Gumball 3000 is an annual, 3000 mile, continent crossing supercar rally.
The route changes every year. This year the rally runs from Edinburgh in Scotland to Porto Montenegro with a checkpoint at the Battersea Power Station in London.
Going to a Gumball event has been on my bucket list for a few years now. I started following the rallies online in 2018 and it always looked like a good time with lots of high profile entrants and exotic cars.
More importantly, the rally raises hundreds of thousands of pounds each year for a number of different charities for young people through the Gumball Foundation.
They do a lot of good work and I really wanted to get out to support them.
Considering this event is simply a checkpoint that the cars pass through, I was amazed at how busy it was! Battersea was rammed!
The event was running a bit behind schedule and the cars started trickling in between 20:00 and 20:30.
It’s obviously a fluid event and even the best plans don’t survive contact with the enemy. Apparently the rally hit traffic on the way down. Can’t be helped.
I had to leave at about 21:45 as I unfortunately had work the day after the event (I’m actually writing this before I go into work. Don’t tell my managers!) and the journey home for me was about 2 hours. So I’m afraid I didn’t get to picture all of the cars. I managed to get a nice little selection though!
My favourite of the cars was this Countach. It’s great to see a classic Lamborghini doing a road trip like this!
Now, obviously it was a free event, and Gumball have been doing this for nearly quarter of a century so I know I can’t be too critical. However I did have a couple of small concerns.
What I’m going to say isn’t coming from a place of hate, so please don’t read it that way. It’s just concerns from an interested third party. If/when Gumball come back to London I’ll definitely be going. I do a few automotive events in London though I’m keen for those events to continue so I feel I should say this.
The first and lesser of my two concerns is about traffic and traffic management.
The main checkpoint was on Pump House Lane. The cars would enter from the main road – which was to the right of this map – head up Pump House Lane and follow Circus Road right the way around the power station before exiting down Pump House Lane.
At least for the first part of the event, none of that was closed to public traffic. Between the Gumball cars there were cyclists, taxis, and people just trying to get to where they needed to go.
Pump House Lane had fences running down either side of it keep the crowd back, but Circus Road was open to the elements. From what I saw the crowd on Circus Road were pretty chill and leaving the roadway clear, but if there was more of a crowd around there, it would have been a pain in the backside for normal traffic to get through not to mention potentially dangerous.
However, I don’t know what sort of red tape you have to go through to close a road, and the council were obviously happy to keep it open, so ultimately I might, and probably am, talking out of my backside.
Battersea Power Station did make a cool backdrop to the event. It’s a lovely historic building, now with a mall inside rather than electrical turbines. There’s lots of good places to get food and it’s got some greenery right by the river to hang out on.
However, there are a lot of residential buildings around and within the power station.
Some of these cars are crazy loud and if you’ve Seen got thousands of people egging you on to rev it, it would be rude not to.
We obviously love it, but if you live there and it’s 10pm and you have to get up for 6 it becomes a pain in the backside.
I did hear through the grapevine that the residents did call the police in. That’s hearsay though and I didn’t see any police personally.
Residents kill a lot of the modified ‘car cruise’ stuff with noise complaints to the police and I completely empathise with them. However, if residents complain about sanctioned events like Gumball, then it will be harder for other organisers such as Petrolheadonism to get permits from the council to run their events in the city.
Wembley, where Petrolheadonism Underground was held earlier this year, actually seems like a really good venue for this sort of thing. Drift Allstars also did a couple of events there years back without issue. Could be a good venue for future Gumball checkpoints?
Thanks for reading I hope you enjoyed the pictures and this didn’t sound like too much of a grumble. I had a good evening out and if Gumball come back through London in the future I’ll most certainly go again. I’ll leave you with a couple of touristy shots as I don’t actually get to see the city at night that often!
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By Richard Francis