Tale as old as time, #beauty & the #beast. #Bentley #Continental #BMW #X6M
Review: Bavarian pretzel power squatting, beer chugging, fatty in a sweatsuit #bmw #x5m #rallysupportcarshopping
Party in the front, #party in the back. I don’t know which one I like better! #Ferrari #458 #Italia & #BMW #760
Over the past few weeks, we have shared a bite sized history lesson about the 2012 Dustball Rally. We hope that you’ve enjoyed this absolutely fascinating ride.
This is post 5/5 covering our participation in the 2012 Dustball Rally.
- Post #1: Merging the Absurd (Rallying) with Us (Crazy) - SportsCarHunter Joins a Rally
- Post #2: The Car Rally Hasn’t Even Started, and We’re Doing What?! - SportsCarHunter’s Day Before the Dustball Rally
- Post #3: BLASTOFF! The 2012 Dustball Rally Speeds Past Day 1
- Post #4: What Doesn’t Break You Down Makes You Go Faster - Day 2 of the 2012 Dustball Rally
7:00 am It is Day 3 of the 2012 Dustball Rally. No one dares light a match – half the teams may combust after the night everyone just had on 6th Street. Teams are gathering on a garage rooftop in downtown Austin, Texas. Team SportsCarHunter isn’t among the living right now. No, we are nowhere to be found.
7:35 am RRRRRING! RRRRRING! RRRRRING!
“Uhhhello?” Marcus mumbles into the hotel telephone.
An ominous voice is on the other line. It is yelling at us. We can’t make out the words, but we think the rally just left.
7:40 am “Who’s bright idea was it to leave Austin at 7am? I mean really? What are these people made of?!” I am ranting to no one in particular in a very, very hot shower. The hotel room is turning into a sauna. New Orleans is over 500 miles away. I need to sweat excessively.
7:45 am My cell phone is ringing, “Dude, we forgot a bag in our room. Can you pick it up for us? Door should be unlocked.” #96 Bentley Bros have forgotten their shit after waking up at the crack of dawn. They’re getting breakfast and plan on riding with us, in the #85 Z4, and our teammates in the #26 Vantage into New Orleans.
“Marcus, I remember coming back with the #14 G8, #96 Bentley Bros, and #99 Charger teams…but where were you and David?”
“Dude. I. Don’t. Remember.” Marcus croaked “Water. I need water.”
7:50 am I am tweeting “Oh shit, where is Dustball Rally?? MO MONEY MO PROBLEMS!! We got pastel money. It’s cool.” It really wasn’t.
I recall some teams hinting about Day 3 being, “the only finish line that mattered”. Was that the clue these veterans had been hiding? It’s all cordial fun until the finish line?
We had to get the hell out of Austin.
7:55 am We are on the elevator with bags everywhere. We look terrible, probably smell worse. A cute couple who has to painfully share the ride with us comments, “Bavarian flag, nice!”
“Jaaa, Herr Marcus loves zeee pretzels un Austin! You look like Volksvagen material! Do you drive a VEEEE DOVULEUUU on zee Autobahn??” I reply.
“No, but I am from Berlin.” The man responds.
It’s real awkward. Real fast.
8:08 am I’m calling out Team Flat Out in the #41 335i on Twitter, “Y’all should’ve stayed out later. Wimps.” I am a fool for making fun of them. They actually made the start. The early birds of Day 3 are 30 miles ahead.
“They’re in a large enough group where they can own the road and snake past slower traffic” Analyzes Marcus “They have strength in numbers.”
It would be near impossible for us to catch up.
(look closer for emphasis of our situation)
8:20 am We are leaving three teams to battle for last place. There’s the #00 Aston, the #13 Cobalt, and lastly the #76 WRX STI, which is covered bumper to bumper in soft-core porn. Hilarious.
“Whoever did this had to of been still wayyyy messed up from the night before.” We say in unison.
An hour after the rally officially departed, we follow suit, winding our way to the bottom of the garage.
“Dammit! I left the parking ticket in the room.” I curse, gunning the engine and sliding the car underneath the garage gate. The #85 Z4 barely makes it underneath.
8:24 am For the third straight day I am wearing my Cannonball Pilot uniform and Marcus has his leather racing cap and driving goggles on. There are two women staring at us as we are leaving the parking garage in a flurry of burnt rubber and Monopoly Money. Talking Heads’ Naïve Meoldy “This Must Be the Place” is blaring out of our roadster’s speakers.
I pull the car up beside the two women. Within seconds we are a hung-over Gordon Gekko and Bud Fox, tossing armful after armful of Monopoly Money at them.
Halfway through the song we switch to Mardi Gras beads. A crowd is forming around our barrage of colorful rally essentials.
8:28 am Our cabin is empty of all rally ammunition. The song finishes. We finally leave the hotel rotunda with a massive party path in our wake. “Congrats,” Marcus chuckles, “We just kept Austin weird!”
8:29 am We’re pulling into a gas station just down the road. Our teammates, David and James, are fueling up their #26 Vantage.
“Yo! What’s happening guys?!” David asks in his typical jovial tone, still looking three sheets to the wind.
“Nothing man, we had the strangest thing happen to us this morning. Someone called our room. We have no idea who they are or what they said. It’s a miracle we’re even awake right now!” .
“Ha, that was Pops, he’s a hawk! Woke up earlier than I did and he got home later than us! Even after the race!”
“Race? What are you talking about?” I ask, confused.
“Marcus and I paid two pedicabs to race from the bars on 6th Street last night. We had to pay each dude like fifty bucks in order to get them to do it! It was like being a jockey! Those guys hauled ass!” David laughed.
6th Street turns in to a pedestrian walkway for several blocks on weekends. One way for tourists to get home is to be driven by a man on a bike, horse and buggy style.
“OH YEAHHHH! That was how we got home last night!” Marcus remembered “I lost because my driver couldn’t comprehend what a rally was! He had NO HORSEPOWER. I tried speaking German to him and he didn’t like that AT ALL! Dude just didn’t get it…”
8:32 am I am placing a Dustball Rally sticker next to the pump and peel out of the gas station. For the first time in four days I don’t spill Marcus’ coffee. He nods in appreciation.
8:35 am We are traveling on Austin’s famous double-decker highway. In 1975 a 2-mile set of elevated express lanes were added to I-35. There was no room to build out, so the city was forced to build up. The lower features short on- and off-ramps with limited visibility. The upper ramp features expansive views, lighter traffic, nicer cars, and the opportunity for a Dustball Rally roadster to unload on the economically depressed underneath them.
“Clearly all the rich people ride on the top.” I explain. “Up here, we have a better view, are away from the dangerous traffic, and can look down at everyone below us and call them names. What they really need to do is license cars to be up here, line the streets with gold, put flatscreens with SportsCenter on the side of the road, air condition it, etc…”
This explanation is far too long for Twitter, so I decide to tweet, “I like Austin hwy’s. Rich ppl go higher, poor ppl go lower. Monopoly money floating down to the masses.”
A pastel blitz is flying out of our hands and raining down fifty feet on those driving the lower slum highway. We do this for two straight miles.
8:37 am Team W0T’s driver, Blake, has just sent us a tweet about the #76 WRX STI covered in nudie photos, “Nice!! Can’t wait to see it, still in bed haha. See y’all in NOLA!”
“Are they seriously just waking up? They might as well hand wrap their finishing place to someone else. We are not finishing behind the main pack.” I declare.
8:59 am We spot Team #96 Bentley Bros in their sleek black Continental GT. “Now we have a pack!” Marcus exclaims, as they join up with our #26 Vantage and #85 Z4. He’s still giddy about driving with a Continental.
Rallying with only two cars can be dangerous. There are only two outcomes – you go entirely too fast or you go entirely too slow. With three cars, like we have now, the dynamic changes. You’re able to attack the pavement, knowing that there are at least 12 eyes on the road looking for opportunities to bank time.
9:11 am We are discussing the two days in New Orleans ahead of us, “Oysters, beignets, & bourbon!” Marcus explains.
I agree wholeheartedly. We finally have some momentum. We’re passing a hell of a lot more cars than we should be. We are catching up.
9:36 am A nice Ford Mustang Shelby matches our pace for a few miles.
9:40 am Unfortunately the Cobra isn’t rallying and can’t keep up.
“They need a lesson from the Dustball Mustangs!” Marcus scolds, throwing out some Monopoly Money at the wasted horsepower.
10:05 am We are stuck in monotonous traffic. The delay offers us a chance to study Twitter and figure out how far behind we really are.
“60 miles behind first place…Do we stick to the route or haul on the highway to catch up?”
The highway presents a strange opportunity. We could travel in a more direct route but it would inevitability be at slower speeds and heavier traffic than the back roads taken by the rally.
“Highway.” Marcus responds unquestionably. He sounds like shit and we would never catch up going the costal route.
10:19 am After another Twitter check, I exclaim to Marcus, “The #77 Camaro stayed back in Austin to help get the #51 Lambo repaired! There can’t more than ten cars ahead of us! This is still possible!”
This turn of events energizes Team SportsCarHunter. Less than two hours ago we were 4th from last. Dustball Rally finish line bottom feeders. Now, with at least a quarter of the rally still in Austin, we had a shot.
11:38 am I get word over social media that, “They’re converting the #51 Lambo from four wheel drive to rear wheel drive.”
I’m getting the distinct feeling that the broken down Italian/German Gallardo has made my codriver rather upset. I open up the glove box and show him a hidden cache of Monopoly Money. Marcus’ mood instantaneously improves.
11:57 am We are 70 miles behind the lead pack after taking a lunch break to meet up with Marcus’ family just outside of Houston. We are all happy to have the half hour rest and Chic-Fil-A in our systems, but all our banked catch-up time has been erased.
12:45 am “Bentley Bros are taking a wrong turn!” Marcus points, as the black #96 heads downtown Houston.
