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DAY 5 - Salt Lake City - Bonneville Salt Flats - Reno July 27th

Anyone who's ever wondered whether a police helicopter can be outrun need only have joined us on July 27th ...

But first ... the 2005 Official Bullrun Punk Rock Band The Numchucks led a raucous party at a local bar the night before, and this led to severe fatigue for the Bullrunners, including Team Polizei. Still, we rose at 6AM to refuel and prep for a no-holds-barred attack on Utah Traffic Restrictions.

Amusing Side Note: The ultra-handsome and well-tanned "Uncle Frank", an allegedly 37-year-old UK ice-cream magnate who drove a 2005 Rolls Royce Phantom, picked up a 40ish blond in the hotel lobby who resembled the loose mother in "Best In Show" and brought her to the Bullrun Drivers dinner the night of the 26th. The woman's husband came looking for her the morning of the 27th, and hotel security had to escort "Uncle Frank" to the security of his Phantom so he could leave the city as quickly as possible.

Salt Lake City NBC-TV affiliate KSL sent a news chopper to orbit over the hotel as we prepared to depart. They joined the Bullrun chopper and two(!) local Police helicopters as Team Polizei led 60+ Bullrunners out of the city west toward our first (and perhaps the coolest ever) checkpoint — the Bonneville Salt Flats.

At least a dozen police cruisers were deployed on Interstate 80 as we formed a long column comprising several million dollars of rolling hardware. Team Polizei set a narcoleptic pace of 67mph as the Police chopper flew overheard at 200 feet, undoubtedly shooting pictures of the drivers and plate numbers. Richard Rawlings, having finally gotten his 1931 700+hp Ford Model A running again, tested the limits of everyone's eardrums as his utterly unregulated engine noisily fired hot exhaust gas through the side-firing pipes toward cars he'd overtaken.

The occasionally heroic Michael Jackson (Red-Flame Painted Mercedes SL500) attempted to pass us several times, but we, Richard X and Marek Harrison (Aston Martin DB9) and the Collins Brothers (Black Ferrari 550) formed a rolling wall to rein him. If any Bullrunners misbehaved we all ran the risk of being arrested.

Police Scanner Traffic warned of traps up to a line about 70 miles west of Salt Lake City, so as soon as we passed the final trap we pressed the CL600, passed 160mph and barreled into the checkpoint in record-breaking time.

Imagine our surprise as the JATO Lamborghini was seen leaving the checkpoint just as we arrived — again they'd left over an hour earlier in order to claim 1st, but of course the veteran Bullrun gentlemen knew better and Team Polizei collected yet another 1st place win.

A total of six (!) helicopters orbited overheard as the Bullruners formed a massive line of supercars and launched across the Bonneville Salt Flats. I strongly recommend that any car fan go there at least once to see what their cars can do. Alas, it's too bad the Bullrun checkpoints are kept secret, because the sight of the world's greatest supercars careening through the desert, spraying plumes of salt and dust in their wakes, was truly once of the most heart-stopping spectacles I've ever seen.

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Dennis Rodman and Hayden Christensen then lined up for a Gallardo vs. Murcielago challenge. Victoria's Secret model Landi waved the checkered flag, and 3 miles later Rodman was declared the winner.

"You have much to learn, young padawan driver!," I told Hayden. "Back to Playstation for you!"

As for the JATO Lamborghini, he suffered some sort of engine problem on the flats and was relegated to the dustbin of the 2005 Bullrun.

An hour of baking in the 110 degree heat was sufficient for Team Polizei, so we rushed over to the local gas station to hose the salt off the brakes and undercarriage. We were followed by Rodman, the Collins Brothers and the wiser Bullrunners, whereas the foolish rally drivers who proceeded without rinsing off the salt risked long-term chassis damage and brake deterioration. We felt quite sorry for them, and were happy to sacrifice 1st place in the near-term in order to preserve our car's safety.

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It was time to press on toward Reno, our final stop of the day, a mere 420 miles away. This was, even by Bullrun standards, a moderate distance compared to the 750+mile stages we'd had in 2004. We prepared for an 7/10ths high-speed (110+mph) cruising strategy that would conserve fuel and save us one stop and 6 minutes compared to the others. We refueled, reset the scanner and GPS, and set off on our first truly long campaign. This would be a battle of fuel of strategies, and we were intent on victory.

Moderate police scanner traffic warned of several traps, but we passed these easily, even as we heard of drivers being captured far behind us.

We drove virtually alone as the Bullrunners with lesser fuel strategies fell behind — only Richard & Marek in the Aston DB9 and the Collins Brothers kept up. We were twice passed by Hayden and his friend Troy in a yellow 2004 Lamborghini Murcielago, but they had to stop repeatedly due to wretched fuel consumption. Dennis evenutally fell behind for reasons unexplained, as did the Aston, leaving only Team Polizei in a pitched battle in the last 20 miles to Reno. Whereas Team Polizei chose to drive our final tank down to its last fumes in order to gain one fuel stop, Hayden's final refuel allowed him to pass us at 170+mph. Heavy traffic in the Reno suburbs slowed him, however, and Team Polizei was able to use guile, green (legal) police lights and sirens (in just a few small instances) to gain on him. Hayden was briefly fooled and hit the brakes, allowing us to pass. Alas, not even the Murcielago could keep up with the 800+HP Team Polizei Interceptor on the straights, granting us breathing room and a small but commanding lead. Hayden valiantly attempted to avenge 5 days of Team Polizei's insults, but we lost them in the city approaches and made a clean entry off the Interstate. The checkpoint was only two blocks from the highway, and Team Polizei arrived in first ... except that ...

Richard Rawlings and Dennis Collins, having both suffered mechanical problems, had bought a helicopter and had it pick them up on the interstate and fly them to the roof of the Reno checkpoint hotel!

Richard claimed victory, but the fans knew better, as even a rally with no rules remains a ROAD rally.

Hayden arrived second, just a few minutes behind us, and we were all warmly welcomed by the people and police of Reno, one of the best rally checkpoints year over year. I will definitely return.

Although the Reno Police are big fans of the Bullrun, the California Highway Patrol was not happy about what would likely ensue the following day. They sent a CHP cruiser all the way from the state line to warn the incoming Bullrunners about the next day's police activity. We were warned of 40+ police cars and 5+ helicopters, but the Reno Police only smiled and gave us directions on a secret shortcut ... a speciality of the Polizei ...

Team Polizei — once again triumphant.

Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah
1st Place: Alex Roy & Alli Joseph - Team Polizei
2nd Place: Dennis & Michael Collins - Ferrari 550
3rd Place: Richard X & Marek Harrison - Aston Martin DB9

Reno, Nevada
1st Place: Alex Roy & Alli Joseph - Team Polizei
2nd Place: Hayden Christensen & Troy X - Lamborghini Murcielago
3rd Place: Unknown

Related:
Alex Roy s Bullrun 2005 Wrap-up, Day 4 [internal]