It’s summertime here in the U.S. which means that the Bullrun Rally is getting ready to kick-off another 3,000 miles of driving mayhem. There are new participants, new celebrities and of course, more police watching over America’s highways. Over the years the Bullrun Rally has given us some of the most amazing automobiles and events the rally world has ever seen and this year looks to be no different. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Andy Duncan, the rallies creator and ask him a few questions about what we can expect from this years run.
Q1. This years 2011 Bullrun Rally takes place from July 8th – 15th and is set to run from Las Vegas, NV to Miami, FL. After running the rally for 7 consecutive years now, how in the hell do you guys manage to keep the route fresh and exciting for your participants?
A. Bloody good question. Well, there are some places that people always like to go to and we repeat visit quite often (like Vegas!) but on the whole we’re planning routes 2 years out and trying to find towns and cities that we haven’t done for a while or just haven’t done. There’s a bunch of amazing towns actually that are really great fun that few people ever here about – we research these quite far in advance and then pull them out when we need them! The other important factor is that Bullrun is really about the people on it and not the cities we go to and THAT’S what really makes this event interesting and hold up to scrutiny year after year.
Q2. Over the years Bullrun has amassed quite a cast of characters as well as celebrity clientele. Any celebrities returning to this years rally, and if so, can you give us any hints as to who they are?
A. Ice-T and Coco came along last year, they we’re so cool and fun to hang out with and are coming back again this year. You caught me at a bad time, we’re about to announce a bunch of other names but can’t right now which is killing us, needless to say there will be more faces!
Q3. For those that don’t know, and aside from the rally itself, you’ve also delved quite deeply into reality television not only producing 3 successful seasons of the “Bullrun Reality Show”, but “Inside West Coast Customs” as well. Will you continue to expand upon this facet of your business and if so, what projects do you have in the pike?
A. Yep, absolutely. This year we’re obviously producing ‘Cops, Cars and Superstars’ for MTV but we have around 16 further TV projects we’re developing right now,. One we’ve just sold as a format to co-produce with a big global TV production company which hopefully we’ll be able to talk about very soon. We’re continuing to focus on auto-lifestyle shows but we’re also developing non auto related TV for guys too which we’re excited about.
Q4. I’ve read announcements that this year’s rally is going to be filmed by MTV. How did this deal come about and what kinds of show can we expect to see for the final product?
A. Well we’ll be making the show as normal with our production team and then delivering the finished article to MTV – scheduled air date is November this year. We’ve always felt ‘Cops, Cars and Superstars’ would have a home here on US TV but we held off for 7 years because we wanted to make the reality version of Bullrun for Spike/Speed and didn’t want to dilute the brand with two shows. Back at the end of last year we started in earnest to sell the ‘Cops, Cars ‘show and started speaking to MTV and finally got round to sealing a deal a few weeks ago.
Q6. In the past the rallies have covered the better part of 3,000 miles. How would you rate this year’s rally in terms of terrain and events, and what surprises do you have in store for the participants?
A. It’s a motherf*cker….LOL. No, like every year, there’s some bits that are tough and there’s some bits that are relatively easy…we have this year however thought of a couple of things to really screw with people…we’ll be getting some annoyed texts from drivers I’m sure by day 2-3 of the rally….we like nothing more than enjoying the misery of our drivers sometimes, but it never lasts for too long, we always revert back to doing something nice for them too…it’s got to be pleasure AND pain so when these guys reflect back on the rally after the 7 days they feel like they’ve had an amazing experience.
Q6. Last year the cast of cars that showed up at the Pier in New York City was pretty damn impressive. Any rides coming this year that you’d consider to be super exotic or worthy of a mention by the rally creator?
A. We have got some really cool cars, Gumpert Apollo, Koennesegg, Trucks, Movie Cars….that’s all I can say for now!
Q7. For those that don’t know, each checkpoint on the rally is kept secret until the participants receive their route card the morning of their departure. What, in your opinion is the best piece of equipment for a participant to bring with them in order to help them find their way?
A. A clear head… not easy considering EVERY night is a party. GPS is obviously great but we DO pick routes deliberately off the GPS. A large, empty open neck container helps too… just sayin…
Q8. Simple question – what are you driving this year?
A. Drive in this thing? Are you mental? LOL! It’s the tour bus for me mate or a private jet, I’ll have the Bullrun Mustang there though and something else special to drive just in case…
Q9. If memory serves, just about every rally but one was run through the continental U.S. with a few starting in Canada. Since you’re from the UK do you have any plans to take the rally over seas at some point for a European Bullrun?
A. We get asked to go back to Europe all the time so it’s always possible, we’ll see what happens with the MTV deal and you never know. We organized rallies in Europe before we came over to the USA so we obviously know it inside out and we actually did a Bullrun from London to Ibiza back in 2004… a long time ago!
Q10. What people don’t seem to realize is that aside from the cars, outstanding hotels and events, the best part of the rally is the people you meet. Why, in you’re opinion, do you think that the participants form such close bonds to those they’ve only met 7 days earlier?
A. It’s always about the people you meet! When you’re in a closed environment with people, it makes you get on with each other and helps bring you all together… and that’s what Bullrun is, it’s kind of a rock and roll road trip where we all come together and hang out then make our way across the USA. I had a similar close environment when I was back in boarding school in the UK (less the cars) which is kind of like prison… only it’s more expensive to send someone to prison than it is to send them to boarding school… lol!