This well-tuned Porsche Turbo contains a host of instruments designed to scan and monitor the environment (and we're not talking about temp and humidity).
This well-tuned Porsche Turbo contains a host of instruments designed to scan and monitor
On our way out, I witness the first really scary casualty of the 'Run: a big-pimpin', blinged-to-the-nines Cadillac Escalade is completely wadded up on a huge tree not half a block from the hotel. Two days before, this guy brought the fury of the law down onto the rally by reportedly running several private vehicles, not necessarily Bullrunners, off the road, driving recklessly, and just being an all-around asshole. Throughout the day, rumors fly about a possible fatality, but they ultimately prove to be unfounded. We're all relieved no one was seriously hurt, but most agree Bullrun is better off without him.
As it turns out, the drive through Kansas doesn't suck at all, since I somehow weasel my way into one of the two Spyker C8 Spyders entered in the rally by the Dutch coachbuilder. Despite appearing (to me, anyway) somewhat half-finished-you'll either love or hate looking at it-driving this car is an amazing experience. The pedal and shifter inputs are so incredibly sharp and every action so deliberate that it's downright intimidating at first, but I manage. The C8 Spyder is one of the purest sports cars money can buy; no power steering, no assisted brakes, and no traction control. Paradoxically, it begs a heck of a lot of money to own one-the asking price is reportedly well north of a quarter million dollars.
The Wynn Hotel houses a busy Ferrari and Maserati dealership. That it's right next to the payout window is no coincidence.
The Wynn Hotel houses a busy Ferrari and Maserati dealership. That it's right next to the
About a hundred miles outside Vail, Colorado, my co-pilot, a Mr. Russo, and I are enveloped in a mountain thunderstorm of biblical proportions. The Spyker was originally designed without a roof, since, having no traction control, it is pointedly not meant for the wet. Ours is equipped with a folding soft top, designed as an afterthought to satisfy the US market, and it fits like hell. By the time we reach the leg's conclusion, Mr. Russo, myself and the $300,000 quilted-leather-and-machined-aluminum interior are completely soaked. But damn, it's a lot of fun. Even the getting soaked part.
Wednesday, July 26
Vail to Las Vegas
This stretch constitutes a good 750 or more miles, so today there is no scheduled midway checkpoint. Having burned to a crisp riding all day yesterday in the topless Spyker through 100-degree Kansas and eastern Colorado (my nose and forehead now sport the hue and consistency of a boiled lobster) I am pretty damned happy to see Claus Ettensberger and his Brabus K8 again. I can almost feel the seat ventilators caressing my saddle-sore backside. We are again joined by our gorgeous female NY journo companion. Fast car, beautiful woman, ebullient German companion, and seat ventilators... I couldn't possibly do any better.
Not far from the Colorado-Utah border, we get another call from our scanner-wielding compatriot some 30 miles ahead:
"We've just intercepted another transmission... they are looking for a black Mercedes. They've clocked you at over 115 mph... they're going to pull you over."
There's just one issue. We weren't doing 115 and there's at least one other black Mercedes on the rally. Claus follows today's wingman, a silver C6 Corvette Z06, off at the next exit, but the police are already there waiting.
In spite of the fact that we're sure they've got the wrong cars, the Corvette's driver, Nick Frankl, does some fast talking.
"Officer, we weren't attempting to evade. My sister here, she's got diarrhea, and, well, we were just trying to find the nearest toilet-"
The officer is not interested. "Sir, what type of Porsche is this?"
"Officer, this isn't a Porsche. It's a Chevrolet."