In 1933 legendary motorcycle racer Mister Baker, had crossed the United States coast-to-coast in 54 hours, earning him the nickname Cannonball. He
had had an annual race ever since 1914 (when he needed 11 days), and bettered his time ever
since. In the 1970s motor journalist Brock Yates of Car and Driver magazine had started the Cannonball Baker Sea To Shining Sea Memorial
Trophy Dash in honor of Cannonball. The first race was held on April 1, 1971, and first prize was a Gumball dispenser. The first race was won by Yates and Dan Gurney, former race driver for Formula One and Le Mans, who drove a
Ferrari. They needed about 35 hours from New York to L.A. These
events inspired the 1976 movies Gumball Rally and Cannonball, as well as sequels such as Cannonball Run, Cannonball Run 2,
etc. The original Gumball race was finally canceled in 1979. Drawing inspiration from the
1970s race, the movies and Smokey and the Bandit,
Maximillion Cooper started the modern edition of the game in
the summer of 1999. Gumball 3000 has since gained the reputation as road race for the
modern era and has captured the attention. With celebrity participation the public have been bought closer to the race by
witnessing it on everything from MTV to reading about it in Vanity Fair.
The second race was held in May 2000. The race started at Marble Arch in London and went to Stansted Airport, where all cars and people were airlifted to a private airport in Spain. The race then continued through Bilbao, Cannes, Milan, the Buhlerhohe Castle in Switzerland, the Nürburgring GP
circuit and Hamburg before returning to London. Notable entrants included Drum
and bass legend and James Bond baddie Goldie in an Aston Martin V8, it-girl Tara Palmer Tomkinson in a Jaguar XK8, Great Train
Robber Bruce Reynolds in a Bentley, the indie band Placebo in a Lagonda, the Happy Mondays all crammed into a 2+2 Jaguar, and
Maximillion in the famous Bentley Arnage 1WO.
The third race, held in April 2001, featured 106 cars, including Johnny
Knoxville, Steve O and the rest of the cast of Jackass driving an 80s rusted out Jag, as well as F1 World champion Damon Hill driving a
Lamborghini, comedian Vic Reeves in a AMG, Lord Montagu of Beaulieu in a Blower Bentley and Maximillion in an original AC Cobra.
The race went from Hyde Park Corner in London to Berlin, Vilnius, Saint Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm and Copenhagen before returning to London.
Kim Schmitz finishes first in his Brabus EV12 Megacar. The
race was made into an hour long Jackass Gumball 3000 Special on MTV and received the highest viewing figures of the year. Ruby
Wax also ran in the event covering it for terrestrial TV in the UK on BBC1.
The fourth race was held in April 2002, the first to be run outside Europe. The race goes from New York to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, passing through a checkpoint at the Whitehouse in Washington DC, onto
Nashville, Tennessee for lunch in Elvis Presley's Mansion, Graceland, before
getting a Dallas Cowboys welcome in Texas, onwards to Cadillac Ranch, Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, Nevada before reaching the Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills where Hugh
Hefner and playmates awarded trophies. 175 cars entered the contest, including a 60s Corvette painted in the Stars and Stripes
that won best car award, the 1959 Ferrari California Spider from the movie Ferris Buellers day off that was bought at a cost of
over $1m just to take part in the Gumball, as well as old American muscle cars taking to the road with modern day supercars.
Fashion designer Donna Karan, models Amy Wesson and Rachel Hunter, and actor Matthew McConaughey were amongst the stars.
The fifth race was held in May 2003,
with 175 cars from San Francisco,
California to Miami, Florida, passing through Reno, Nevada, Las Vegas,
Tucson, Arizona, White Sands, New Mexico, San Antonio,
Texas and New Orleans, Louisiana. This one was made into 'Gumball 3000'
The Movie and starred Jackass' Ryan Dunn racing a rental
car along side skateboard legends Tony Hawk in a Dodge Viper and Bucky
Lasek, Motocross World champions Travis Pastrana and Carey
Hart, Supermodel Jodie Kidd all driving the most amazing mix of Ferrari
F50s, Lambo's, the 242mph Swedish Koenigsegg Supercar and
other exotica, to West Coast Choppers Jesse James in a custom VW
The sixth race was held in May 2004, back again in Europe. The race went from
the Eiffel Tower in Paris to Biarritz, Madrid, Marbella, then crossed over to Africa, to Marrakech in Morrocco as guests of the King, before returning
to Spain for the Barcelona Grand Prix, finishing in Cannes at the famous film festival. 192 amazing cars took part, but the car
that stole the show was a little old Citroen 2CV pinted like the General Lee. Ex Boxing world champion Chis Eubank drove a truck, whilst The Pianist Academy winning actor
Adrien Brody favoured a Porsche and the 'Ai Ya' Boys just rented a Winnebago. On Gumball its seems just about anything goes.
The seventh race started at Trafalgar Square on May 14, 2005. It will go 3000 miles from London to Brussels, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and then to Dubrovnik in Croatia. The cars will then be transported by ferry to Bari, in Italy, then
lap the old Targa Florio circuit in Sicily, before heading north to Rome, and finally cross
the finish line in the Monaco's Casino Square prior to the F1 Grand Prix. Participants include Jackass stars, Oscar winner Adrien Brody, rock stars and
supermodels driving everything from the Dukes of Hazzard General Lee to Ferrari