Gumball 3000 Rally called off

Added on Friday 04 May 2007, 07:14 (BST)

Organisers of the Gumball 3000 Rally, in which Jay was driving as part of the Adadas team have released a statement following the abandonment of the event.  The statement reads as follows:

Issued by Maximillion Cooper on behalf of The Gumball 3000 Rally - 21.30 / 03 May 2007

Following our earlier release reporting yesterday’s accident - As a sign of respect we have decided that this year's Gumball 3000 Rally will not travel any further and will end in Bratislava this evening, May 3rd 2007.

As the organisers of the rally we feel that it should be stopped as a mark of respect to Vladimir Cepulyoski who died today after an accident involving one the participating drivers.

We are very saddened by what has happened and feel that it would be wrong to continue. On behalf of Gumball 3000, we once again extend our deepest sympathies to his family and we are doing everything we can for them.

This is the first time anything like this has happened in 9 years of travelling through over 40 countries with 1000's of drivers and it is with deep regret that I make this announcement.

Maximillion Cooper Founder & CEO The Gumball 3000 Group

For any media enquiries call Mission - 02074916680

More information can be found at the Gumball website, and also in newspaper articles such as the one at The Times (UK) website.

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Here are the comments that have been left in relation to this news item. The most recent comment is at the end.

I thought your Not supposed to leave the scene of an car accident. But to hop in another car and try to get away.That's shameful. I was on the site at 1:40 central time. Just to see who's in line, either Jason Statham,Xzibit,or Jay Kay.

Stupid race. Illigel, criminal, and now shameful!

"They were arrested on charges of endangering traffic and abandoning an accident victim. If convicted, the charges may lead to up to a year in prison"......what a disgusting joke!!!!

I can't believe it's come to this. Someone had to die and someone had to be a selfish idiot before people realized just what's wrong here. Let's hope people learn from this. Sure it may be a thrill but it's an expensive price to pay.

I agree with Jamiroquanna

in the past the gum ball has been safe (with the exception of a few smaller crashes) and its a shame to see it end like this

Respectful move on the part of the Founder.

Gumball 3000 claimed another life in Macedonia

Skopje, 17:49

The international rally Gumball 3000 claimed the second victim today - Margarita Chepunjoska, the wife of Vladimir, who died two days ago, has passed away today in the Skopje Clinic Center.

Margarita was severely injured in the accident that took place on Wednesday, when a participant of the rally crashed his Porsche into the car driven by her husband.

British citizen Nicholas Morley was speeding in his Porsche at the Struga-Qafasan road, when it collided head-on with Chepunjoski's Golf.

Yesterday, an investigative judge of Struga Court ordered 30 days of temporary detention to Nicholas Morley. The Police filed a formal accusation against him for "heavy violation of traffic safety" and "failure to provide help to an injured person".

Macedonian police told Makfax today that no charges will be raised against his co-driver, the British citizen Matthew McConville.

So sad. RIP.

"A spokesman for the rally said: "The Golf pulled out from a stop sign and Mr Morley and McConville tried to swerve around it but clipped the side of the car.""

Current update:
"...when it collided head-on with Chepunjoski's Golf."

What the hell? Who trusts the version from the spokesman is true? Talk about downplaying! Tried to push the blame to the other party. This spokesman should also be imprisoned.

See the crash image:

This sure as hell wasn't a head-on crash...the cars would look differently and be in another position.

:( so sad..

Jay will have to participate in 2008 xD

I wonder if this is the end of the Gumball rally...something tells me it isn't, but I keep thinking...

"Jay will have to participate in 2008 xD"
what?people died in it and still you think of his ways to have FUN?

I think they're going to have a lot of trouble putting it on again unless they make some serious changes. They'll be up for a lot of compensation soon too.

I know jameerica... and im sad about that.. It was horrible what happen..

But it was the first time Jay participate in the Gumball, and He didnt have to chance to win because it was cancelled.. just that..

don´t forget emergency n planet earth !!!

