2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
The “cannon ball” race is an event for predominantly British car freaks. The high society hardly adheres to the speed limits when touring Europe. The police also withdrew some sports cars from traffic this year.
By Elena Senft
«Oh my God! What an experience! " This is how a Briton sums up his latest rush of speed on European motorways. He took part in the first half of July at the traditional “Cannonball Europe Race”. The unofficial car race across Europe also kept the French police busy again, this time from London to Rome. And it won't be the last time - the next "cannonball" race is already being planned, the police know too.
British car freaks
The «Cannonballers», those rich car freaks mostly from Great Britain, meet several times a year. In a rally lasting several days, they put their luxurious sports cars on display and want to win the coveted trophy, which the winner will defend at the next race.
This is not an unknown phenomenon for the German police, because the rally often leads through Germany. Only a year ago, the Schleswig-Holstein police closed the A 1 and A 24 motorways and pulled 60 sports cars out of traffic in Bargteheide on the way to Berlin.
The idea of the rally is not new. Eric "Cannonball" Baker, long-distance record holder in the USA in the 1930s, inspired the organizers of the first "Cannonball races" in the 1970s. The cult race was later filmed in the hit movie "Hell is loose on the highway". Tim Porter, a British businessman, finally managed to make the race a cult in Europe in 2002. He is currently working on a new edition in the USA, the organization of the European races has been taken over by others.
6000 euros participation fee
The principle: the drivers know the starting point and then only find out the daily destination shortly before they continue their journey. The last tour was the London-Rimini-Rome route and then via Lyon to Brussels. The “racing drivers” sleep in fine hotels, celebrate and are welcomed like stars by “checkpoint girls”. And that has its price. Participation, accommodation and meals cost 6,600 euros. The drivers themselves pay fines for driving too fast. But that does not deter anyone, because money does not matter to the driver. Often they have bundles of cash with them so that they can pay immediately and get on quickly.
However, explains Jan Deschamps from the race organization team, it is actually not about the rush of speed, but about driving as close as possible to the average speed of 60 miles, i.e. 97 kilometers per hour. Not for nothing, explained Deschamps to the newspaper “Le Journal du Dimanche”, that a Volvo currently leads the winners table ahead of Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Apparently not everyone knows this goal. In the last race, Costa, a 31-year-old dentist, was the first to get out of “the woman of his life”, his black sled, after a stage goal. «I recently bought the car. Before I had three Porsches, but next to this Lamborghini they are worthless. From a tempo of 210 he reached a high feeling.
And he's not the only one. During the July race, an English woman in Switzerland was flashed at 144 kilometers per hour instead of the permitted 80. Two British real estate agents were sentenced to three months' probation and a € 1,000 fine for turfing, and their cars, worth a total of more than € 300,000, were seized. They were flashed in Béthune, northern France, at 190 and 244 speeds. Two other Porsche drivers also groped into the speed traps.
The police in northern France know the race all too well. "Two to three times a year we have to deal with these rich people who ignore the speed limits without any problems because they think the courts here are more lenient," says Louis Wallon, prosecutor for Béthune. In the meantime they are trying to find out more about the routes in internet forums.
In winter, the races usually lead to luxurious ski resorts, in summer to the beaches of Italy or to events such as the Cannes film festival. The website is already promoting the next race in September: "Experience the thrill!" The starting point is Belgium, the route is otherwise, as always, top secret. (dpa)
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