“Given their twin turbo, we’ll see them in no time!” I reason after reading their text to go on ahead.
1:48 pm The Dustball lead pack is hooning it up on the beach. They’re busy taking wide angle shots of rally cars.
Team Siebzehn in the #17 Z06 is frolicking along the beach with their German accents.
I decide not to say anything to Marcus, in fear that he would rip the logbook in half at the news of those West Germans having so much fun.
2:02 pm The #26 Vantage & #85 Z4 are fueling up on the far side of Lake Charles in Louisiana as the Bentley Bros finally catch up, further emphasizing the issues of falling behind. We had not seen them in over an hour, even though they were driving a rally beast much more powerful than ours.
Bentley Bro’s, Matt, is cracking three beers with the rest of the codrivers – Marcus and David, in addition to the onboard cameraman for this leg, Trevor. “Nothing out of the ordinary!” I say to Chris, the driver of the #96.
2:12 pm I’m adding it up in my head and can’t believe what I am seeing. “Guys, we could be ahead of the pack at this point. We may beat everyone to New Orleans!” By avoiding Highway 82, we were doubling the early birds pace.
2:15 pm I’m having a revelation. I don’t really want to be all alone when we get to New Orleans. The most fun parts of the rally were riding in to El Paso with the DFW snake, hitting “Blastoff” with six other cars, and leading the attack on the twisties of San Antonio and Austin.
“Marcus, what if we pulled over just past Lafayette and waited for everyone else to catch up?” I asked.
He was napping. Again.
We had been fighting to place this whole rally. Should we really give up the opportunity for first?
3:40 pm The rain clouds are forming outside New Iberia, Louisiana – 130 miles outside of New Orleans. Our #85 Z4’s miniscule 13 gallon fuel tank is running low, and we hadn’t made a consensus on slowing down or speeding up.
Patrons are venturing out of a small gas station casino that we have parked at. They’ve apparently made bets on what type of cars we had. “We don’t see anything very fast around here!” A local explains.
I’m busy looking up at the sky, it’s bound to rain, but decide to throw more Mardi Gras beads on our roll bars as Marcus affixes the Bavarian flag to fly out the back of our BMW. It looks too cool to not add a little more. “Nothing’s wrong with a little excess when it comes to New Orleans.” David quips.
I ask, “We are 40 minutes ahead of the gulf coast rally teams. There are about ten cars on a ferry this way now. Do we wait or do we push into The Big Easy?”
Answer: Unanimous motion to wait. Fuck the podium finish. It wouldn’t matter anyway if no one was there to see it. We would rally as a group.
The gulf coast group was just getting off their ferry.
4:23 pm I am Tweeting with Team Siebzehn in the #17 Z06, assuming they would be at the front of the gulf coast pack. This shocks Marcus.
I reason, “Team SportsCarHunter has given up the opportunity to come in first, so we might as well tear down the Berlin Dustballwall that’s been created over the last few days. Plus, it was New Orleans…and they had Speedos. We didn’t want to be targets!”
4:30 pm Teams #25, #85, #96 slice down a back road highway to intercept the Gulf Coast cars. It’s like we took a RIDE ON THE READING by riding highways all the way here. Now we wait for the rest of the rally to PASS GO & COLLECT $200!
I set up a welcoming party by throwing down excessive amounts of Monopoly Money on the road. Confetti flies every time a car goes by. It’s the perfect “Hello!” to everyone we’re meeting up with when all of a sudden we spot the first cars:
The camera crew’s red Range Rover flies by…
4:31 pm …Followed by the black Deanslist.US’s #07 911.
4:32 pm I spy the blue #17 Corvette and am jumping out of the driver’s seat to stand by the roadside. Finally, it took them long enough… I had been waiting two days for this payback.
I’m tapping my watch as they coast by – mocking the time discrepancies between their car and ours. “Herr Langsamrennendrivers!” I laugh to Marcus.
“Took ‘em long enough!” Marcus laughs back.
4:34 pm After those first three cars passed, a handful of other teams round the bend: Team Flat Out in the silver #41 BMW 335i, Team Radar Love in the silver #43 Corvette, and Team Firestarter in the red #66 Fire Truck.
“Was that all of them?”
“I don’t know, I thought there were more!”
“Should we wait?!”
The #26 Vantage, #85 Z4, and #96 Bentley Bros are at a standstill.
I make the decision to haul ass. Just like that, we’re behind again. We have to make up three minutes from a dead stop. Time to haul.
4:42 pm We are chasing behind, flooring it every chance we get. I get a message from Dan in the #41 335i “GUN IT! No enforcement for next 3 miles!”
I try to signal to the #26 Vantage and #96 Bentley Bros, but we’re going too fast for them to understand what is going on.
Marcus puts down his binoculars for a second, “The road is open for the next mile.”
I see the #66 Fire Truck’s roof lights.
5:13 pm The snake of Dustball Rally cars leading into New Orleans is now six deep, with the #43 Corvette spearing the way into the city. Our smiles are as big as they’ve been all day.
“There’s something about owning the road with a group this size. We are 70 miles out. Less than an hour left. What a rally!” Marcus explained.
“I agree completely” It’s all I could muster, my feelings being the exact same.
5:24 pm 400 miles away the pack that helped the #51 Lambo was just getting back on the road.
And just ahead of them is the rest of our original DFW group. The #76 WRX STI had some serious engine issues. “The video game may be over for Tony!” I joke.
6:09 pm “NOLAAAAA!” Marcus shouts, as we get our first glimpse of the city.
6:11 pm Our spiritsnare on another level. I’m holding out a handful of beads, letting the wind take them all over, when the #41 335i pulls alongside. They are driving Bavarian. They don’t have German colored beads. I needed to fix this.
The logical thing would have been to set the cruise control at 85, match speeds, and pass ‘em off. That didn’t happen.
The beads are flying back, we have to get our cars within inches of each other to pull off the handoff and after 30 seconds of supremely dangerous driving, it’s just not going to happen.
My contacts are about as dry as they could ever be and I am forced to look down, accidently pulling the wheel left in the process, nearly sideswiping our two cars in the process.
Just like that, the cars inched close enough for a successful handoff.
“Told you we needed to rally with those guys into New Orleans” Marcus mocked, nearly shitting himself from the sideswipe that just happened!
We pull ahead and in a flash throw out 500+ bills of Monopoly Money at the guys in the 335i in celebration!
The #96 Bentley Bros see this and proceed to hit every. single. car. in our line up for the next ten miles. “It’s like they’ve been stockpiling all the Monopoly Money we’ve given them!” said my, very impressed, codriver.
6:28 pm After a nasty standstill traffic jam, the #43 Corvette is leading the snake out of the highway traffic the and into downtown New Orleans. We caught up with the black #07 911, the blue #17 Z06, and red camera Range. It had been a foot by foot crawl for the last ten minutes, but now we’re driving straight at the Super Dome.
“Is this planned?” I ask
“No, I think we’re lost. And I love it!” Marcus smiled.
Each team is doing a lap around the historic Super Dome - a Louisiana icon unlike any other. It’s known as the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome now, after purchasing the sponsorship rights in 2011. There are ads for Mercs all over the place.
“How about that SLS for 2013?” Marcus suggests, pointing towards a Benz gullwing advertisement.
“Giving up on her that quickly?” I retort back, tapping the dash on the #85 Z4. “I think she’s become something else. I think this little black widow has earned at least another opportunity to rally with the best of them.”
6:29 pm Our BMW’s LOW OIL flashes for the first time, accompanying the CHECK ENGINE SOON alert that has been on since Day 1.
“Ha! She’s telling me she needs a beer.”
“Deserving of a keg at this point.” Marcus nodded, finally agreeing that the car had transcended its bodywork.
6:30 pm I am in a daze. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind. From a dismantled engine on life support exactly one month ago, to a highway deer impact a week ago, and the 8,000 miles added to the odometer just to get here…I’m feeling a little mental.
“If you look at the facts and figures, you would take something else.” I explained, pointing out that a BMW Z4 is not at all the ideal rally car. “The gas tank alone can’t hold more than an eye dropper…”
“Honestly, facts and figures would be against most of the cars on the Rally. Everyone doing the 2012 Dustball is insane in their own right.” I continue.
“We are all just looking for deserted perfection on an open highway…looking for a few sports cars ahead and a few more in the rearview…looking for our limits on asphalt spaghetti…looking for the rush of going a little too fast…with enough of the same people to make us feel normal while doing it.”
In this moment I fully accept that we weren’t going to be the first to the finish in New Orleans. No, what mattered now, in this bumper to bumper downtown traffic, is finishing alongside our teammates in the #26 Vantage. It was all about who you started with, and for us, that was David and James.
6:48 pm “Over there, at the valet!” Marcus is pointing across the street. They were at the front of the line. I dart ahead.
6:49 pm I pull even with David and James. They are beaming, “MADE IT!”
6:50 pm A Marriot employee is running beside the car, “DON’T MOVE! We have a parade coming through. Sit still. You are fine. They will pass right by.”
6:51 pm I hear a familiar tune blaring from somewhere behind us.
“Oh, when the saints go marching in!
Oh, when the saints go marching in!
Lord, how I want to be in that numberrrrrrrrrrrrr!
A few hundred people are either in the street tailing the parade, following along the sidewalk, or watching from a corner. Our #85 Z4 is in the dead middle of it all.
I find the beat of the drum and sing, “When the saints go marching innnnnnnnnnnnn!” while throwing a huge stack of Monopoly Money.
This gathers some attention around the car. Now I’m handing out Mardi Gras beads. Within fifteen seconds there is a run on everything not bolted down to our car. German beads are flying off the roll bars, stickers are being passed out, Monopoly Money is being thrown, and we are running out of koozies…
“Hey, you look fratty, you need a koozie!” I shout over to a college-aged guy dressed head to toe in pastel khaki.