A lot of CO2 in this rally !!!

Jay does NOT have to win in a stupid race to be "cool"... he just have to bring back the old school everybody is missing!
What a shame! a real big shame....who cares about a darned rally?and winning a stupid race that does nothing more but bring people's lives in danger?

From The Sunday Times

May 6, 2007

Focus: It was meant to be a 'good laugh'. But now with two dead no one is smiling

John Arlidge on how the Gumball rally went tragically wrong

The £120,000 Porsche 911 Carrera, with a top speed of over 170mph, was cruising a few miles from the border between Macedonia and Albania. Behind the wheel was Cheshire-based property developer Nick Morley, 29, and next to him his entrepreneur friend Matthew McConville, 32.

The pair, who had left Athens that morning, were competing in a rally known as the Gumball 3000 and were running late. They had invitations to a gala dinner that evening, hosted by the prime minister of Albania in the presidential palace in Tirana.

They never made it. Around 6pm the Porsche slammed into a red Volkswagen Golf and both cars spun off the road and into a ditch. The VW driver, Vladimir Cepuljoski, 67, died near the scene and his wife Margarita died later in hospital.

The two Britons walked away badly shaken but unhurt.

How Wednesday's accident happened remains contested. Locals say the Porsche was speeding along the wrong side of the road and that the two Britons left the scene. Morley and McConville insist they were cruising at a legal 40mph and that the VW pulled out of a T-junction into their path. They deny leaving the scene.

Either way, police arrested both men, at the Albanian border, and charged Morley with "heavy violation of traffic safety" and "failure to provide help to an injured person". McConville was released on bail, but yesterday Morley remained in custody.

As the police set about establishing the truth, one thing that everyone agrees on is that the Gumball 3000 was an accident waiting to happen. Every May, jet-setters, trustafarians, royals, Middle Eastern movers and sheikhers and eccentrics of every stripe fuel up with testosterone and God knows what else to race their Porsches, Lamborghinis and Ferraris 3,000 miles across continents.

The rally is the go-faster creation of 34-year-old British former model and wannabe playboy Maximillion Cooper and is now being variously referred to as the "Dumball" and "Scumball" on the internet.

Competitors, supposedly vetted by Cooper, pay nearly £30,000 for the privilege of driving all day and partying all night. After each day behind the wheel there's a swanky dinner, including hot'n'cold running babes. The race has a reputation for rock'n'roll style excess. Every year there is mangled metal, arrests, fines and trashed hotel rooms. Yet every year the drivers come back for more. Living dangerously is – they say – "a good laugh".

No one is laughing now. As relatives of the Cepuljoskis grieved, Cooper cancelled the rest of this year's race. A victory parade in central London, followed by a party with US hip-hop star Xzibit, Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay and model Caprice, that was due to take place last night, was hastily cancelled.

The main sponsor, Adidas, which backed the race to the tune of £1m, pulled out on Friday and has cancelled all future sponsorship.

It's the end of road for this year and what many are now asking is: is the Gumball party, and indeed the wider "petrol-head" phenomenon it stands for, over for good? CRITICS say the deaths prove that the very idea of braying speed freaks careering across continents like outlaws is so outdated and dangerous that it should be consigned to the history books and the old movies that inspired it. The Gumball is a homage to films such as the 1976 Gumball Rally and the 1981 Cannonball Run, starring Burt Reynolds.

The detractors are not just the usual battalion of health and safety nannies who object to a race in which competitors stick speeding tickets to their wind-screens as badges of honour.

Car manufacturers, usually happy to lend cars to celebrities taking part in races of almost any kind, refuse to loan cars to Gumballers. Silvia Pini, of Italian superbrand Maserati, says: "It's just too risky. There are too many unknowns."

