It’s Thursday, May 26 and I’m still recovering from goldRush Rally 8.
(For those of you who don’t know what the goldRush Rally is, you can check out our previous article meeting Jebo and Verone in SEMA.)
That’s right – it’s been 4 days since we finished the rally and my body has taken almost entire week to recover. We drove hard, we partied harder. We ran the streets for a glorious week of undeniable awesomeness.
There are already a lot of articles written about this year’s goldRush rally – the GR8EST to date – such as this one from Speed Society and this one from Studio@Gawker. You can even check out these videos from some dudes who tried to roll with us from Salt Lake City to Vegas to LA.
This article isn’t intended to cover the general information those other articles and videos have covered; we’re here to talk about what it was like to experience the West Coast portion of the goldRush Rally first hand.
Spoiler alert: it was fucking nuts.
Before the rally even started, all rally participants join a members-only group on Facebook for goldRush Rally 8.
Months before the actual event, people are gearing up like it was the zombie apocalypse – new cars, stunning wraps, clothes and multiple pairs of dope kicks are among the items they purchase for the rally.
What did I do before the rally?
I bought some shoes. On sale. From Footlocker.
I didn’t wrap my car. I didn’t get a radar detector. I didn’t buy any costumes or outfits. I didn’t add any additional mods on my car. I didn’t even buy a new car.
Lucky for us, our Car Porn Racing teammates for the #ManilaAllStars did go all out and had some shirts printed and wrapped their car for the event:
I did also have my car checked out by the team over at GI Automotive Group about a week before the event to see if it was rally ready – they told me I needed to top it off with some oil and change my brake pads.
Oh and my wife ordered a Filipino flag from Amazon on our drive up to Santa Fe.
So we were good. Right?
Heading up to Colorado Springs
My wife and I decided to take the entire week off and road trip up to Colorado Springs before the rally. We were going to meet some friends at Phoenix, check out Santa Fe and then end up in Colorado Springs a day before the rest of the rally showed up.
The car ran well as we took it from the 102-degree Phoenix heat, to the temperate 65-degree weather in Santa Fe, to the too-cold-for-my-California-ass 40-degree weather in Colorado Springs.
We partied a little bit, drove a lot and even saw a meteor crater in the middle of nowhere.
By the time we hit Colorado Springs, I had already put in about 1,200 miles on the Aston and thought I was warmed up for the long drives on the rally.
The day we arrived in Colorado Springs, the weather was heavy rain, so we assumed driving up Pike’s Peak (a marquee destination on the West Coast leg) would be called off due to inclement weather.
Additionally – since I drive like a grandma – I thought I would be able to take it easy on the rally and just let everyone duke it out with their supercars.
I thought, “It should be a nice easy drive, right?”
When the goldRush Rally rolls into town, you can feel the energy.
Car spotters (photographers) everywhere, supercars around every corner and a palpable excitement can be felt in the air.
Plus the hotels (which are included with your entry fee) are pretty sick.
Our Colorado Springs hotel was The Broadmoor, a larger-than-life hotel with 3000 acres, 3 golf courses, a lake, its own bowling alley and views you usually only see on a postcard.
For every stop, the super-friendly and efficient goldRush organizers set up an entire floor in the parking garage for goldRushers to park where fans (yeah fans) can check out the cars throughout the day.
There were even about 20 volunteers (who are 100% car lovers) who helped teams just starting the rally receive their coveted goldRush sponsor stickers.
We had the choice of gold or black, but since our car was white, we thought the gold stickers would look dope:
From the beginning of the rally, we gravitated towards certain teams and were pretty happy to realize all the participants on the rally were very friendly and shared the same passion for cars we did.
That Rock Star Feeling
For the record – I never played a musical instrument at school and I only sing Karaoke when I am drunk AF, so I never imagined what it would be like to be a Rock Star.
For the 5 days I was a part of goldRush, I had a taste of the Rock Star life.
