to get too close to the action, though. The rally lives up to its accident-waiting-to-happen essence. Google “Gumball 3000 accident” and you’ll find the evidence, tear-jerking video after tear-jerking video of wrecked Rolls Royces, Ferraris, Dodge Vipers and modified sports cars of the sort. There’s even a video where a poor chap totaled his Porsche and, after making a quick phone call on the side of the road, hops into another Porche that arrived for him two minutes later.

Not all wrecks are as humorous. There was, of course, a tragic one last year involving a Gumballer in a Techart Porsche 911 Turbo who, at 130 mph, crashed into a Volkswagen Golf bearing two non-participants. The Golf driver was killed and his wife, also in the car, was hospitalized in critical condition. Upon hearing of this through the magic of Internet blogging, several Gumballers withdrew from the race, prompting organizers to cancel the rally.

So, like many auto racing events, the Gumball 3000 has some dirt on its hands. It’s not the first to see collateral deaths, though, and it certainly won’t be the last.

Not as long as there’s red-blooded aristocrats out there who have nothing better to do than risk lives in the spirit of pompous competition.

If you were young, rich and famous (and shameless), you’d probably consider it, too.

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