Style and social commentators say the "toffs' jolly" is also out of step with the socially responsible spirit of the age. Crawford Hollingworth, executive chairman of consumer analysts Henley Centre Headlight-Vision, says: "We live in an age where some things, such as buying a fancy car, have become a little too obvious and easy to decode. For the rich, giving back and making a difference to society is the new cool.

"Look at Bono or Warren Buffett. We envy the person who takes a year's unpaid sabbatical to travel the world more than the one who buys a new Porsche."

Even professional petrol-heads argue the Gumball should be scrapped. Michael Harvey, editor of BBC Top Gear magazine, Britain's biggest-selling auto title, says: "The Gumball is a bunch of overprivileged, beautiful young things showing off in front of anyone bored enough to watch - or tragically, it turns out, get in their way. It's elitist and silly."

The Gumball is not the first road race to hit controversy of course: the Mille Miglia, which takes place next week from Brescia to Rome and back, was stopped in 1957 after a crash that killed two drivers and 11 spectators. But in less than a decade the Gumball has become the most notorious.

It began in 1999 when the well-connected Cooper invited his celebrity friends, including actors Jason Priestley and Billy Zane, and singer Dannii Minogue, to take part in a six-day trans-European road trip, a modern-day grand tour fuelled on parties.

The first race was incident-free. In the second, in which 85 cars left London and went to Spain, France, Italy and Germany, there were two accidents, a £6,000 fine for overtaking a police car, and a £10,000 bar bill. It was the third Gumball to Russia that got really crazy, with crashes, car-jack-ings and arrests.

By the time of the 2005 race from London to Morocco and back, the racers' motto had become "Death or Glory" and bets on who would win had reached £1m. One German racer, Kim Schmitz, promised to give two of the hottest female drivers £500,000 each if they beat him. If he won, he got a threesome. He won.

The rally's supporters praise its no-limits ethos and camaraderie. Regular Richie Warren,a 41-year-old Briton who owns underground record label Fuel, spoke about it last year in a way that now seems eerily prophetic. "You live on the edge," he told Vanity Fair. "Yeah, someone might get killed. Some silly basta*d . . . could go over on the wrong side of the road and total a f****** wife and children in their little car. It could happen .. . I couldn't give a flying f***."

Cooper claims he makes every effort to ensure participants stick to speed limits. But critics say his pleas fall on deaf ears. The wilder the Gumball has got, the faster it has grown.

Cooper was on his way to achieving his goal of making the race a mass-market brand. He recently launched dozens of spin-offs: Gumball clothing, records, TV and film. The race generates £10m a year and the spin-offs a larger figure. Advertising and marketing giant WPP valued the brand at £150m.

The cancellation of this year's race means Cooper will lose money. Will he lose his business altogether? Some would love to see the back of him and are already doing their best to run him off the road. GERMAN police effectively banned the rally this year. Drivers were pulled over as they entered the country from Holland and forced to drive slowly on the autobahn - the one place where they could have legally driven at 200mph – behind a police escort.

Turkey refused the race access altogether. The Gumballers were forced to divert to Athens.

Cooper says he is shocked by Wednesday's accident and insists he is doing everything he can to help the Cepuljoskis. He and his wife, Danish beauty Julie Brangstrup, flew to Skopje yesterday to pay their respects to the family.

Cooper told The Sunday Times last night: "This is the first time anything like this has happened in nine years." That's strictly true, but somewhat misleading. In Morocco two years ago a Lamborghini rammed a small car and injured the woman driver.

Cooper insists he wants to continue with next year's race, which is due to begin in London and take in Moscow and North and South Korea before ending in Sydney.

"We bring amazing entertainment and enjoyment to drivers and to the people in the cities to which we go," he said. "Whatever it takes to make it 100% safe, we will do, including having police escorts."

