120 people + 34 cars + fancy dress & paint jobs x 2,000km @India (+one broken foot) = Dumball Rally 2016 #itsagoa
In the last ten years there have been eight Dumball rallies crossing initially Europe but now reaching new continents too. Dumball sets off with the aim of taking fancy-dressed old bangers 1,000’s of miles in the hope of raising money for charity and of course having bloody great time along the way!
Not only did we see and experience some incredible things as we drove hundreds of miles a day along some white knuckle roads, but in the process of doing so this year’s rally raised more than £126,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust. Now that’s a road trip with a difference.
In the start point of Chennai we were greeted with a line-up of Hindustani Ambassadors and after picking our keys at random were given 2-3 hours to decorate them with supplies either on location or that we’d carried with us in our luggage. In no time these humble steeds became a colourful quirky convoy that would soon be talked about in the Indian national papers.
We were generally on the move from around 9am until often around 10pm finally reaching our night-stop in time for a late dinner and a few much-needed drinks.
The whole thing although amazing was also pretty tiring, despite the fact it comes with a wealth of amazing memories you can’t escape the fact that being stuck in and old banger in temperatures in the high 30s for 10-12 hours a day is pretty sticky and uncomfortable to say the least. Add to that not being able to use the air-con for fear of it stressing the engine too much and you’ll soon realise why they say ‘Dumball is NOT a holiday’.
In the few short breaks we’d have each day on the route we’d get an overwhelming reception/looks of bewilderment from the locals who would swarm around for photos with the random western weirdos. It was humbling and fantastic to be greeted so warmly and everyone was very receptive to our ‘interactions’. We’d have various challenges to achieve each day for which we needed photo or video evidence including such goals as; perform as a choir for a local audience, be invited into someone’s home for food, find shoes to match your squadron colour or drive local vehicles and have them join you for a leg of the journey. On top of this we also borrowed trucks, mopeds, taxis, cycles, I had a ferry boatman tow me across a river in a dingy I’d bought a few villages earlier. challenge: ‘photos in a vessel’ ticked! A couple of the guys even helped tarmac a new road being laid in our path somewhere in the Western Ghat Mountains amidst the tea plantations. A standard day on a Dumball rally.
A couple of teams in our 6 car squadron were cricket themed and pulled out the bats, ball and stumps at any opportunity to strike up a game with the locals (and the Indian’s always won!). These games included a local school, roadside villagers and even the hotel staff of one of our stops with the Hotel manager fast bowling against the bellhop! (That kid had some skills!)
Even in normal gear everyone was stopped for photos but when dressed as superheroes we had a taste of how Posh & Becks or Justin Bieber might feel trying to get anywhere. We were completely mobbed and could barely take two steps between photos but it was more than worth it and a great feeling seeing them so excited and thrilled to see us.