From the very first day in the parking garage of The Broadmoor, we had large groups of goldRush fans visit to take pictures of the cars and talk to the drivers.
They’d ask a ton of questions about the cars, the drivers, what the route was, what was in your car, whether they could sit in your car, whether they could add you on social media and whether they could take a picture with you.
On top of hanging out with fans, you were surrounded by what was approximated to be about $40 million dollars in cars.
“Surreal” is one way to describe it. “Fucking awesome” is how I would do it.
Porsche of Colorado Springs
First event of the evening was a private hosted dinner at Porsche of Colorado Springs.
They asked us to bring our cars over, but since my wife and I just drove over 1,000 miles and I was a lazy MF, we opted to just Uber it to the venue.
As we pulled up, there must have been over 100 people outside the event and dozens of photographers waiting for cars to pull in.
Was Beyonce buying a new Porsche or something?
Nope – they were there for us. And our cars. Nuts.
The West Coast portion of the rally had 107 cars participating, so there were about 214 people (pilots and co-pilots) at the dinner. Organizers welcomed us, the reps from the Porsche dealers had a few kind words, they had a pretty good buffet and MB&F (one of the rally sponsors) had about $1,000,000 worth of watches on display for us to check out (and hopefully purchase).
I didn’t buy a watch (although we think a rally participant did) and there was a rumor going around a goldRusher bought a car at the Porsche event (baller!).
After dinner, the organizers set up an event for us at The Mansion, an exclusive nightclub in Colorado Springs.
We had buses (yeah, plural) which would shuttle us to and from the nightclub and we had an entire area set up for us for the evening.
When we got there, most of the club was sparse, but the VIP area was packed and poppin’. goldRushers were in town and they were looking to party hard.
Bottle service. Sparklers. It was about to go down in The Mansion.
An Alternative “Gold Rush”
One additional by-product of goldRush? Working girls. It seems they knew when goldRush was in town and they participated in a goldRush of their own.
How did we know they were working girls?
They would end every sentence with: “What car are you driving?“, “What are you doing later tonight?” and the perennial favorite, “Can I hold your flag?” (Note: we didn’t have flags.)
I told myself I wouldn’t drink that night because we had a 12-hour drive the next day. Especially shots. No fucking shots.
I ended up doing like 5 shots and 3 drinks before we left at midnight (hey at least we left early).
Every morning we had a driver’s meeting which started anytime between 7 am and 9 am (and this one happened to be at 7 am). During those meetings, the organizers made some announcements, gave us route cards for the day and handed out prizes for previous days. Fortunately for us, they announced Pike’s Peak was still going to happen.
Unfortunately for me, I was still hungover from the night before.
With the snow from the storm, the park rangers would only allow us to go up a little past half way. Everyone was stoked to be going since driving Pike’s Peak was a bucket-list type experience. Also, did I mention they were closing down the road just for us?
On the way, I got to experience my first goldRush gas stop. For those who have never heard or experienced this phenomena, it’s when all the goldRushers stop at some random gas station and get gas. Whenever this happens, locals and people getting gas flip-the-fuck-out because millions of dollars worth of cars show up at the same time:
Once we were all topped off, we rolled out to Pike’s Peak. All 107 of us. Effectively, the stop light turned into a race track light tree and everyone jumped on the gas and bombed it out of there.
So much for driving like a grandma…
In that initial burst of speed, someone got pulled over. The rest of us let off the gas to something a little more moderate, but I could feel the goldRush start to creep into my blood.
It was fucking on.
We arrived at the entrance to the park and there were already car spotters waiting to take our pictures. After a short wait, we started driving up infamous Pike’s Peak. It was beautiful and as we got farther up in altitude, the fog started to clear and the snow on the mountain got denser.
One thing on everyone’s mind: “How the hell do racecar drivers do this drive?“
No side rails, super twisty turns, sheer cliffs. Beautiful, but you didn’t want to make any mistakes even going 25 to 40 mph or else you would be a part of the topography.