Police escorts for would-be outlaws living a rock star life? Surely the millionaires and mad hatters who "go Gumball" would rather take the bus.

sure somebody died, are you telling me that none has died in f1 of btcc of wrc? of thousands die in road accidents yearly? this is a sad but reality of driving, we must not forget the age of the driver and that of his ability to judge speed of an incoming vehicle, judgement being impaired by both factors, plus that of both skid marks and impact signs upon both vehicles both coincide with that of a a side impact, hence this is a very sad inccident of a car pulling out into the forthcoming car, thus collision. as for rumours that the driver and co, tried to hide in a bmw m6 are simply not true, the m6 was 4 up already at start of rally, i know this to be true as i was working for company during rally. my sympathy goes to the family. but people are not justified in thier riddicule of a race that has been for 9yrs without anything other than embbarressed owners through bad driving.

Consider this; roads have speed limits for reason. Why? I'm quoting you on this: "... ability to judge speed of an incoming vehicle...". The reaction time of human being is somewhat same to all people.. the speed limits are designed for all people.

You break the limit, you're responsible.. no matter if the other party should have dodged!!! How hard it's to understand this? We have certain rules in our society which are in effect for a reason.

Can think for a second and answer this; why there are ramps in & out of fast motorways? Multiple lanes? Try imagining this situation; you are at standstill in t-junction, there's not much visibility because of the terrain, some passing cars are driving the allowed speed limit (about 80km/h), some passing cars are driving about 100-150km/h (not miles) and you are driving a car with, let's say, 1.6 liter engine.. and you'll have to go in there relying in your normal human senses. Please, think about it for a second.

Speed is bad.. mmkay? I've been in highways driving 120km/h (the speed limit!) and everytime somebody who overtakes me in the other lane driving about 150km/h (or more) suprises me and my senses. Even though I watch my rear-view mirror like a hawk because I like to know what's happening behind. (I'd say I watch it more than average normal people.) I'm fairly young, with normal senses.

I could write so much more with this subject but i'll spare you all.

David, again sorry for the rude language.. I hope that it will wake up someone.

Dear Fay, NOBODY deserves your verbal abuse...You have all of us to apologize to.

I only hope for you that you also die and see heaven right after doing something that is so thrilling with YOUR spouse of many years.

Fay..put perspective into your passion. No matter what kind of play we do as humans there will always be the mistake of skuffing your knees. You have to take the risks in life to enjoy it to it's fullest...even to the end.

I have a desire of driving thru this world in the Gumball celebrate my freedom and the unique people that I will meet and enjoy there with me.

"Time won't wait for you so do all the things you've wanted to...cuz you just can't stop the clock."

Hey Iroquoislady, please "celebrate your freedom" in a way that doesn't endanger the lives of others...driving into another car at very high speeds will do an excellent job of 'stopping the clock' for you and someone else who doesn't deserve it.

If you have not driven on one of these events you can be forgiven for being fooled into thinking it is about freedom and choice, I have heard jokes from Drivers who tried to make cyclists in Moroco fall off their bicycles with the draft caused by passing them within inches at 150 mph+, I have heard grown men describe how they almost forced others off the road in their way to be first at a corner on a busy roadway full of traffic, as they undertook down the hard shoulder and overtook forcing cars of the road coming towards them.
We all got arrested in Sapin because a car and caravan were forced off the road by a Porsche driving too fast racing with others, he ran for the hills, 100 of us spent the day in lock-up missing the Spanish GP.
Get a life you guys if you think near fatal crashes are fun, new cars written off through bad driving and the general carnage and stupidity Gumball is a trade mark for. It has finally come around to the day everyone new would come, the first deaths of innocent road users. Please don't comment with your foolish ramblings, I would say that you have more intelligence than to yern to become motorised murderers surely! Try driving down any road at 70mph or 120kmh and have 10 idiots race past you at 150mph+ on the outside, inside or almost striaght through you, nobody deserves to have their family's life put in such danger on a Sunday afternoon for the sake of the mindless moronic few having fun. There are the skilled and sensible driving Gumballers, 10% at most, and the remainder are out and out mindless bad driving morons = 90%. In Gumball 3000 events this is fully known about by the Owners, Maximillion has visited hospitals to see his customers in bits and the carnage for himself, yet he insists on continuing to call this event a Cultural Tour - next time it could be a bus load of children killed, then we can all argue that it was the bus driver at fault for pulling out of a junction without anticpating a rocket propelled Porsche coming down the road at 150mph in a 30mph speed liit area.
2 years ago on one such event, two young men in their 20's were alive one minute, dead the next, their F360 in bits all over the road, what did the friends on the scene say, they were only doing 90kmh, rubbish, nobody on these events drives at less than maximum speed, its a race, ask Max, its a race, thats what the entrants believe, they have told you so. Its not right Max, your event is a near death thrill event, a high powered car race on public roads, only you refuse to admit this fact. You should end this before you are responsible for killing more people, you have broken your lucky streak, no deaths but lots of bent metal and blood until these inconsiderate pensioners both died getting in the way of one of your cultural sighseeing entrants in a 190mph Porsche. You would be the one I would lock up, if organised this race and the result is that 2 innocent people minding their own business out on the road are no longer alive today.