“I have a koozie collection, 100+, SO DOWN to add another from all these sick cars!” He laughs back.
This dude was great…and it looked like there was 20 David/Marcus/Ryan’s along with him. NOLA was going to be absurd if it had anywhere close to this many people who were as excessive as us.
6:56 pm I’m in line at the parking garage, waiting to get in. Every few minutes a handful of rally drivers rev their engines. We are a chorus of horsepower.
6:58 pm “Our fraternity is having their annual convention here in NAWLINS!” David exclaimed, explaining the koozie conversation I had a few minutes ago with the student in head to toe pastel khaki.
This meant that 500 fratty dudes would all be out on Bourbon Street the entire weekend we were here. “I better start rationing the koozies!” I shout back to David.
7:15 pm I’m parked to the side in the valet garage, cleaning out the car. It’s an absolute mess. Two straight mornings of rapid exits, coupled with the mix of Monopoly Money blitzes and bead throwing of the past day has left the BMW in a state of shock.
I’m working through each nook and cranny. This BMW is not a big car, but we fit a lot in to it. I notice a few of the teams coming in, one by one. I say hello to as many as I can, trying to savor the moment as long as possible. We all deserved a pat on the back.
7:40 pm I was reminded of the many rallies and automotive races I’ve followed over the years. What always impressed me the most, beyond absolutely anything else, was the state of the cars at the very end.
If the cars aren’t outright wrecked they‘ll have bugs meshed to the grill. The paint around the exhausts will be scorched black. There may be pieces missing or burnt straight through.
There might be a rim with a lick of road rash all over it.
There could be road tar splattered across half the windshield. The car may look a little battered but it’s still standing.
I went on to photograph every angle I could, documenting the evidence that driver and navigator had pushed their rally car to the limits.
Team SportsCarHunter’s #85 BMW Z4 3.0si had completed the 2012 Dustball Rally.
EPILOGUE Part I – Rooster tails in the rain.
I was literally drenched in sweat by the time I finished cleaning the car out…but damn did the #85 look good. There were bug-impact craters from headlight to headlight. A rouge strip of tar covered up the vinyls on the windshield. A piece of the inner wheel well had gone missing, lost somewhere over the last thousand miles. A back rim oozed something black. The replacement hood badge still didn’t match the rest of the car, evidence that we had pushed it from the very start. We had rallied hard, the car showed it, and I loved it all the more.
The DFW rally group was having a drink in the busy Marriot lobby whenever I finally walked in.
“Did you really throw Monopoly Money down at the people on the lower highway in Austin?”
I smiled, pointed to my green “Show Me the Money” Mr. Monopoly shirt, and laughed.
The rally had been one hell of an exercise in persistence (to even make it), nerves (to survive it), and the unexpected (to become friends with so many other crazy people). I wanted to sit down with the guys and have a drink to talk about the final day but decided to retire to the room, organize everything I had taken out of the car, and get ready for The Swamp – a bar that Dustball had rented out for the night on Bourbon.
In this time of reflection I sent out an Official Announcement over Twitter, “Team SportsCarHunter WILL be “Adopting A Highway” immediately upon our return in honor of #DustballRally”.”
- You adopt a two-mile stretch of highway for a minimum of two years.
- You agree to pick up litter four times per year (more in some areas due to traffic count)
- Adopt-a-Highway signs will be posted with your group’s name at your adopted section.
- Adopt-a-Highway will provide your volunteers with safety vests, litterbags and safety training.
- You bask in the glory of claiming a piece of Texas pride.
…and it will be sponsored by something creative – we owe the many roads of Texas and Louisiana nothing less.
The roads themselves were unique to each day: The open expanse of traveling west to El Paso, the Guadalupe Mountains at the edge of New Mexico to “Blastoff” on what seemed like Planet Mars, Texas on Day 1; the gut-check and grin inducing hills of the Texas Hill Country on Day 2; and the joy of rejoining a rally snake and the parade finish in New Orleans on Day 3.
It was nearly 10pm by the time I grabbed my Cannonball Pilot’s hat, an armful of Mardi Gras beads, and Monopoly Money to head out the door. Bourbon Street was already an absolute mess this early at night. Our SportsCarHunter stickers were printed with the text “Destination Bourbon St” on them. We had arrived.
By midnight an entire block of Bourbon was covered in Monopoly Money.
Everyone on the rally had thrown out hundreds of thousands of dollars worth.
The road below us looks like a drunk version of Candyland.
Our British and German Mardi Gras beads ran out in less than an hour as well.
David and I had to go back to the hotel to get more.
The Swamp didn’t seem to mind our mess (there’s no such thing as littering in New Orleans) and we made sure to tip the bar accordingly.
The next day and a half in New Orleans went exactly as a day and a half in New Orleans should go.
During the day we walked around the French Quarter, at dinner we ate magnificent food, at night we took on Bourbon St…usually losing…but at least we had a great time doing it.
On the second night we found the DFW Dustballers huddled in the oldest bar in America. A grand piano played by candlelight as a dozen of us talked track days.
At 11 Team SportsCarHunter decided to head back to the hotel, but was forced to stop at only German bar on Bourbon – on principle.
Those two days saw us talking Dustball Rally to every stranger who would give us their attention as we placed our stickers on every post that looked unblemished.
On Sunday we left with a mixed group of Team W0T in the silver blue #00 Aston, Team Four Horsemen in the silver #44 Ford Mustang GT, Team Abilities Unlimited in the blue #76 Subaru WRX STI, Team Rush Hour aka Bentley Bros in the black #96 Bentley Continental GT, and lastly Team Siebzehn in the blue #17 Chevrolet Z06.
It turns out Siebzehn’s Jeremy and John Paul are great guys. Their Bavarian eccentricities are unrivaled – even by native Germans. It wouldn’t have been anywhere near as much fun of a rally without the cat and mouse game of their goofiness and Marcus and I’s obsession with everything Autobahn. We just hadn’t had as much time to hone in our accents or tone up for Speedos. There may be a joint coalition in the future, if they ever decide to ride in a properly engineered car. Again, Die Fienden Piloten be dammed.
We were late to leave the hotel on Sunday, again, but luckily got out of valet in record time. Our whole group took a lap around Bourbon Street at noon. Oh how the day changes. We threw out what beads and Monopoly Money we had left to those brave enough to be awake.
Half an hour west of the city we stopped in a small Louisiana town and ate KFC. I recall saying, “I will order a chicken pot pie and simply pour it down my throat.” I could barely talk, the rally had sapped my abilities to even eat, and it was time to go home.
At a nearby gas station Tony, of #76 WRX STI fame, helped out our LOW OIL warning by passing off some of his extra motor oil. His, now weakened, Pokeball Blue Fury WRX STI had needed an oil top off every hundred miles. Without his aftermarkets working right though, he had extra to share.
When we jumped on the highway, at the end of the line, just behind Siebzehn’s #17 Z06, my dash blew up like Christmas and the engine slowed to a crawl. We told the group to rally on ahead. It would be 40 miles until the straight six farted and we got above 4000 RPM.
Storms hit across western Louisiana into Texas the entire day. It’s a quiet car ride back to DFW. Finally alone. Under the speed limit. Rooster tails in the rain.
EPILOGUE Part II - An insult to everyone who can’t afford the option.
When I first heard about the Dustball Rally, there was no, “No”. I had to do it. I had to have my friends do it. I was tired of being able to press the reset button on my Playstation. “No more excuses, it was time to Rendezvous” I recall telling all my friends on a winter evening many months ago.
Out of all the races, movies, films, documentaries, articles, and stories about open road revelation – Rendezvous reigns supreme.
The film, C’était un rendez-vous, is a simple nine-minute early morning drive through downtown Paris filmed in 1976. It begins in a quiet tunnel where you, the viewer, are immediately assaulted by a revving engine, shifting, and the reverberation of squealing tires against the cobblestones. Pedestrians scatter like pigeons as red lights are ignored and one-ways are assaulted. Center lines don’t matter in Rendezvous, and the rush of emotions during these 500 seconds nearly put me into a coma.
The film was so controversial at the first screening that director Claude Lelouch was arrested. As such, copies of the run were rarely available, and if so only on the black market for $100’s of dollars. In 2003, 27 years after filming, and six months of difficult talks, Rendezvous had a limited print run on DVD.
The 72 hours, that’s all it “officially” was, of our Dustball Rally was the juice spun from the pulp of Rendezvous itself. I’ve tasted that nectar, and let me tell you, it’s damn good.
Have you ever assumed that a car was something you just bought and drove within a given set of limits such as traffic law and your driving kill? The Dustball Rally, Redevous, and Alex Roy’s The Driver are here to show you that a car can be something else, and way more than, as many people joke, an expression of the owner’s manhood. A car isn’t just an expression of our taste and finances.
“How many times have I walked past Cipriani on West Broadway, home of innumerable husband-hunting, fake breasted girls who work in public relations, only to see a handsome young banker pull up in a brand-new red Ferrari 360? The model/actress swoon. The driver sits with his friends and explains the options he chose this time – carbon brakes, racing exhaust – and how he couldn’t get it exactly the way he wanted. He talks about how fast he drove downtown from the Upper East Side, four miles away. His friends are impressed until one remarks that he’s soon taking delivery of the even newer F430. “A lot more power,” the friend brags, flashing his Panerai diving watch and smiling at the girls at the next table. “You should order one.” The 360 driver smirks with jealousy, knowing he will when his lease runs out.
Not one of these people will ever hunt, cave dive or race, or attempt anything that would endanger their purebred dog, Italian navy diving watch, or custom ordered car, let alone their own safety, unless well paid, forced, or shamed into it.
This is the message of Redezvous – it’s not what you have, it’s what you do with it.
