Celebrity road rally rolls through BIA

San Diego residents Dr. Michael Moreno, nicknamed &quotDoc," left, and lawyer Michael Kelly get into Kelly's Ferraris F-430 that stopped at the Odlin Road Irving store to get gas before taking off to Boston as part of the international Gumball 3000. The 120-car rally race, which costs $50,000 to enter, started May 1 in London and will end May 7 in New York City. Moreno and Kelly flew into Bangor International Airport aboard Kelly's personal plane and landed hours before the rest of the rally racers. A number of celebrities, including Skateboard great Tony Hawk, are amongst the participants.  Moreno said he rarely drives Kelly's super fast sports car.  &quotI only do it if I have to," he said. &quotI'm here to relax." The Gumball is more of a road trip, he said, instead of a race.      BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY NOK-NOI RICKER
San Diego residents Dr. Michael Moreno, nicknamed "Doc," left, and lawyer Michael Kelly get into Kelly's Ferraris F-430 that stopped at the Odlin Road Irving store to get gas before taking off to Boston as part of the international Gumball 3000. The 120-car rally race, which costs $50,000 to enter, started May 1 in London and will end May 7 in New York City. Moreno and Kelly flew into Bangor International Airport aboard Kelly's personal plane and landed hours before the rest of the rally racers. A number of celebrities, including Skateboard great Tony Hawk, are amongst the participants. Moreno said he rarely drives Kelly's super fast sports car. "I only do it if I have to," he said. "I'm here to relax." The Gumball is more of a road trip, he said, instead of a race. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY NOK-NOI RICKER
Posted May 04, 2010, at 5:12 p.m.
American rapper and TV personality XZIBIT gives his thumbs up as he makes his way through Bangor International Airport Tuesday afternoon after taking a trans-Atlantic flight with other Gumball 3000 participants. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
American rapper and TV personality XZIBIT gives his thumbs up as he makes his way through Bangor International Airport Tuesday afternoon after taking a trans-Atlantic flight with other Gumball 3000 participants. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
A rally driver cruises his Ferrari (right) past a competitor's Rolls Royce (left) after the rally teams' translatlantic flights arrived at Bangor International Airport Tuesday afternoon. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
A rally driver cruises his Ferrari (right) past a competitor's Rolls Royce (left) after the rally teams' translatlantic flights arrived at Bangor International Airport Tuesday afternoon. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
American rapper and TV personality XZIBIT doesn't seem to show any jetlag as he talks with the media Tuesday on BIA's tarmac after taking a trans-Atlantic flight with other Gumball 3000 participants. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
American rapper and TV personality XZIBIT doesn't seem to show any jetlag as he talks with the media Tuesday on BIA's tarmac after taking a trans-Atlantic flight with other Gumball 3000 participants. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
A Gumball 3000 road rally driver changes into his driving shoes shortly before getting into his high-performance rally car which was flown with other competitor cars to Bangor International Airport Tuesday . BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
A Gumball 3000 road rally driver changes into his driving shoes shortly before getting into his high-performance rally car which was flown with other competitor cars to Bangor International Airport Tuesday . BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
American rapper Bun B , a competitor in the Gumball 3000 Rally, spots a freind in the crowd as he waits to leave BIA's tarmac in his high-performance rally car Tuesday afternoon. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
American rapper Bun B , a competitor in the Gumball 3000 Rally, spots a freind in the crowd as he waits to leave BIA's tarmac in his high-performance rally car Tuesday afternoon. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Rally driver Jon Olson of Sweden moves his luggage into the trunk of his team's Lamborghini shortly after arriving in Bangor International Airport Tuesday afternoon to continue the next leg of the Gumball 3000 Rally. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
Rally driver Jon Olson of Sweden moves his luggage into the trunk of his team's Lamborghini shortly after arriving in Bangor International Airport Tuesday afternoon to continue the next leg of the Gumball 3000 Rally. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Gumball 3000 Rally participant Antonio Pardo of Naples, Italy talks with the BDN after arriving with other competitors at Bangor International Airport Tuesday. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Gumball 3000 Rally participant Antonio Pardo of Naples, Italy talks with the BDN after arriving with other competitors at Bangor International Airport Tuesday. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
A transportation security officer looks over some of Gumball 3000 competitor cars shortly after they were unloaded from several Boeing 747s on Bangor International Airport's tarmac late Tuesday morning. Many of the particpants arrived a few hours later on a separtate trans-Atlantic flight. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
A transportation security officer looks over some of Gumball 3000 competitor cars shortly after they were unloaded from several Boeing 747s on Bangor International Airport's tarmac late Tuesday morning. Many of the particpants arrived a few hours later on a separtate trans-Atlantic flight. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Josephine Noble, right, talks with her crew before they get into their Gumball 3000 Rally sports car at Bangor International Airport Tuersday afternoon. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
Josephine Noble, right, talks with her crew before they get into their Gumball 3000 Rally sports car at Bangor International Airport Tuersday afternoon. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS

BANGOR, Maine — The notorious Gumball 3000 Rally — reminiscent of Burt Reynolds’ Cannonball Run — roared through the Queen City on Tuesday as 120 teams of drivers in Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, Aston Martins and other exotic cars started the first U.S.-leg of their 3,000-mile international derby race.

