So, having taken the plunge and emailed my contact, it was a waiting game. I can be very impatient sometimes and although it had been over a decade since I first made it a goal to enter the Gumball 3000, it was as if every hour that went by waiting for a response felt like forever, asking myself questions like – had the email been received? If so, had it gone into their junk? If it had been read, had it been laughed off as a no hoper?!
I needn’t have worried. Much to my delight, my contact responded the next day, at which point I realised they were no longer a PA but, instead, in charge of organising the entire event… They promised to send some information over to me to read and, if I had any questions, to let them know.
We then arranged drinks to catch up the following week, at Beach Blanket Babylon in Notting Hill. 6 years after I last saw them we had a great evening, chatting about all sorts of topics. Around an hour in, suddenly I was told entrants are ‘vetted’ because “we can’t afford to have a group of ‘Gumballers’ who don’t get on”. That made sense, before I then started to wonder “am I worthy of being a Gumballer?! I had never thought of that!”
We then talked through the administration that goes into the Rally, including some stories about the organisational nightmares some countries can create for getting cars through immigration. What I also did not realise until that point was that, where possible, all the ‘Gumballers’ are booked into the same hotel, sharing a room with their co-drivers; that’s 100 rooms per night, every night for seven days. No mean feat I must say.
After a couple more cocktails I had to leave for a late dinner on the King’s Road and so I explained how much I appreciated the time they had taken to meet me and asked what the next steps were. They agreed to send me the entry forms and we could take it from there. As I walked to my car, I could feel the excitement bubbling inside me… this might actually happen!