Rendezvous demonstrated what one can do, must do, if one owns a car like a Ferrari. There is no dignity in bragging about one’s car when it has never surpassed 50 percent of its maximum speed, or in comparing diving watches that have never seen the ocean, let alone a shower, or in driving to a restaurant where the girls see not a car but the promise of the rest of their lives pulling up in front of expensive restaurants in bright red sheet metal and tan leather. There is only the absurd cash outlay for the best engineering on four wheels, the question of what equally outrageous challenge it must be put to, and whether that test will be sufficient to please the god of decadence from whose domain the car has been borrowed. To do any less is far worse than wearing $200 sneakers for a pleasant stroll, or domesticating an animal meant to roam free – it’s eating McDonald’s in Paris, it’s watching porn instead of having sex with one’s girlfriend, it’s returning from war with one’s gun unfired. Such second-rate decadence is worse than bad taste. It is not a victimless crime. It’s an insult to everyone who can’t afford the option.”
Have a lesser car? Can’t afford something spectacular? Rubbish. Buy some bravery. Join a rally.
Thank you for reading “Oysters, Beignets, & Bourbon - The Final Day of the 2012 Dustball Rally”
Please share this with your friends and check us out on social media.
-Sports Car Hunter Ry
Over the next few weeks, we are going to take you from the genesis of the endurance road trip to the modern international road rally. Each day we will share a bite sized history lesson about the development of this motorsport. We hope that you’ll join us for this absolutely fascinating ride.
This is post 3/5 covering our participation in the 2012 Dustball Rally.
8/1/2012 – Dustball Rally Day 1
6:30 am My cell phone is shrieking. Again. This feels like Groundhog Day. I spent too much time last night cleaning out the car in the hotel garage. We had crap everywhere. Wires, 5 Hour Energy Bottles, protein bar wrappers, Mardi Gras beads, sunglasses, and a shit ton of Monopoly Money.
We literally had no space. The beads were taking up a good third of the trunk. #15 Team Saint Mini empathized with our situation and graciously offered to store beads, Monopoly Money, and an empty gas container for the next day. We could breathe tomorrow.
“Four and a half hours of sleep is better than three”, I said to Marcus as he donned his bomber jacket.
Weeks ago we had set up a plan of German military excess. Day 1: Cannonball Pilot/Bomber uniforms. Day 2: German National Soccer Team uniforms. Day 3: vintage German military fatigues.
“Dammit, I wish those uniforms would have arrived on time!” Marcus grumbled as he spat out a sip of hotel room coffee. “Spshhhh, and the coffee is shit too!”
The World War era uniforms we had ordered shipped late. I was relieved at first, but I now echoed my navigator’s dissatisfaction. I wanted to blitzkrieg after watching #17 Team Siebzehn ham it up for the news cameras in front of their, very American, Chevrolet Z06.
Nevertheless, my pilot hat with a real Cannonball Run patch would suffice. I quickly place a “Free Parking” and second set of aviator wings on my pilots sport coat. Marcus had just finished situating his driving cap and goggles as well.
6:45 am We spy a few DFW teams eating breakfast in the lobby. “No need to rush guys” they suggest. Pros. I want to look cool too but I’ve been waiting seven months for today.
6:50 am We are late and our fuel is low. I swing into a gas station and fill up. Marcus walks out with a fresh coffee.
He spills half the cup as I drift into the road. I apologize, “Sorry, it’s just the traction control dash alerts on BMW look like so much fun lit up!” He used to have a 7-series so he empathizes, “That warning light is badass.”
6:59 am I speed into the park. There’s a group of police motorcycles waiting to parade us out. Where to? We’re not sure. Hell, nothing looks familiar around here; we’ve never been to El Paso.
7:10 am For as much organizing I did the last night, the car is a wreck from leaving the hotel in such a hurry. I take time to sort out our on-board HD video camera, other electronics, and ammunitions.
We are parked next to the black #96 Team Rush Hour Bentley Continental GT. Marcus is in awe. We have had an ongoing argument over the last three months as what would be the ideal rally car would be. He is dead set on a Supersports whereas I point out that a DB9, DBS, Virage, or Rapide would take you there in style. I use the parking spot as an olive branch to my navigator, plus these guys seem cool.
“Hey what’s going on guys?” One of the huge Bently Bros asks. “Just call me Jackie Chan, and that big dude over there, call him Chris Tucker!” One guy was Asian, the other was black. They were bros, and knew how to be funny. I pass them our extra remote radio. I’m doing this half for Marcus and his constant bitching about Bentley’s and half for us to make friends with the biggest dudes on the trip. If I was going to piss anyone off throwing Monopoly Money at them, it would help to have two giants on our side.
7:35 am The camera crew asks everyone to gather at the edge of the parking lot. We take a group photo. I remember looking at last year’s Dustball Rally group photo…it seemed boring. I turn to David, “Hey man, what if we added some confetti to this photo op?” His reply seals the deal, “Hell yeah! Get on that!”
I run to our roadster, thank God the top was down, and rip out a few stacks. I start handing them out to everyone around us. The cameraman counts down. 3…2…1…Money is flying everywhere. I pat David on the back, “Good call buddy, plenty more where that came from!”
7:50 am The #07 911’s driver, Andy, is giving us Day 1 instructions. I’m not listening. It’s a chilly August morning and we are standing in a park overlooking the entirety of El Paso. It’s breathtaking. I have no idea where we are heading; hopefully Marcus can decipher the directions. Each days destinations are unknown on the Dustball Rally. We have to figure them out along the way.
I look over at Marcus, his map is out. It covers over half of our Hot Wheel sized rally car.
7:58 am The motorcycle police are already leading away. I squeeze in line behind the #96 Continental GT. The CB and radio are lighting up with chatter. Everyone on the rally is jumping in on our frequency. I start to worry that secondary channels will be used by the veterans in order to outsmart everyone else. I cycle through every channel, just in case I can hear something. I had been the one to suggest the group frequencies during the briefing. “I need to talk less” I say to myself. Marcus isn’t listening, as he his fully engrossed in the route and gimmicks for the day.
“Dude, I don’t know the answers ANY of this shit!” He exclaims.
8:00 am The #66 Fire Truck is getting pulled over. We had been warned by Dustball veterans that there would be a lot of police activity on the 2012 Rally. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the thought of someone getting a ticket two minutes in.
8:02 am They get off with a warning.
8:05 am I tweeting “Our flight formation goes Aston, Lambo, Bentley, BMW, Aston.” We are feeling really freaking cool, and want everyone to know about it.
8:06 am We are driving up what might be a mountain, just outside of El Paso. I look to my right and can see for miles! Over the radio I hear David in the #26 Vantage, “DO YOU HEAR THE TWIN TURBO???”
We definitely hear it. Team GOP in the #51 Lamborghini Gallardo is flexing its throttle, begging to be shifted. He gets some space at a crest and…WRRRRRRRRIIIIRRR. It sounds magnificent.
8:10 am Marcus has our next 300 miles planned out. He thinks we’re skirting New Mexico in the Guadalupe Mountains then heading south to Marfa, Texas. He’s giddy as a schoolgirl about the possibility of seeing the Marfa Lights.
8:21 am I’m tweeting, “Excuse us as our expensive sports cars drive through good citizens.” These police are literally driving light to light and running pedestrians off the road. They’re kicking cars that don’t slow down fast enough - just like in a video game. It is unbelievable - like having six fullbacks on motorcycles everywhere you go.
8:25 am A red, non-rally, BMW 3 series tries to jump our caravan and nearly causes a Range Rover/Lamborghini/Bentley/BMW/Aston Martin pile up. “Maybe we should leave a little more space in between our bumpers.” I laugh.
8:40 am There is a red light ahead, I toss out some Monopoly Money and I joke, “In Dustball Rally WE don’t have to stop at these.”
Cars are honking at me like I just ran over a puppy. “Oh shit! We don’t have the police escort any more, do we?!”
“Ha, guess not!” Marcus deadpans. We toss out another stack. It seems appropriate.
9:15 am We are about tenth in line at a border checkpoint and I have had to piss since the parade around El Paso. The last half hour was something you dream about. We were running full throttle with magnificent automobiles. Accelerating up to a corner, trail braking, hitting an apex, then powering out. The energy was palatable. But now? Now I had to pee. Really, really bad.
“Will you take the wheel? I’m going to piss.” I ask.
“Dude. Horrible idea. They will arrest you.”
“No one ever argues with diarrhea.” I tried think of a better reply, but this seemed like it actually may work, so I decided to use it as I walk up to the Border Patrol.
“HEY RYAN! I spin around and see Tony in the #76 STI. “Ahhh, I thought you were bringing me some Monopoly Money. Damn! Oh, by the way, Andy just got on the CB. He says no one, absolutely no one, is to get out of their car at the check point.”
I promise to give him some fun dough at the next stop.
The Patrol yells out at me, “DO. YOU. HAVE. DRUGS?”
I am a mid 20’s white as can be male, wearing a pilots hat, and pilots sport coat. My mind races at the funny answers I could provide. My better judgment takes hold, I plead the shits, and they let me pass. Seriously though, I may have pissed myself.
9:30 am There’s about a dozen cars lined up in an impromptu car show, fifty feet from some guys getting arrested at the border checkpoint. I share handfuls of Monopoly Money and Mardi Gras beads with a few teams at the absurdity of the situation.
9:31 am I give Tony his allowance of Monopoly Money for the next 150 miles.
10:50 am Our range is 30 miles. We are in the middle of nowhere Texas. Literally. We haven’t seen an anything for about eighty miles. The Rally had just exited the Guadalupe Mountains. The road may have skirted into New Mexico. I honestly couldn’t tell you where we were. Cars were averaging 100 but everyone cut loose smartly and respectfully. When the roads got twisty each team let up a quarter mile so the guys in front of them could give it a run. No one gunned it when they saw oncoming traffic. Still, we made those mountains our personal Dustball Rally Roller Coaster.
