Gumball 3000 2011 - Making it from London to Istanbul

The Gumball 3000 Rally has finally reached its final destination in Istanbul, Turkey after a mammoth 3000-mile drive from London, the United Kingdom just seven days earlier.

Gumball 3000 2011 - Making it from London to Istanbul Photos by Gumball 3000

It all started with the registration and pre-pre-party on the roof of Hilton Trafalgar hotel and then the gumballers hit the official pre-party at the Playboy Club in London on the 25th of May 2011 where all the participants and a few lucky fans gathered to kick off their journey across Europe and Eastern Europe.

The journey officially started in London on the 26th of May at Covent Garden in typical English weather, rain. The first leg was from Covent Garden via the Euro tunnel to Paris. Arriving at Place Vendôme early evening before the party kicked off in style at the Parisian club VIP Room in the heart of Paris with Bun B & DJ Muggs (Cypress Hill) responsible for the entertainment.

The day after, the 27th of May, was the first real long stage of the rally where the drivers were to drive from Paris to Barcelona via the Circuit D'Albi near the small South Western French town of Le Séquestre. The French police had a field day with many tickets issued for speeding along the way, some more deserved than others. At the Circuit D'Albi, all those in need to stretch the limits of their car were allowed to. Some stretched their cars a bit too much ending up damaging their ride to Istanbul so badly that they had to find other means to finish the rally.

Those fortunate enough headed towards the glamorous W hotel in Barcelona for a night out at the Sutton Club with nonother than David Guetta and his "Fuck Me, I'm Famous" party. Some gumballers partied so hard that they woke up on the beach or on a street somewhere in Barcelona. Some even spent the night locked out of their rooms.

On the morning of the 28th of May, there was first a car display outside the W hotel for all the Spanish fans before the gumballers headed to the Monte Carlo F1 Grand Prix in Monaco for a two-day stay at the Fairmont Hotel Monte Carlo that included the F1 race viewed from the legendary Fairmont Hairpin terrace. This was the chance for gumballers to recharge their batteries and chill for a bit, but in a true Gumball 3000 manner, that was the last thing on their minds as an after-party served up the best on offer in Monaco. Everything from boat parties to open-air parties or a casual night out at the Billionaire Club.

Ever onwards, on the 30th of May, they headed to Venice for the Betsafe Poker Tournament at the wonderful Hilton Molino Stucky Venice, but first, they made a stop in Forte Dei Marmi on the coast for lunch. A little detour, but essential for any gumballer on the Gumball 3000 rally. At the poker tables in Venice, one could win a specially made Betsafe Gumball 3000 solid silver bracelet, much like those up for grabs on the international poker circuit, but much more exclusive. The winner of the poker tournament was Karsten Green from Team Zulu.

After a good night's sleep, the Gumball 3000 continued the day after with one the longest stages of the rally, Venice to Belgrade via Zagreb, three countries (Italy, Croatia, Serbia) in one day. In Zagreb, they went for a guided tour of the Mimara Museum before leaving for Belgrade to spend the night at Continental Hotel Beograd. This was the second time in the rallies' recent history that they come to Belgrade, the last time was during the 2006 rally, and the crowds back then were huge and this time around they were even bigger. Before the night was over they partied and had their cars on display outside the hotel for all the mesmerizing fans that had gathered.

Party hard till the sun comes up, then the longest and final stage of the rally was about to start, time for Belgrade to Istanbul via Sofia, another three-country journey (Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey). Most drivers left early in the morning to be able to arrive at a reasonable time in Istanbul. Others winged it and drove faster in order to catch up. Around mid-day, the gumballers arrived in Sofia for a look at the National Art Gallery and a public car display in the heart of the city. Loads of fans lined the roads into the city and many more wandered around amongst the cars and got autographs and photos of the stars. It's not every day you get 100 or so supercars coming to town.

The Gumball 3000 left Sofia, Bulgaria, and headed towards Istanbul, Turkey for the finish and final party at the Reina Club in Istanbul. The roads from Bulgaria to Turkey's Istanbul weren't really what some of the drivers had expected. Loads of potholes and generally bad roads, not to mention other drivers, especially Turkish ones, as reported via Twitter on more than one occasion. Upon arrival in Istanbul and finally being able to let the hair down and go all in, without needing to think about tomorrow's drive, served up a massive Gumball 3000 final party. Eve's performance on stage at the awards ceremony was slowly getting on its way. As with all Gumball 3000 rallies, there is the small, but equally important, Gumball Awards where the best drivers and teams get rewarded for their efforts, and the highly sought-after "Spirit of Gumball" Trophy is awarded. Many teams had their sights on the trophy, but The Dudesons snagged it with their characters and equally awesomely tuned Cadillac Escalade ESV Ambulance with United Nations Diplomatic license plates.

Gumball 3000 2011 Award winners
Spirit of The Gumball - The Dudesons
EcoForecourt Award for Greenest entry - Karta Healy
Most Fearless Driver Award - Shane Lynch
Ambassadors Award - Team Renault 4L
Best Car - Kevin Burke & Massimo's Aston Martin One-77
Best Timekeepers - Ndamukong Suh & Cody Glenn
Best Entertainer - Bun B
Sparkle Award - Buttsy Butler & Kenneth Moen
Betsafe - Win on Almost Anything Award - Garreth & Matt (Scots on Gumball)

What happens next year?
The route for next year's Gumball 3000 has already been announced and in 2012 the Gumball 3000 does the legendary trip from New York City to Los Angeles. The cities that will be visited are New York City, Niagara Falls, Toronto, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City, Denver, Las Vegas, and finally Los Angeles. This is a route that one has to do at least once in one's lifetime. Megamind Magazine will be doing it, will you?

Mathias Haegglund Code Collector, Globetrotter, and Occasional Gamer.