Gumball 3000 - 0 Pensioners - 2


Space G....It would never be my intention to do anything to endanger another and yet I could possibly be blamed for the same result as the two young men should I get in my car tomorrow to go for java. You must not hold onto this life so tightly. Nobody is immortal. These deaths occurred because the married couple pulled out in front of a moving vehicle....and then an unavoidable crash happened...any one of us can be in this situation tomorrow just doing our day to day living..we just never know what tomorrow brings..
I know that as a Gumball 3000 driver, I will be a part of the 10% David Jones says will drive sensibly. And I gurantee you that I will be bobbing my head to Jamiroquai playing on my deck. So if the clock stops for me at that time...I will be thankful and say I had a blast.

I totally agree with Fay, a responsible-sounding, mature person, who obviously values life. If people want to speed, there are designated areas especially designed for this type of "sport". Public roads are not one of them!!! To the speed freaks out there: Don't let innocent drivers/pedestrians get caught up in your quick fix! Only last week, a friend of someone I know was killed in a hit and run accident and I witnessed the car that was speeding (it drove past near my home). The sound of the car at that speed was frightening. Quoting Iroquoislady "You must not hold onto this life so tightly. Nobody is immortal": Try putting yourself in the family's shoes of someone who has been killed in a car accident, or being the parent of a child who has just been killed by a speeding car. I wonder whether your choice of words/thoughts would be the same..

"These deaths occurred because the married couple pulled out in front of a moving vehicle..."

NONONONO! Why do you still push the guilty verdict to the innocent party? You also like to defend murderers, robbers, rapers, etc.?

I apologize again for my last outburst... I'm a bit surprised how much this have raised my emotions... but still I'm happy that I feel strongly about this. Indifference is a BAD thing.

Thank you David Jones for your great inside information from the "rally".

No further comment on the rally, but...for those who love Maserati's:

"SpaItalia is one of the biggest Italian car events and, in just a few years, has become a must for all Italian car lovers. On 2nd and 3rd June 2007 the most beautiful racetrack in the world will once again be the setting for this unique and spectacular car meeting, exhibiting the exceptional Italian savoir-faire in cars, coach building and design. .

A tribute to Maserati.
The mark founded by the Maserati brothers was always the rival of the largest Italian manufacturers: Lancia, Alfa Romeo and later, Ferrari. It survived many vicissitudes for representing today one of the transalpine production flagships. As for the sport, which was since the beginning, its public image, it will not be forgotten. Indeed, 2007 will see the celebration of the 50e anniversary of the victory of Juan Manuel Fangio at the wheel of the unforgettable 250F in the Formula 1 World Championship."

Just in case you're in the neighbourhood...

Can you say "GranTurismo"? ;)XOXO It's my "Black Devil Car"

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