So while some of you have expressed displeasure with our extensive Bullrun coverage, some of y'all have enjoyed it and some have reacted with indifference, we have to say that our own abbreviated sojurn as a mini Sal Paradise to the distaff Dean Moriartys of Keri Rensing and Jennifer Nicole was an experience we'll never forget as long as we live. You can call the celebrities B-grade. You can laugh at some of the posturing, but at the end of it all, it was an incredible gathering of car guys and gals all blowing across the country together and often helping each other out. And while yes, certain things were overwrought, we had a wonderful time on our two days on the rally. Click through for some of our favorite participants' recollections.
While tickets were a worry for some, others, like the Subaru Forester-mounted Colin Herrick, managed to stealthily cruise past law enforcement, Herrick comments, "I didn't get any tickets! Don't know if that's really something to brag about with the Bullrun crowd, but it certainly makes things easier for me!" Especially considering Herrick's an emergency worker and excess baggage on his license could mess with his ability to do his job. On the other end of the scale, Noah Lehmann-Haupt in the Ford GT scored a plethora, commenting, "If you count the CHP combined "speeding + improper lane change" as a twofer, then 5," while his co-driver Rob Ferretti racked up exactly zero. Meanwhile, Jennifer Nicole made a game of it, shooting photos of every cop that pulled them over.
Fast cars make for hot action, no? According to a veteran rallying friend of ours, that's not always the case. He commented, "Guys like you and me would have more luck with women in a regular bar on a Wednesday night than on a rally. There's a lot less sex than everyone would think." Nevertheless, the Rensings managed to sneak in a couple of rendezvous, while Annabelle Frankl saved it up for after the rally, noting that she made the beast with two backs "Only once we got back to LA. However, it was someone on Bullrun..." Rory Camangian had to wait until he returned to his wife in New Jersey, noting that due to the omnipresence of roommates, he wasn't even able to rub one out. Jennifer Nicole, however, seemed satisfied with the titillation the cars themselves offered: "Keri would crack up because every time I saw a hot car or heard the Ford GT's extremely loud exhaust, I'd get major goosebumps down my legs and my nipples would get hard. The funniest thing about that was in Vegas: one of the guys on the run put his hand on my leg (I won't mention his name) and mentioned how nice my legs were and I turned to him and said 'If it wasn't for you and your fucking hot car they'd be a lot smoother!" and he just laughed. I think he got the picture...later.'" Jason Garber, who is now known to us as the Dutch Hercules for his amazing performance in the Team Darkcyd Support Navigator, was more succinct, merely answering, "Yes."
So while a number of us were busy not getting laid, we focused on the cars. We were in love with the Feretti/Lehmann-Haupt Ford GT, which sported an aftermarket Ford Racing exhaust system that gave the car the vibe of a knife-shaped Norse hammer. Or a gun-shaped knife. Or something. Whatever it was, it was godly. Obviously, Jen concurs, but what else were people into? Chuck Mallett was so impressed with Claus Ettenberger's Brabus CLS that he's vowed to enter a four-door of his own next year. While Lehmann-Haupt admits to going faster than Mallett and co-driver Danny Coyle, he counts Tove Christensen's Porsche as his favorite car, "Because seeing it meant we were finishing second." Herrick, on the other hand, was a little more indecisive, naming the Ward/Haller Stude as his personal fave and then coming up with a couple of alternates: "Of all the cars that finished I'd have to say the Lotus 340R was pretty damn cool. The Mosler was stunning, but at 147F inside the car, I'd pass out. They literally fried an egg on the dash board." Garber nominated Mallett's diff-fluid-boiling 'Vette, while Haller and Emil Rensing seconded Herrick's props to the all-open-all-the-time 340R.
As we've previously noted, nobody needs to drop 14 large on top of the price of a car and enough petroleum products to get the job done to haul ass across North America. So what does one get for one's money? According to a Bullrunner who wished to remain anonymous, "The food and drink situation on the rally was disappointing. There were way too many cash bars and not nearly enough good meals to justify the expense. Sure, the Bullrun was worth it as an experience, but it was certainly not something that I can call a 'value' as I try to convince more of my friends to participate next year." We personally found the breakfast at Shelby's facility to be especially bad, although the final meal at Social was good, and the breakfast spread at the W in San Diego featured really rather good eggs. The King Taco experience at California Speedway was generally universally reviled, leading Annabelle Frankl to comment, "If you're going to hire something mobile get a fucking In-N-Out Burger van!"
As for accomodations, Gansevoort in New York and the Sonnenalp in Vail, CO tended to be the two favorites, with Haller noting that the anticipation of the impending rally added a special air to the pre-race night in NYC, while Camagian had fond, Teutonic memories of the hotel in Vail: "It made me feel like I was in Germany, even more so after speaking with Peter Kolb for an hour."
Ah yes, Peter Kolb. The hyperserious, r-Deutschman who campaigned a Porsche GT3RS under the aegis of Robb Rill's Team Darkcyd. Peter is a serious believer in the power of German Precision, and given Tove Christensen's turbocharged "Always First First Place," we can't not lend the man's opinion some credence. So what, then, can we learn from Peter Kolb? Camangian: "I learned that anything that comes from Germany is better engineered than anything from other countries — including beer, pretzels, mountains (The Alps), weiner schitzel, and of course, PORSCHE!" Haller: "I like the Brabus. I think I buy a Brabus." The Dutch Hercules was cryptic, commenting only that, "There is no easy way to devirginate an asshole." Meanwhile, Keri was more forthright, praising Herr Kolb: "[I learned that] some Bullrunners have manners — example: they will stop and check if you're okay when you are pulled over on the side of the road for no reason, even though the other 15 cars in their pack did not." But we'll give Emil the final word on Mister Soul Patch: "Porsche may make the most precise of fine German automobiles, but if you drive like Peter, you won't win the Bullrun."
And that, friends, is it for this year's Bullrun coverage. As Kerouac wrote, "Nobody knows what's going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old." Here, then is a toast to bombing across the country while you still can. We're shutting up. Y'all can exhale now.
More on the Bullrun [Internal]