May 1, 2002

Gumball 3000: Update #5
Article and Photos by: Jeremy Master

Mercifully, the last day of the Gumball 3000 started later than the others. With the last leg being just the relatively short drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles, the official start was 12:00 noon.

That being said, the local authorities were well prepared for the start, with two police helicopters waiting overhead to follow the drivers. It seemed like we saw as many or more cops along the route as we had seen on any of the five days.

One of the more notable law enforcement experiences came when nearly 15 cars - ourselves not included - stopped at a gas station only to find themselves barricaded-in within a matter of seconds by a group of police cruisers. The reason they were given was "suspicion of speeding", although only one driver was actually given a ticket. This was no minor ticket, however, with a price tag of $5,000.

Rolling into the Los Angeles area we soon found out how angry LA drivers can get with yelling and gestures. It goes without saying that there are potentially dangerous situations waiting for show-off drivers on LA freeways. Some of the first drivers bragged about slaloming through the HOV lane and other bouts of fairly reckless driving. One driver told us later that after being pulled over a cop demanded that he call the event organizer to have the Gumball shut down! Give me a break.

Most teams started arriving after three, and together with the APR team we came in around position 70 for the day. We can brag that we did not pick up any tickets on the drive. Several reporters showed up for interviews, as did onlookers interested in the cars. As per custom, drivers milled around and swapped stories from the day

As evening approached drivers were off to find their tuxedos or formal dresses for the final party of the event. It was at this point that the first notable celebrity was actually seen; Cory Feldman was present. He was dressed in a late 80's style blue suit with sunglasses and he stood out in the crowd of people that had built up a rapport over the last week.

This particular party, besides being the final one, was particularly alluring because of the venue: the Playboy Mansion. Busses were arranged to transport everyone to the party. Once on the property we were allowed to venture around the entire property except the main house. Playboy Bunnies would offer tours of the grounds, including the game room, grotto, and animal areas.

As the evening rolled on, Steve-O and his entourage from Jackass showed up, as did Rachael Hunter. There were undoubtedly other celebs in attendance too.

Everyone gathered in the tent later in the evening for the awards ceremony in categories such as "spirit". All through the night people continued to look back over the madness of the past week and swap their stories. The party came to a close around 2:00 a.m., bringing with it an end to the week's activities. It goes without saying that it will be difficult for some of us more normal folks to get back to everyday life. We can't all be Gumballers day-in and day-out.

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