There were some new cars running with us. Team Team March Hare in their black #30 Cadillac CTS-V, Team Flying Squirrel in their orange #77 Camaro SS, Team DLR in their crimson #14 Pontiac G8, Team Rojo Rapido in their red #45 Porsche 911 Carrera, Team Costa in their #97 Porsche 997 Turbo… In addition to our teammates in the #26 Vantage and our buddies in the #51 Lambo, #00 Aston, #76 STI, & #96 Bentley Bros.
Team SportsCarHunter sure to introduce everyone new to our Monopoly Money, one by one.
Crazily enough, the #66 Fire Truck is ahead of us leading a two team push with a black rally Dodge Charger.
“How the hell do those two cars get in front of everyone?” I ask.
“They have bigger balls than we do.” Marcus responds.
11:00 am The #77 Camaro SS is sputtering out of gas but we’re u-turning out of the strangest, middle of nowhere, gas station I have ever seen. There are four 87 octane pumps in the middle of a gravel lot. No sense to fill up with low grade when Marcus’ logbook says that there is a city within range. We follow the #00 Aston out.
We see the #66 Fire Truck running back to the strange pumps to fill up a jerry can for the stranded Charger. They’re out too.
11:05 am It’s us and Team W0T’s #00 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster making a speed run to a town called Pecos. We’re both low on fuel, but #00 is driving like he stole it. It’s fun keeping up, but I begin to question our straight six versus his eight cylinder on some of the crossover overtakes.
“We need to build up more momentum than he does.” I remark .
“Or just let him go?” Marcus suggests.
I’m nearly at that point myself, but this was a Dustball veteran, and we had the opportunity to earn some rally stripes. Our “Check Engine Soon” light just came on as well. I ignore the warning and keep the pressure on.
11:30 am We are in Pecos, Texas. It’s about the size of a thumbtack. I make a mental note to Google Map this place when I get home. I can’t do it now, it feels like winning the Powerball when I get two signal bars on my iPhone.
Us and the #00 Aston arealready filled up by the time the rest of the group arrives. I run inside and buy a candy bar and dried kiwi.
“I am so. Freaking. Hungry.” Laments Marcus when I get back to the car.
“Dried kiwi?” I offer.
He looks at me like I am on Bizzare Foods.
“Well, of all the places to try dried kiwi for the first time I think Pecos is a damn fine choice.
He drops a handful of Monopoly Money out the window.
11:40 am The #96 Bentley Bros break off to do some gimmicks with another group of cars. I’m conflicted. It’s going to be tough stay in a lead pack and answer gimmicks at the same time. We commit to answering as many as possible, but it’s hard to argue leaving such a fine group behind. We stick with the original group.
12:45 pm We are pinned in the lead pack of the snake. In front of us is the orange #77 Camaro SS and directly behind us is the silver #97 Porsche 997 Turbo Cabriolet. Somewhere behind the Porsche is the … Who knows, we lost them a half an hour ago when we entered these rolling hills.
The #77 Camaro SS has tires as wide as a Kardashian’s ass and the #97 997 Turbo requires acceleration in the corners to grip the road. Our #85 Z4 3.0si Roadster is like Rudy if he could ever get on the field.
This road is merciless. We can see just far enough ahead to accelerate after every apex and the #27 997 behind us is agile enough to draft us into every corner. I am in full bore sport mode. Marcus has not said a word in fifteen minutes. I put my palm in front of the air conditioning vent on every straight. I am drenched in sweat.
Accelerate. Turn. Tail brake. Full bore. Tail brake. Turn. Up Turn. Down. Turn. Full bore…This goes on for the better part of a half hour.
I think we’re booking it, but can’t be bothered with looking down at the speedometer.We are dead in the water if I take my eyes off what’s ahead. This is some of the most fantastic, balletic, driving I have ever accomplished.
The #85 Z4 didn’t deserve to be nestled in between those orange and silver beasts, but we were damn proud to be driving in a podium group. We are pushing our car and abilities to the absolute limit. “Marcus, make a note to buy a stickier compound tires if we ever did this again.” He taps the logbook and gives thumbs up.
1:45 pm “We have to be getting close to Marfa” I inquire to Marcus.
He takes out the logbook, and cues up the CB. “We’re supposed to be going to Marfa, but that’s definitely nowhere close.” SportsCarHunter’s #26 Vantage is also losing it’s brakes and needs fluid. I pull into a gas station and asses the situation. We’re lost but I’m strangely happy at this. Our handicapped fuel capacity is being negated by each wrong turn. It seems like we are filling up every 100 miles.
Half the pack decides to backtrack and follow the predetermined route, while we stick with what’s left of our DFW clan and pick the most direct path towards our destination.
2:45 pm We’re driving through the strangest topography I have ever seen. It’s like we are on Mars. We are gaining elevation, but the mountains around us are crumbling. We are in a desert, but there’s sparse vegetation. We are at the edge of Big Bend National Park, and all the roads are freshly paved.
In our pack is the #96 Bentley Bros, #00 Aston, #41 335i, #44 Mustang GT, #76 STI, #14 G8, plus in the #26 Vantage / #85 Z4.
It’s a fun group. We are all enjoying the strange, dry, and desolate scenery on roads that are opening up. There are long straits, maybe close to a mile at a time, where we egg each other on, but we can’t see too far to surpass our rally average of 110. We are gaining elevation, as posted signs are telling us of the increasing height of each mountaintop.
2:55 pm We are fourth in the pack, dead middle, when I edge the wheel left and crest a bend. I turn off the radio.
“UHHHHH” is muttered by someone over the CB.
“BLASTOFFFFFFFFFFFFF!!!!!!” another team slowly replies, absolutely awestruck.
We are looking down at a valley with three highway stretches at least five miles long per. Back to back to back. There are no other cars as far as the eye can see for 20 miles.
There is dead silence aside from seven thunderous engines instinctively flooring it.
Never in my life have I experienced a moment like this. Each team staggers into a lane. Right, left, right, left, right, left, right. The faster cars are already up front so no worries there.
2:56 pm I am rattled by the past two miles and pull back. My hands are shaking.
We ease around the first corner. I waste a few moments collecting myself then switch to the left lane after triple checking for no oncoming traffic. 90. 95. 100.
Marcus sits up. He knows what’s about to happen. He begins to coach with one eye on the road, the other on the GPS for speed.
“105”, we are fast approaching the #26 Vantage.
“110. 115. 120. 125.”
We fly past both Aston Martin Vantage Roadsters, back to back.
The second turn is about a mile out and the #44 Mustang GT is about to brake.
“Ease off.” Marcus calmly instructs. “Now edge on the brake…”
The Z4 gets down to the mid 70’s for the turn and takes its place on the far right side. We managed 139 before running out of road.
“139? Why not 140? 140 just rolls off your tongue.” I remark.
“We hit 140. I saw the speedo…we had 145+ on that.” Marcus encouraged.
BMW’s are known for their generous readings at speed. Did we make it? I don’t know. The truth lies somewhere between 139 and overzealous German engineering.
3:02 pm We just covered 20 miles in what seems like three minutes, given our terrain and speed. It’s plain, flat, and in the distance there’s always a decaying mountain.
3:05 pm There’s a twisty up and over a crest ahead, it looks promising.
BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! The detector is going batshit insane. Our entire group was just hit with a Ka Band. There’s a police Suburban passing us in the opposite direction.
I ask, “Did we slow down enough?”
No one can answer for sure over the CB, but the sheriff is pulling a u-turn behind the #76 STI. He’s tailing him.
3:07 pm The sheriff is passing us up now. He’s looking for the lead car, which was Team W0T in the #00 Aston. Yep, he’s pulling him over.
3:09 pm The CB crackles, “YOU BOYS LIKE MEX-EEEE-COOOO?!” It’s the #00 Aston. We’re laughing, relieved that the whole caravan wasn’t pegged at once.
3:15 pm We pull in to a general store. It looks like it’s out of a western. The door to the store says “OUT TO TOWN. BE BACK AT 3:30.”
“Where the HELL is town?” a Bentley Bro asks.
We discuss our options. Continue on the final 100 miles to our anticipated destination in Presidio, TX, or wait for the guys who were pulled over? Someone in the group emphasizes, “They drive fast enough to keep up.”
An elderly lady had just walked outside from the general store as we pull away. “Hahaha! She just lost her only sale of the month!” the CB remarks.
4:00 pm The #44 Mustang GT and #76 STI have pulled away from the rest of the pack. Marcus points out, “We have NO idea where we are going. Those guys seem to at least have a clue. We NEED to catch up with them.” I look ahead and behind us. The rest of the group #96 Bentley Bros,#26 Vantage, and #14 G8. None of us have any idea where to go. I hit the accelerator hard. We had been laying low for 15 minutes. Time to book it.
4:15 pm “Look, over the next turn, it’s the Mustang!” Marcus shouts. We were close to catching up, maybe another mile or so and we’d be with them. Around the next turn, out of nowhere, is a Dustball Rally flag. I park in the lot next to the organizers #07 911, our DFW friends in the #43 Corvette and #44 335i had already been there, even beating the sprinting #44 Mustang GT and #76 STI.
4:16 pm I try tweeting out, “Day 1, Fifth Place” but I have no service. Later on I would be thankful that the message never got out. We had just driven all day with each team respectfully allowing space between cars, signaling at every opportunity, mostly passing when the dotted lines allowed, while always stopping as a group any time there was an issue. This wasn’t a race at all. Yes, we all went fast, but no…this was Dustball Rallying.
4:22 pm We are at Lajitas Resort. This place is incredibly nice. I consider taking a swim in the huge fountain outside everyone’s rooms. “Later” I say to myself.
I was cleaning the car out, dumping out beads and koozies on a bench in front of our room, and then go to meet up with the guys at the bar.
Blake, of the #00 Aston ticket fame, laughs, “How in the hell this place stays profitable is beyond me.” I was thinking the exact same thing.
