It was while talking with Tony Cohen, founder of American Car Imports, inside his supercharged and specially modified 462bhp 2006 Ford Mustang GT Coupe that I began to realise this was no ordinary press trip.
Moments later my suspicions were confirmed when we were interrupted so an impressively endowed unnatural redhead could flaunt herself across his bonnet (much to the pleasure of xx chromosomes everywhere). For me this was when I truly realised I was in the middle of the Gumball Rally 2006.
The reason for my attendance (along with the creature known as Spode, the Bit-tech boys and Rich, our web design guru who you all have to thank for the site’s incredible performance improvements) was ALK Technologies creators of Co-Pilot Live. In collaboration with long time buddy T-Mobile the GPS software developer had rather wisely decided to sponsor this year’s racing chaos.
As a result the geeks (and yours truly) found ourselves knee deep in Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, Mercs, Jags, BMWs, Porches, Nobles, Astons and just about every flavour of US muscle car ever to adorn a 14… ah hem, 29 year old’s bedroom wall. The funky part – apart from the cars themselves, the scantily clad models, weird and wonderful amalgamation of celebrities (Gold Lookin’ Chain talking to Martine McCutcheon, Tim Westwood talking with Bam Margera and Jodie Kidd desperately trying to talk with me) and the constant paparazzi attention from photographers who thought I was in the race (I did little to suggest otherwise) – was that every entrant had been supplied with a T-Mobile smartphone and CoPilot Live software to track their location during the race.