It's Not a Race, It's a Rally!

This is the video that started it all! In April of 2003, our local car club, International Motorsports, heard that the Gumball 3000 Rally was driving from San Francisco to Miami. We knew nothing about the Gumball other than the fact there would be several exotics driving south on either I-75 or I-95. After this day though, we learned the ways of "Gumballing."

Our car club was full of 300, 400 and 500 horsepower vehicles. Unfortunately most of the owners were either too busy or too lazy to meet up at 10 AM in Gainesville, on Tuesday, April 22. One owner of a White 1994 Toyota Supra with 'BPU' modifications did show up however; his name was "Mook." Joining us in our parade up I-75 to I-10 was a 1988 Nissan 300ZX Turbo, a turbocharged 1991 Nissan Sentra, and a Chevy C5 Corvette. Absent were the Single Turbo Supras, 11 second DSMs and our resident Mustang guy "Jimmy" who drove a 500 hp 03 Cobra.

The small caravan of vehicles drove north and west to I-10 to intercept all Gumball cars entering Florida. I-75 or I-95 could have been their route to Miami, but we had no idea which way they would go. Around 11:00 AM we stopped about 5 miles west of I-75 on I-10 at a local McDonalds to grab some grub. Sometime near mid-day, after waiting an eternity for any sports car to drive by, we see a pair of white Ford sedans with Gumball stickers pull into the parking lot of the burger joint. Turns out they were the advance film crew! To our amazement, they told us that the next checkpoint was the Hooters Restaurant in Ocala, about 30 minutes south of Gainesville. We were relieved and ecstatic, to finally get confirmation that we were not wasting our time waiting by the highway! Our group proceeded further west on I-10 and circled around to the eastbound shoulder of the Interstate. There we waited and waited. So long it seemed.

About 1:15 PM we start seeing some cars. A standard Porsche, a 355 Ferrari, a Mitsubishi SUV, and an H2 Hummer. Rasa, the current Producer of IMV Films, and Sav the current Director hop into Mook's White Supra and take off after a strange looking blue car called a Morgan Aero 8. We floor it up to the window of the Morgan and ask the driver, "How far back is everyone?" He tells us most people are worried about the cops and a helicopter that have been prevalent during the run through Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and into the Florida Panhandle. We floor it past them up to triple digit speeds for a quick test run, then return to our small group on the side of the highway.

More time passes along with a few other Gumball Cars. Finally we see a car worthy of a good roll race against the Supra - a red Dodge Viper with 2 chicks behind the wheel doing 110 mph. Everyone jumps into a vehicle and takes off after the women in the Viper. We give chase for a few miles on I-10, and the pack merges south onto the familiar long stretch of I-75 near Lake City. Several cars try and instigate a race with the Viper, but the blonde driver claims she can't speed due to a few tickets earlier in the day, so she simply maintains a steady 100mph. Not bad for the British Supermodel Jodie Kidd!

About 2 miles north of the Lake City Exit, we stop at a highway overpass and park on the side of I-75. We decide to wait until the likes of a Lamborghini or the famous Ferrari F50 drive by us. We are confident that no other car will match the fun potential of these supercars, so we wait.

Sitting high atop the concrete bridge support for the overpass, Mook scans the horizon with a pair of binoculars. Sometime after 2 PM a silver oval shape reflects some light in the distance. The object is moving at a higher rate of speed than any of the previously encountered vehicles. Mook yells out to us, "It's a silver car! It's FAST!" The object becomes visible. A Porsche. The following video is what ensues:

So goes the famous Gumball video, "It's Not A Race It's a Rally!" Turns out that the helicopter was actually a Gumball film chopper! Rumors were that there was police helicopter somewhere(?) Jimmy had the opportunity to drive out to I-75 after we had run out of fuel in the Supra. He had left a prior job that day in anticipation of his new field of work, and took the time to drive the Cobra out to race Rob Kenworthy (Lonman in the GT-2) from Gainesville to Ocala. Unfortunately, upon spotting the car on the highway, Rob's right-hand drive GT-2 and his "left" seat female passenger were enough to confuse Jimmy just long enough to give Lonman the jump and eventually pull away from the Cobra. Sadly the traffic and police presence was enough to limit Lonman's willingness to drive fullout the rest of the way to Hooters. Ah well, there would be another time for Jimmy to drive Gumball style!

We loved every second of that day. Our associate producer "Davian" of IMV Films decided to skip an eye doctor's appointment, miss an exam, and call into work on the first day - all to experience the Gumball. He rode shotgun in the 1988 300 ZX Turbo doing 140 mph behind the Supra and GT-2, which were far off in the distance. Both Rasa and Davian sent in their footage to London for the 2003 motion picture, "Gumball 3000: The Movie." The film premiered in February 2004 at the Mann's Chinese Theater in LA. We all attended in mass, and made a very important contact there: Torquenstein (a.k.a. Jerry Reynolds of Usenet fame) and his red Hennessey 650R Viper. He had signed up for the 2004 Gumball Rally and needed a film crew. After watching the premier on the big screen, he decided to hire IMV Films.

- Sav C., Director, IMV Films

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