Martin Cannock and his colleague have entered next year's Gumball 3000 rally to raise cash for Help the Heroes, Cancer Research and the MS Society
Mention the Gumball Run to anyone with even the faintest knowledge about it and you’ll hear the inevitable response: isn’t that for rich spoiled folk? To which I always reply: Yes. But we’re different.
Different in the respect we’re skint. Or skintish. You need lots of money to enter - £40,000 – and a pretty decent car. So that’s where the reputation comes from.
What a lot of people don’t know is it’s a huge charity fundraiser. Our pitch is this: if we get backing for £40,000 to pay the fees, we will return double that to charity.
How do we plan on doing this? It won’t be easy but I’m a financial advisor I’ve been quite nicely squeezing some of my contacts – especially those in the corporate sector – to back us. So far it’s looking very promising. We can meet the entry fee in pledges so far which now just leaves us with the charity cash to raise.
So what we plan to do is auction sections of the race to highest bidders – or maybe just bidders. It starts in May next year in Stockholm, passing through Oslo, Copenhagen, Amsterdam from where we will fly across the Atlantic Ocean to the USA, then continue to San Francisco, onto Los Angeles and ends in Sin City - known as Las Vegas.
And you’ll be travelling in style: we’ve been loaned a £160,000 Bentley Mulsanne free of charge for the gig though we do have to arrange our own insurance. That can be costly as the Gumball Rally has something of a reputation for fast, reckless driving though we won’t be doing any of that.
We also plan to raise cash by putting sponsors names on the car. To sponsor the entire front, side or rear of the Bentley will cost £5,000 but to place your company logo only costs £500. We hope to raise around £20,000 this way.
The race lasts a week and it’ll cost us quite a bit in running costs as well as food and accommodation. Since the rally attracts the very very rich, many of the competitors stay in some of the world’s most exclusive hotels.
Not us. We’ve booked the cheapest we can find and these costs come out of our own pockets. We couldn’t reasonably expect others to foot our living costs.
It is however a race and there are prizes based on your timings. All going well, and remaining within speed limits, we hope to finish the race with a decent time. That’s all down to planning. Each competitor picks their own route so it’s really dependent on how well you plan ahead.
Speeding isn’t advised. I don’t fancy anything happening to the car. And police abroad are far more strict with speeding than we tend to be.
Most of all it’s a really fun way to raise cash for charity. We’ve had plenty banter saying we’re just indulging ourselves and that’s partly too.
But I think charity has to be about enjoyment as well as achievement. There has to be something in it for those taking part.
And why not?