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The wealthy drivers, who have to fork over $50,000 per two-person team to get into the rally, say it’s more like an incredible road trip than a race.

“It’s not a race, it’s a group of guys having fun,” said San Diego resident Dr. Michael Moreno, nicknamed “Doc,” while at a pit stop at the Irving station on Odlin Road.

“It’s an adventure,” added Moreno, who was accompanied by friend and lawyer Michael Kelly, also of San Diego.

The duo’s Ferrari F-430 and another glamorous-looking older couple’s Aston Martin Vanquish attracted a crowd at the gas pumps, with many gawkers snapping photos of the cars with their cell phone cameras. The teams filled their sleek machines with gas and took off toward Boston at about 1:30 p.m.

“Our goal is to get to Boston before they get off the plane,” Kelly said of the majority of rally teams, who were scheduled to arrive on a chartered flight at Bangor International Airport after 3 p.m.

All 120 of the cars in the event, easily worth more than $12 million in total, were transported separately in chartered 747s to BIA and were offloaded Tuesday morning for the 12th annual Gumball 3000 Rally.

The drivers already in Bangor took off from Europe early Tuesday morning in their own private planes, leaving other participants in the dust, Kelly said.

The Gumball 3000 Rally was founded in 1998 by skateboarder and London-native Maximillion Cooper. He has so successfully marketed the Gumball 3000 brand that in 2007 it was valued at $200 million by Forbes magazine, according to the rally’s website.

This year, the rally includes skateboarder Tony Hawk, rapper Eve, rap star and “Pimp My Ride” host Xzibit, Idris Elba from HBO’s “The Wire,” among other celebrities and dozens of participants who enjoy an affluent lifestyle.

Hawk announced on his Twitter page that he was going to travel in the A-Team van.

The rally last year went from Los Angeles to Miami and in previous years has traveled to locations all over the world.

This year, drivers started in London on May 1 and were to travel 3,000 miles before finishing in New York City in seven days and nights. They have already made it to Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm, where the cars were flown to BIA. The teams will head toward Quebec City and Toronto after Boston and are sched-uled to zoom into Times Square in New York on May 7.

In Bangor on Tuesday, two local women, who said simultaneously that “our husbands are big fans,” stood at the end of the airport with their children watching the action as the exotic and powerful sports cars were unloaded.

“They’ve been following them for weeks,” said Bangor resident Marci Parizo of her husband, Pete, and Ruth Clark’s husband, Matt. “They’ve been making Excel spreadsheets and tracking them with GPS.”

“They’ve tracked them through Europe,” said Clark.

Parizo, who had in tow her sons, Landen, 3, and Sullivan, 11-months, stood with Clark, who brought along daughter, Quinn, 3, and son, Linus, 1. Both were constantly on the phone with their husbands, giving updates.

“We’re the contact,” Parizo said. “He checks Tony Hawk’s Twitter page hourly,” she said of her husband.

Both men were working, but planned to drop everything once the drivers began to get into their cars, they said.

As he was getting the jump start on his fellow rally participants a little later, Michael Kelly said he first heard about the rally while watching late-night TV.

“I was watching ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno’ about seven years ago and saw a celebrity who said it was crazy fun,” Kelly offered while standing in the Irving parking lot. Though he applied the next year, he didn’t complete the needed paperwork to get his car overseas in time to qualify.

“Five years ago, I was prepared,” said Kelly, who has done it every year since. “You have to be [ready]. They only let 120 people do it.”

Over the last five years, the two friends have had a number of memorable moments, Kelly said.

The most memorable moment happened in Serbia.

“We got my car up to 200 miles per hour on the highway,” he said, adding that he was in an area where there was no speed limit. Rally participants are expected to respect road rules wherever they are.

“Doc” said he lets Kelly do all the driving.

“Every year we do the rally, and it takes us around the world,” he said.

Bangor Daily News writers Aimee Thibodeau and Dawn Gagnon contributed to this report.

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