I’d like to stay in the Cantina longer, but there’s a top speed run sanctioned by the area police department at 4:30 and I already cleared the #85 Z4 completely out aside from a lone GPS.
5:27 pm I find out that the route we took was indeed the wrong way. The correct trip would have taken us through Marfa, down to Presidiio, and over an apparently incredible river road to Lajitas. The top speed run would be back where “Blastoff” occurred. I had tasted 139 before having to pull back and wanted to slay the unicorn. We were going back.
David and James in the #26 Vantage couldn’t go. Brake fluid was spilling into their entire wheel well. An issue like this could sideline them for the entire trip. There was no Aston Martin dealership for hundreds of miles, but they decide to take it to the nearest town, Terlingua, hoping that a garage is open.
5:05 pm The state trooper who pulled over the #00 Aston is speaking to us, “Sixteen miles. You’ll end at Trashcan Hill. When you see the police lights flashing, slow down.”
Marcus and I are wearing our leather racing caps and driving goggles. We are doing this like a real roadster should. The #43 Corvette thinks we are crazy for wanting to do a top speed with the top down. I argue that we hit 139 earlier with it up and it was time for a change. We are the only convertible in the group.
There are a handful of cars with us. There’s the red Range Rover Sport filming, then the orange #77 Camaro, Team Jesus Christ in the blue #32 VW Golf R32, the black #41 335i, us in the black #85 Z4, the silver #43 Corvette, and the black #96 Bentley Bros.
5:21 pm The #44 335i takes off. We’re next. The sheriff walks up to us, “Don’t you boys make my highway messy!” he jokes.
“You do know he’s being dead serious. He doesn’t want to pick up our body parts all over the desert.” Marcus deadpans.
I look over to Andy as he waves the Dustball Flag. The tires are scrubbing the road. The 3.0 lets out a war cry. We are accelerating.
In a flash we cover the first straight, I carry as much speed into the corner as I possibly can, trying my best to imagine little green, yellow, and red Forza triangles on the road. I hit the apex and slide back into the right lane. I want to drive in the center but Marcus constantly reminds me, “Over, right. Over, right.”
He’s letting me attack it. I imagine he’s scared shitless as a passenger doing 120+ without a roof.
We’re in the second straight, this is where we hit our top speed two hours earlier. I‘m giving it everything the car has, but we’ve just gone two straight miles at 139.
“Second corner, ease…brake…brake…BRAKE…go go GO!” I hear in true navigator grandiose.
I want to give it more but I ease up on the final straight. We weren’t going to hit 140. The car had been run to the absolute limit today, and a combination of the top down, the uphill elevation, and the “Check Engine Soon” light was too much for us to gain that extra MPH.
5:28 pm The other teams are showing off their high speeds when we pull in after 16 miles of absolute insanity. 170 for the #41 335I? #43 Corvette got 175? #96 Bentley Bros north of 180?!
5:40 pm I ask Marcus to take the wheel for the first time. I need to ride shotgun for the next 40 miles back to the resort, plus he needs to say he drove.
5:54 pm We are poking along at 85. He’s never driven the Z4 and we’re spending time getting him acclimated to the cars tendencies. All of a sudden there is a screeching howl as a blue spark spits past us.
“What in the HELL was that?” I shout out.
“Team Shchlitzilassshits” Marcus replies.
Team Siebzehn in the #17 Vette Z06 had just passed us like we were standing still. We were going 85.
6:02 pm The Z06 is parked on the right researching a gimmick. One of them runs to the roadside and taps his watch as we coast by – mocking the time discrepancies between our two cars. I am laughing out loud, “Assholes!” but I can see myself doing the same thing.
6:30 pm Marcus has not eaten all day and taps out. I drop him off to continue down the river road we missed earlier in the day.
The road literally snakes alongside a river that signifies the border between the United States and Mexico. Two miles in and I park to take a few photographs. I am in awe.
6:40 pm I am winding along these twisties with a grin so big that my face is hurting. Up, over, right, down, up, left, straight, dip, dip, down, left. I’ve never been on this pavement and I’m edging the line between tentative and audacious. I work my way to a mountaintop and stop at the peak.
A four-person team in a Scion drives by with their windows down. “Stay another half hour and watch the sunset!” He shouts.
6:52 pm Down, right, left, dip, down, up, left, left, up, bridge, right, up, dip.
6:57 pm I am taking more photographs. “There needs to be a Top Gear episode on these roads. Transfagarasan Highway be damned.”
7:20 pm There’s a dead straight ahead of me…maybe a mile. I reckon that I’m a dozen miles from the resort. The road graciously dips three times ahead. I feel no need to speed through it.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” I tell myself “You don’t need to go any further. Leave the rest of the road ahead.”
For the first time in a long, long while, I am content with everything. I know this is going to be one of the moments in my life that I never forget. I say a prayer, write out a note, and take it all in.
I’m getting choked up and decide to walk to the edge of the desert. The car is still running but I don’t even realize it. My mind is on another level. I return to the road and sit on the double yellow line.
7:35 pm The sun sets.
7:40 pm Up, left, dip, right, down, right, right, left, up, dip, up. The moon is rising and I am running away from the daylight. I spot a deer ahead and take the last few miles of the river road easy as I return to the resort.
8:15 pm I’m eating dinner as David, James, and Tony talk cars. I’m still in another place but the first real food of the day tastes amazing but it’s more Mexican. David senses my thoughts, “Dude. No. More. Mexican.” I nod my head in agreement.
10:20 pm The power in Brewster County is on a rolling blackout. The only place in the resort that has a/c is the cantina. It’s packed. Our Team SportsCarHunter koozies are everywhere. David and James are getting hammered talking with the other DFW teams. “Aston butt-love” Marcus jokes.
10:40 pm The #14 G8 newlywed’s buy #76 STI Tony a shot called Cruz Azul, should be called death in a glass. Didn’t even have all the ingredients. Like car, like driver. Tony only does sake bombs.
11:45 pm I’m placing Monopoly Money on every single windshield with a Chance or Community Chest card. I make sure to place the “You Have Won Second Prize in a Beauty Contest” on all the prettiest cars and put “Get Out of Jail Free” cards on everyone who drove super aggressively. Someone has had a similar idea and a third of the cars have fake tickets underneath their wipers. At least I’m not alone.
12:25 am It seems like every single rally team is out on the patio, drinking beer and cracking jokes. There is no power anywhere in the county and the rooms are hotter than hell. This complication, in most circles, would raise tempers across the board. That’s not happening tonight. Dustballers are bonding. Everyone is having the time of their lives.
12:40 am Team #17 in the Vette Z06, Team Siebzehn, is speaking in full German accents and are swimming in the excessively large fountains outside our rooms. Speaking German, wearing Speedos. “Dammit, they beat me to it again, and found a way to make it more European!”
2:05 am We are passed out, cellphones dead, no air conditioning, and no power. Day 1 of the 2012 Dustball Rally was complete.
Thank you for reading “BLASTOFF! The 2012 Dustball Rally Speeds Past Day 1”
Please share this with your friends and check us out on social media.
-Sports Car Hunter Ry
Over the next few weeks, we are going to take you from the genesis of the endurance road trip to the modern international road rally. Each day we will share a bite sized history lesson about the development of this motorsport. We hope that you’ll join us for this absolutely fascinating ride.
This is post 2/5 covering our participation in the 2012 Dustball Rally.
6:00 am My cell phone is shrieking. It seemed like it was still 3am. I made a mental note that last night’s to-do list may have been a little much.
A few hours earlier I crafted an infographic about the event, our team, the competition, and our arsenal. I named it “DIE FEINDEN PILOTEN”, The Enemy Drivers in German, in homage to rally legend Alex Roy’s 7th chapter in “The Driver”. The chapter discusses how Alex meets his fellow Gumball drivers for the first time, the intimidation of the other cars, and the overall uncertainty of rallying for the first time. We were going to experience that same situation today.
6:55 am The DFW drivers are gathering at 7 at a McDonald’s a few miles west of Fort Worth. We’re late. The short ride to the meeting point was an ideal time to explain to Marcus, the black #85 Team SportsCarHunter’s BMW Z4 codriver, the electronics running in the car. Wires are everywhere. This discussion needed to occur.
“This is our radar detector, she has four noises, two of them mean “SLOW THE **** DOWN!”
“This is a CB we used to take on family vacations. It’s from 1991 but still works fine, even though it’s huge.”
“Where is the road map? Wait, you didn’t buy it yet? Required first purchase, we’ll get one on the way.”
So on and so forth. To his credit, Marcus diligently notes each point in his logbook. Good qualities in a navigator.
7:08 am I make a right into the McDonald’s parking lot. There’s barely a place to park. How can this many people want McDonald’s at 7 in the morning? Wait, dead ahead, we size up our competition for the first time:
- The black #41 Team Flat Out BMW 335i…a Panzer of the BMW line. We want these guys as allies guys.
- The blue #76 Team Abilities Unlimited Subaru WRX STI…driven by the least Asian looking man in history.
- The silver #43 Team Radar Love C6 Corvette…American muscle will help in appeasing any fuzz that gets in our way.
- Lastly, there is the sliver blue #00 Team W0T Aston Martin Vantage Roadster that brought the Dustball Rally to our attention a year ago. We meet again.
7:15 am David and James in the black #26 Team SportsCarHunter Aston Martin Vantage Roadster arrives. They’re less awake than we are, but our smiles are the same. Us four walk into the McDonald’s. We are new and first impressions are everything…
7:20 am The final car makes it to the meet up. It’s the silver #44 Team Four Horsemen’s Ford Mustang GT. Should I make a joke about the American muscle being slow to the start? No. That would be an example of a BAD first impression. I stay quiet.
Our Z4 wasn’t going to win any drag races OR endurance races for that matter. Our gas tank holds a paltry 13 gallons. We are going to be lucky to hit a fuel range of 300 miles. That Mustang can probably double that. We’re definitely rookies.
