I can still to this day remember when I first saw the film The Cannonball Run as a young boy. It had a marked effect on me as I dreamed about how exciting life might just be once I was old enough to hold a driving license. The thing that really got my attention was the opening scene with the Lamborghini Countach red-lining it’s V12 engine through the gears and speeding off along a completely straight American road against a backdrop of warm sunshine. The screaming note of that incredible engine still lives with me.
It wasn’t long before a poster of that Lamborghini Countach adorned my bedroom wall and I couldn’t look at it without imagining that iconic high-revving engine note. In fact, when I watched the film recently I still couldn’t help but watch that first scene several times before finally being able to move on and enjoy the rest of the film. The comical and wacky road race that followed was exactly how I thought my life would turn out. I thought that I would be a Burt Reynolds equivalent and drive with such cunning that I’d always be a step ahead no matter what. Needless to say my life didn’t work out like that. I’m not sure that many people’s did.
Obviously, since childhood, I have grown up a little and have since realised that life isn’t all about crazy, hedonistic, petrol-fuelled, road trips surrounded by incredible cars and week-long parties. Or is it? The Cannonball 2000 motoring event holds a special appeal to people like me because it fulfils a seemingly impossible dream. That childhood motoring fantasies can happen. For real.
Who wouldn’t want to spend 5 days driving across two thousand miles of incredible European scenery? Enjoying wild nights staying in luxurious hotels, visiting exclusive nightclubs and top restaurants?
The Cannonball 2000 unsurprisingly takes it’s name from the legendary film but the name isn’t just being used purely for marketing purposes. The ethos of the event mimics the film with it’s carnival mentality and submerges you in an experience that it will leave you with friends for life and memories to last a lifetime. When you return home and tell your friends and family about the Cannonball 2000 event there will be no need to exaggerate what happened, in fact you might well want to tame it down a little to something closer to the PG rating of the film itself.
To get everyone in the right frame of mind the official launch party took place recently at Amika Mayfair with a host of stars, a party atmosphere and a Ferrari 458 Italia parked neatly outside.
Celebrities attending the event included Ricky Hatton who is already signed up to drive his Bentley GT and Emmerdale star Kelvin Fletcher who plays Andy Sugden is also running although we’re not sure on which car he is driving as yet. Party goers at the event rubbed shoulders with many other stars such as Ryan Thomas who played Jason Grimshaw in Coronation Street and Philip Oliver who was famed for playing ‘Tinhead’ in Brookside.
Performance Direct Promo Girl Michelle Westby turned up to the event in slightly unusual style as she was chauffeured in a Radical SR3 SL, the new open-top Street Legal racer. She’s lucky her hair was still in place when she turned up. It is either a testament to what hair spray can achieve or how slowly the London traffic actually moves. I’m not certain as to which.
The London launch party very much summed up what’s in store from the 5 days of the 2012 Cannonball 2000 event. In 99 days time the first supercar will turn it’s wheels and cross the start line on the way out of the London. So what can you expect from the event?
Day One, 5th September 2012. This monumental event starts from Park Lane with the convoy of expensive metal heading down to Portsmouth to get the ferry to St Malo.
Day Two, 6th September 2012. The longest leg of the journey shifts the rally from St Malo to the ultra trendy Hotel Arts on the beachfront. The catering should certainly be far more than adequate at the Carpe Diem Lounge Club with the following beach party due to last until the early hours.
Day Three, 7th September 2012. Departing after breakfast, the convoy will make it’s way across the French Riviera, through Cannes, St Tropez and Nice, before arriving in the Mecca for many a racing fan – Monte Carlo. The luxurious Monte Carlo Bay hotel will be providing accommodation and dinner before moving the party onto the world famous Jimmy’s nightclub.
Day Four, 8th September 2012. Leaving from France to head to Italy along a beautiful coastal road reminiscent of the film ‘The Italian Job’. With the Italian Grand Prix in Milan that weekend the city will be teeming with motoring fans and the excitement that only Formula One can bring. The Westin Palace Hotel will be providing accommodation with dinner and partying provided at the Just Cavalli Cafe. As it’s GP weekend you’ll be sure to see a few famous faces there and possibly a motoring hero or two.
Day Five, 9th September 2012. Set off for the final destination in Paris to the exquisite Westin Paris Vendome hotel for drinks and the awards reception. Then onto the famed Buddha Bar for dinner and to party the night away.
Day Six and for the rest of your life. Depart at your leisure then spend many years recounting hedonistic stories of this out-and-out party road trip to friends, colleagues and family, all of whom will look at you with jealousy as you recount a story with enough twists and turns to base a movie on.
As they say on their own website – it’s not a race, it’s a lifestyle.
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