Following our interview with Gumball founder Maximillian Cooper, Only Motors resident supercar nut went down to London’s Regent to watch as the Miami-to-Ibiza rally brought the centre of the capital to a standstill.
The weather on Sunday might have had something to do with the electric atmosphere in the nation’s capital. But I’m going to make a bold statement – I think a bunch of millionaires (and the rest! – #JC) driving supercars across the world had more to do with it.
“How can that be!?” comes the cry from the non-motoring public (who probably won’t be reading this).
Well how about this;
Sat in the Rainforest Café with my six year old, the waiter asked if we were going to watch the “racing” cars.
Walking around Hamleys, the featured displays happened to be themed towards the four-wheeled attractions outside the door. They were also three-deep with excited money spenders.
A couple of police officers preparing for a royal parade down the Mall were excitedly discussing which supercars they’d seen so far down Regent Street.
Lining the closed-off route on Regent Street hours – yes hours – before the Gumballers were due to arrive from Edinburgh were ‘real’ people. Not race fans, not supercar fans, not celeb spotters, and probably not people who’d ever heard of the Gumball3000.
These people were members of the public; just the sort of people events like the Gumball need to attract, and just the sort of people who hold the key to closed road bills for motorsport events.
Now I’ve probably upset the purists, who don’t accept the Gumball as a true motorsport event, and who are now about to check their Facebook rather than reading on. But before you find out what Auntie Sue had for tea, believe me – I’m a motorsport purist too.
I’ve driven race and rally, and I’ve been to closed road motorsport events where public support has been questionable – at best. So whether or not you see the Gumball as motorsport, the public interest at the weekend in London was a welcome sight, and one which I hope will have been seen by councils up and down the UK.
There is something about supercars that gets people excited – me included. Max Cooper and his band of Gumballers have harnessed that power for good, somehow presenting a bunch of wealthy petrolheads as role models.
My six year old was certainly inspired – he thinks I should do the Gumball next year. So do I.