7:25 am The group shuffles out to the gas station across the street. Already I feel a certain glow being around these asphalt maniacs. Everyone is excited. We select a common CB and handset radio frequency, take a few photos, and continue to judge everyone else’s ride. I think to myself “The two Aston’s will make for some great photos.”
There was plenty of time to stage pictures later, and Marcus said it best with, “Let’s get the hell out of here, we have a rally to catch.”
His door slams shut as I hit the ignition and put the car into sport. The #85 Z4 is leading the DFW Dustball snake out of the first gas station. Damn this feels good.
7:35 am Seven fast cars are tearing west. I catch myself being too eager and brag, “Maybe we are going a little TOO fast for these veterans.”
7:40 am All of a sudden, just like in one of those weird Japanese anime shows, there is a screeching howl as a blue spark spits past us. It’s the blue #76 Subaru WRX STI. He wants to race.
We could do this, right? Our composed German straight six pedigree versus a whiny four cylinder with a turbo?
The road was clear and Subaru’s horn made the decision for us:
I am planting the gas pedal inversely into the floor. The wind is loud with the top down but it is drowned out by the Japanese Zero-like screech of ninja laced octane exhaust from the Subaru’s tailpipes. We are losing. Badly.
I lean over to Marcus, “Ouch. That is no ordinary WRX. That’s a Dustball Rally veteran’s WRX.”
We pull even with the #76 STI and smile, pissed off. I ease off the gas. This is my obvious cue to step back, as I’ve kindly been told, “The regulars are going to set the pace from here on out.”
I oblige. So much to learn and only 450 miles left to figure it out before El Paso.
7:42 am As a consolation, we decide to introduce our secret weapon for the first time. I gun the accelerator and we pass the #76 STI, cut him off quickly, and with all four hands release a stack of Monopoly Money. That duel may have taken our pride, but no one else had a pastel Fort Knox in their trunk.
Tony, the driver of the #76 STI, would later remark, “I thought you guys were losing all your shit at first - then I realized you were throwing Monopoly Money at me! That’s AWESOME! I couldn’t see SHIT! How can I get some??”
He immediately went from enemy to compatriot. Die Feinden Piloten be damned.
7:55 am The radio squawks. “A car has lost its brakes…” I pull over, surprised. Other teams want to help out a failed car? This seems rare from the rally research we had done.
Lo and behold it’s our other half in the #26 Aston. Their lone Maryland license plate is hanging on by a single rattling screw. If that plate falls off then the car is running absolutely unlicensed.
I say to Marcus, “We stick with this group as much as we can. They’ve got our backs and we’ve only known them an hour.”
He makes a notation in the logbook.
Someone quickly pulls out a few zip ties and patches the plate up. Genius!
A new precedent has been set. When a Dustballer is struggling, you put on your hazards and lend a hand.
10:00 am We are in Big Spring, Texas; 230 miles west of Fort Worth. We just covered four and a half hours of normal driving in two and a half hours –including a lengthily stop to reattach a license plate AND a rest stop for all the coffee drinkers. Damn.
…Abilene…Midland…Odessa… The miles seem to be ticking away. Going west in this part of Texas is dull. If you’ve driven it then you know the feeling. The silver #43 Team Radar Love C6 Corvette had cautioned earlier in the day, “It’s a place where Halliburton trucks will pass you if you aren’t going 100.”
The mathematical side to rallying really is against everyone NOT in the lead pack. For every minute someone is driving 10 mph faster than you, you must go 20 mph to catch up. 15 minutes of laying low can set a team back miles.
We are all sticking in a pack and time and again the #76 STI proves that is no fluke. The #41 335i? Lost. The #00 Vantage? Lost. I chuckle at this, and throw some more Monopoly Money into the wind.
10:30 pm Marcus turns to me, “Do you realize that, even with a few stops, our travel time to El Paso is going to be ridiculous?”
I reply, “In order to keep up with whoever is in the lead, we WILL have to throw our speed limit integrity out the window. Dustballers haul ass.”
Immediately as I say this, a white Ford Crown Victoria edges neatly onto the highway – just in front of the #46 Corvette who may or may not have been pushing 40 over.
The radio blares:
“How fast were we going?”
“Is that unmarked?!”
“SLOW DOWN JACKASSES!”
After driving 4,000 miles in the last few weeks dealing with our Z4’s seemingly countless issues, I became pretty good at spotting each states’ cruisers.
“Marcus, that’s an old couple going under the speed limit. Let’s get our shit straight. Pull out the binoculars you bought in case this happens again.”
Marcus rummages around to find his specialized binoculars, and makes an entry in the logbook.
10:45 am We are just west of Odessa and something interesting is happening. The route…it’s beginning to turn pretty. This wasn’t what I was expecting…or was it? Wide open roads. Clear blue skies. Friendly driving. Funny radio chatter.
Was the purpose of rallying really to beat everyone else? What about taking in new sights and landscapes? What about sharing the road with other petrol heads in gorgeous cars?
I turned to Marcus, “This is what we came for.”
2:45 pm We’re stopping in tiny Van Horn, Texas. The driver of the #00 Aston, Blake, wants to go to a restaurant named “Chuy’s”. Apparently it’s Hall of Famer John Madden’s de facto rest stop on trips out this way.
We are hungry and are open to anything at this point, but this town looks like it’s on the dusty set of Rango.
As soon as the cars are parked, locals begin asking us questions, “What kind of car is that?!”
“Aston Martin. Here’s a koozie.”
I’m too hungry to carry on a conversation, and I leave all the talking to David and James. They’re in a chatterbox mood anyway.
This restaurant was obviously famous at some point. Say 1994? There is fan memorabilia of every pro and college team you can think of, but it’s all covered in a layer of fine dust. Unfortunately the décor does not make up for my beef tacos.
3:00 pm I quietly apologize to a future toilet that is bound to hate me.
3:10 pm I walk to the back wall and place one of our Dustball Rally stickers on the door.
3:15 pm I want to get to El Paso immediately and these guys are taking far too long. The front emblem on our #85 Z4 has fallen off. The auto body shop must have forgotten to lock it in place. I sigh, thankful to even have a car after hitting a deer nine days ago.
Marcus speaks up, “We are 125 miles away from BMW of El Paso and they close in two hours”
I ask, “Do you think we’ll make it?”
“Dude, this is Dustball Rally. Anything is possible. Let’s patch it up with our stickers; at least we’ll have Free Parking.” He took out his logbook, and began to crunch the numbers. I place two more stickers on the hood.
I peel the car out in a shower of gravel and park at the gas station down the street. I leave a handful of Monopoly Money as tip on top of the pump, and then look over to the #00 Aston and laugh. There’s a green $20 bill wedged in his front grill. “No easy way to get that out” I say to myself. Still, there’s something uncannily funny about seeing high end sports cars with Monopoly Money all over them. I ask Marcus to document our hits in the logbook.
4:00 pm I ask, “Don’t you think the CB has been a little quiet lately?”
Marcus replies, “Man, it hasn’t made a noise all day long.
This doesn’t add up. I take the vintage CB and examine it. The outside antenna had been unplugged this whole trip. I plug it in and the first thing we hear is, “DO YOU BOYS LIKE MEX-I-COOO?”
We’re laughing our asses off. Did we really just drive 550 miles missing out on this banter? I suggest to Marcus that we crack everyone else up by explaining our quietness.
“No, we are not doing that. That’s a rookie mistake. Awful. We can’t be that dumb. Too embarrassing dude. Too embarrassing.”
“I agree.” The topic is never brought up again.
4:30 pm These drivers in El Paso are bold. Very bold. As in, “If I don’t get past you I will be deported” bold. We had been running a lean and mean horsepower parade all day and no one in the DFW snake is in the mood for congestion.
4:40 pm All of a sudden a police siren wails and the #00 Aston starts splitting traffic like the Red Sea. We are minutes from the hotel, but watching these cars attack El Paso traffic is something else.
“Oh shit!” Marcus exclaims, as the #00 Aston and #76 STI mount shoulder to get past a reluctant pickup truck. Dust is flying EVERYWHERE. I try to get close enough to continue the pass but the lane closes fast. SportsCarHunter’s #26 Vantage and #85 Z4 stick together, making moves in tandem wherever we can. I say to no one in particular, “Maybe this traffic isn’t so bad after all?”
5:00 pm We arrive at the hotel in downtown El Paso in extraordinary time. Thanks to a heads-up from the black #15 Team Saint Mini in the Clubman S, we were able to stay in the same location as a few other teams that had arrived earlier in the day from different destinations.
5:05 pm The DFW cars are driving into the tiny parking garage one by one. Each car is revving out a few octaves in the confined tunnel for sheer pleasure. These walls sound marvelous. I throw a few green $20’s out the window in appreciation of the hotels new found acoustics.
5:20 pm Now that we’re checked in, Marcus and I decide to drive over to BMW of El Paso to pick up our replacement badge. It won’t match the slick carbon fiber on the rest of the roundels, but we reason that it’s appropriate to have the Bavarian flag at the forefront of our rally car.
6:00 pm I park in the hotel for a second time and run into a few new Dustballers. I see #17 Team Saint Mini’s driver, Rob. He had given me a great overview on the rally a few weeks back. I’m glad to see him again. He introduces me to his wife. I immediately remark, “She’s your codriver?” What a keeper!”
I meet two happy go lucky guys from North Dakota, Team Firestarter, who are driving the red #66 fire truck. They seem like genuine gear head goofballs. I ponder, “Their truck isn’t a threat, so I might as well find some people to share a beer with, right?” I like them and pass out a handful of koozies.
7:10 pm Team SportsCarHunter is late as hell to the Dustball Rally Auto Show. We are 20 minutes in the wrong direction. Marcus is quietly fuming, jotting notes in the logbook.
