I started the engine, the M5's tires kicking up sand as we pulled away. The CB radio-which had remained so quiet I'd forgotten it had been on since San Francisco-now lit up: "Ten-four on them sports cars... we got a bunch of 'em here at the Mart right now-"
"Nice," said Maher, "to see you pick up the pace a little."
AZ DPS DSPTCH: "Ten-four on those rally vehicles... southbound-"
"Maher," I said, my heart racing, "if we don't get some distance-"
"Cop on the left! Moving!"
AZ MOB B: "-just spotted another rally vehicle southbound 93-"
"Oh no," I said. "He's talking about us."
Route 93 South was perfectly straight. There was nowhere to hide. We stared at each other across the median. His radar wouldn't work until he made U-turn.
AZ MOB B: "-can someone confirm if these rally vehicles were involved-"
I craned my head. Not turning.
"Let's make a run for it."
-excerpt from The Driver
Somewhere west of Oklahoma City, about 1,400 miles from Los Angeles-
I'm in the passenger seat of Alex Roy's 2000 BMW M5, gyro-stabilized binoculars to my face, scanning Interstate 40 as Roy makes another surge toward the 120s. Even though I've been told we'd be taking it easy on our way to Los Angeles, Roy-who recently claimed to have broken the NY to LA trans-continental record of 32 hours and seven minutes with a time of 31 hours and four minutes-can't seem to help himself from going into record-breaking mode.
Roy reaches for the CB radio and asks: "Eastbound, eastbound, can I get a bear check?"
"Haven't seen nuthin' for the past 20 miles," is the response.
"Thank you," replies Roy. "Ramp check?" I put the binoculars down and look over my right shoulder to see if there are any cops waiting for their next victim. "Ramp clear," I say and we continue at a pace just a few clicks shy of his record run.
We all have our personal time/speed/distance records, be it LA to SF, NY to DC, or Chicago to Detroit. Imagine taking your best 400-mile run and multiplying it by seven, depriving yourself of sleep, replacing real meals with Red Bull and beef jerky and using the toilet every 600 miles (thanks to an extra fuel cell) when you hit a gas station.
That's essentially what Roy and his co-driver, David Maher, did in October 2006. They waited a year for some states' statute of limitations to expire and also timed it for the release of Roy's book: The Driver: My Dangerous Pursuit of Speed and Truth in the Outlaw Racing World, a memoir which delves deeply into his inspiration and motivation for attempting to break the 23-year-old record set by Diem and Turner in the 1983 US Express (successor to the Cannonball), and chronicles his exploits and hi-jinks on various Gumball 3000 rallies.