He remarks, “Sorry for the navigation issues.”
“No worries, buddy, we’ve never been here before. This stuff happens all the time.”
“No. Unacceptable navigational behavior. Won’t happen again.”
I get the feeling that he is taking our Dustball Rally German persona to heart. “Let’s see what happens when he meets the blue #17 Corvette C5 Z06 driven by Team Siebzehn” I whisper to myself.
7:30 pm I park the #85 in line with the other rally cars. The #26 Aston does the same.
I start to unload our war chest all over the car. I am tossing stacks of Monopoly Money in circles around the car. The ground around me looks like a bulimic Candyland. I take out a few dozen koozies and stickers and throw them on the hood. Lastly, I place Mardi Gras beads on every surface I can find…and put them on all the nearby cars. Reality sets in. We will be in New Orleans in three days.
All this time Marcus, David, and James had been sizing up the competition.
- The Camaro’s eyes are sleek.
- The pack of Mustangs will be formidable.
- The Lambo has an aftermarket twin turbo.
- The Bentley driver and navigator are bros, henceforth they will be known as the Bently Bros.
- The Porsches…what I would give to see them go around the Texas Hill Country.
- The WRX STI is doing sake bombs all by itself in the corner. It’s tired from kicking everyone’s ass this morning.
An engine roars as a classic silver Mustang pulls into the parking lot. It sounds like hell on wheels. Before I melt, I take a photo.
Immediately after, a red Ferrari 458 Italia parks nearby. I am in awe.
An F-150 shows up with a “KATRINA SURVIVOR” sign. The truck is covered from the doors down with a blue tarp, signifying a flood. The passengers are paddling from the bed of the truck while simultaneously throwing out Mardi Gras beads. How dare they steal our idea! I grab a magazine of beads from our windshield and launch them back at the stranded hurricane survivors. I hit one guy in the face. I’m an ass for doing it, but he had it coming. If they want to start war, I’m confident that we have more ammunition.
7:45 pm A television crew is filming a segment for the El Paso news and the blue #17 C5 Corvette Z06 team is in full Berlin Wall mode. They are wearing cut off jean shorts, boots, and driving gloves. I recognize these imposters from my Die Feinden Piloten research the previous night. It’s Team Siebzehn – the OTHER German aficionados.
Just as I predicted, Marcus is pissed. He degrades, “Herr Asshats! They aren’t even driving Bavarian. Nor are they blonde!” I tell him to make a note in the logbook that he isn’t either.
8:00 pm Team #85 is one of the last teams to grab a seat at Famous Dave’s, a motor-inspired barbecue restaurant. We place our orders as the black #07 Porsche 911 Team DeansList.US Andy and his wife Leandra, the organizers of the 2012 Dustball Rally, give us the first directions and gimmick packet.
They are telling us to obey the signs, drive safely, and to choose our spirited driving wisely. He mentions that the Dustball was not a race, but a rally. We oblige them with applause, but his smirk implies that he is aware of what already occurred today.
8:45 pm A film crew is taping team introductions. Some are funny while others are cute couples celebrating honeymoons. A few teams even stage a pseudo song/poetry battle. They are going by team number and we are #85. I don’t expect anyone to pay attention to us, but we say hello accordingly. It’s obvious we’re new.
9:30 pm We get up to leave. I place an extra tip of pastel yellow $100’s on our table and on the Famous Dave’s wooden bear at the entrance. Already my mind is racing towards what is to happen over the next few days. I admonish myself to “Stop racing to answers, you’ll be rallying towards them tomorrow.”
The time of departure in our information packet read “Police escort, tomorrow morning. 7:00 am.” I make a mental note to have Marcus write this in the logbook.
Thank you for reading “The Car Rally Hasn’t Even Started, and We’re Doing What?! - SportsCarHunter’s Day Before the Dustball Rally”
Please share this with your friends and check us out on social media.
-Sports Car Hunter Ry
Over the next few weeks, we are going to take you from the genesis of the endurance road trip to the modern international road rally. Each day we will share a bite sized history lesson about the development of this motorsport. We hope that you’ll join us for this absolutely fascinating ride.
This is post 1/5 covering our participation in the 2012 Dustball Rally.
This spring we discussed the history of rallying. Starting with the legendary Cannonball Baker we covered a variety of topics from the REAL Cannonball Run to how a failed F1 bid started an open road renaissance. From May to July we saw:
- The Gumball 3000 go from New York to Los Angeles
- The GoldRush Rally take their first flight from Las Vegas to Atlanta
- The Bullrun fund the police departments of the entire western United States
These rallies gave us mouth watering photos, videos, and cars to debate. We asked, “What would be YOUR ideal rally car?” We had a great time covering those trips but it was not enough. We needed to experience this ourselves.
We Were Meant to Really
Sports Car Hunter is based in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas – where the sunny weather is a sports car heaven. With that said, fast cars really aren’t anything special in this area of the United States. On an afternoon in fall 2011, I spotted an Aston Martin Vantage Roadster. A great car? Yes. Super special? No. This Aston was different though. It looked mean. Why? It had been on the Dustball Rally.
A few months later, in the winter of 2012, buddies stopped by to watch Love the Beast over pizza and beer. Standard stuff really. Before we started the film I put on some classic Bullrun montages, the latest GoldRush installment, a few Gumball 3000 books… All the NORMAL things on a car lovers shelf, right?
All of a sudden one of the guys yelled out, “HOLY SHIT, THAT’S MY 7-SERIES!!” Sure enough, when we slowed the video down, the BMW that rally extraordinaire Richard Rawlings drove in the Bullrun was indeed the car in question. Rawlings must have sold the car post-rally and, low and behold, it fell into our hands.
Some crazy times were had in that Bavarian beast! It all made sense to us now - rallying was in that BMW’s DNA and the bug had been passed on to all of us. Our next seven months would be spent planning how to make rallying (already absurd) crazier (by adding us).
Our Right to Bear Arms
Within a few weeks our entry forms were submitted to the 2012 Dustball Rally from El Paso, Texas to New Orleans, Louisiana. It was in our back yard for crying out loud! It was all we talked about.
In time our group would hit a few roadblocks and fell to three cars. Nevertheless we had a great alliance of automotive power: an Aston Martin, a BMW, and a Lexus. With our driving team three deep, we had to weaponize it appropriately. We would pick up a number of expensive and evasive countermeasures – but those sorts of items are standard to any aggressive driver. For the 2012 Dustball, we had to think outside the box.
When we realized the rally ended in New Orleans, we pictured Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras beads flying everywhere. Team Sports Car Hunter immediately ordered 3,600 Mardi Gras necklaces. Yes, you read that right, three thousand and six hundred.
We bought Blue, Red, and Silver for the United Kingdom’s Aston Martin – Black, Red, and Gold for the German’s BMW – Red and Silver for the Japanese’s Lexus. These had no purpose other than our faith that the rally would be more fun with 3,600 necklaces at our disposal.
Next we placed an order for 200 koozies. Given that our teams consisted of former fraternity men this was a no brainer. No event should EVER fall victim to warm beer. Our college studies taught us that koozies + cold beer = happy ralliers. We would not disappoint.
The third item in our arsenal would be 250 SportsCarHunter stickers. Why? Because rallies offer a unique opportunity for brands to expand their influence across thousands of miles. We love posting ridiculously fast cars on social media and want to do more of it. The rally was a great opportunity to find a few more speed freaks! Their cars would join our cause.
Finally, the coup de grace of our war chest – Monopoly Money. Now this may not make sense to many people NOT on the 2012 Rally. That’s fine and I promise, you WILL understand if you read this post and our subsequent Rally Recap articles later this week.
Speed Past Go and Collect $200
With the economy being ruined by Toyota Prius’, America is in dire need for a hero. I nominate Rich Uncle Pennybags. Why? Because Rich Uncle Pennybags is too rich to care about all those bad things on the news.
We all need a Rich Uncle Pennybags to take us by the hand and say, “Stop caring about the world falling apart, relax a little, here’s $200 for passing GO – have a nice day!”
In the crazy world of rallying this makes COMPLETE sense. Drivers are going too fast to care. A snake of eight sports cars cuts off a minivan on two lane road? Sorry, we’re in a rally. Our bad. Going the wrong way on a one way street? Sorry, we’re in a rally. Our bad. Police blockade along your morning commute. Sorry, we’re in a rally. Our bad.
Without getting into too much detail – I went ahead and collected $1,000,000 worth of Monopoly Money over the course of seven months. That’s 60+ games worth, over 10,000 individual pieces of pastel paper. We had about 75 stacks off 200 bills each going into the rally. We were going to use it as big confetti every time we hit a 100 mph. It was an idea so silly that there was no way anyone could get mad at us for it.
Why did we get tens of thousands of mardi gras beads, koozies, stickers, and Monopoy Money? Why the hell not! We embraced the excess, simply because Dustball Rally.
Two Days Before El Paso
On Monday July 31st, 2012 we placed our rally vinyls in a 120+ degree garage. The #26 Aston Martin Vantage Roadster looked mean, taking a cue from the racing team with a Le Man’s snarl.
It was a miracle the #85 BMW Z4 3.0si Roadster even made it to Texas. It had just survived a five week-long, 3,000 mile, ordeal of engine rebuilds and deer mauling – literally hitting a deer on a Pennsylvania highway a week before the rally start.
Unfortunately our #25 Lexus had to back out at the last minute. No matter, we had two rally cars prepped and ready for action.
The next day our team, plus five other DFW cars, were driving 500 miles to the start line in El Paso.
Check in tomorrow for Post 2/5 - DIE FIENDEN PILOTEN and the night before the 2012 Dustball Rally!
Thank you for reading: Merging the Absurd (Rallying) with Us (Crazy) - Team SportsCar Hunter Joins a Rally #RallyPulse
Please share this with your friends and check us out on social media.
-Sports Car Hunter Ry