By the time we got to as far as they would let us go, we all were in awe of the scenery. The snow capped mountains, the trees and all the badass cars in the foreground.
Did I already say the experience was surreal?
Colorado Springs to Salt Lake City
As we left Pike’s Peak, everyone was on a high from the experience. But you knew everyone was ready to drive.
We headed down the mountain and as we made the u-turn to the highway we needed to get on, the horsepower gods reminded me I was outgunned by almost 90% of the cars on the rally.
After 90 bursts of insane exhaust sounds, they were gone.
I ended up hanging with our new friends from Fusion Luxury Motors in their Eleanor Mustang (not a bad view for a long drive to Utah). We both held up a decent pace and just cruised along the picturesque Colorado scenery.
One thing about the routes the goldRush organizers gave us – not only were they scenic, but they were also driver’s routes.
Twisty mountain passes made the route to Salt Lake City a very interesting (and hangover destroying) one.
Added bonus: as we were making it through one of the more intense roads, we got a 3rd driver to join our pack: it was none other than the Venom GT being piloted by John Hennessy.
If that isn’t one of the coolest things a car guy can experience in his lifetime, I don’t know what is!
Glenwood Springs, CO
In-between our drive to Salt Lake City, all the goldRushers were supposed to meet up in a little town called Glenwood Springs for lunch. Since we were about 45 minutes later than everyone else, the entire main street was already lined up with parked goldRush rally supercars. Again, it must have been a WTF moment for people living in that town who probably only see supercars on Instagram.
The rest of the drive? Grueling, man.
12 hours of driving is no joke and it’s definitely tough on your back, your mind and your body. In fact, one team decided to just fly to Vegas from SLC and have their cars shipped because they were worn out from this particular 12-hour drive (we were like 20% jealous they did that).
Salt Lake City, Utah
I think Salt Lake City had some of the best goldRush Rally fans of the West Coast leg (and a lot of them!).
As with other stops, we had a designated parking area across the street from the hotel for fans to meet the teams and see the cars.
When we arrived, there were about 20 car spotters taking photos as we drove in and about 200 people already waiting in the parking lot to do a meet and greet with the teams.
All the fans at the event were super nice and wanted to know as much as they could about the Rally. I even met a half-American, half-Filipino family who was following the #ManilaAllStars on Snapchat!
Here’s a video from The Stradman on the goldRush Rally 8 meet and greet in Salt Lake City:
After the meet and greet, we were all exhausted. Some went to the follow up event where goldRushers watched a movie at a movie theater, some just had dinner, others had dinner and drinks at the hotel bar. Everyone shared their stories about the drive over and we started to feel connected with the rest of the groups.
Additional note: according to some sources, the people who worked at the hotel bar made more money that night with the goldRushers than any other night (all year).
Salt Lake City to Las Vegas
The driver’s meeting for our route to Vegas was at 9:30 am and everyone seemed well rested and ready to go. Our route for this trip had us traveling through Mt. Zion, a picturesque park in Utah on the way to Las Vegas and we were supposed to have lunch after the Mt. Zion drive.
Here’s a video from car spotter “Effspot” giving you a glimpse of what the drive was like (we weren’t massive fans of their reckless driving on the way there, though):
Fans and car spotters alike were in attendance for this driver’s meeting and they gathered to take videos and photos of the cars leaving the parking lot.
One special announcement during that morning’s meeting – one team ended up buying themselves a brand new Ferrari F12 Berlinetta because their other car was “too slow”. I don’t know if I was already starting to get desensitized to the entire goldRush experience, but these types of things weren’t surprising to me anymore.
It was a beautiful car which was perfect for the rally (to be honest, I was like 30% jealous).
Mt. Zion National Park
If you’ve never been to Mt. Zion, I would highly recommend the trip.
Our drive through the park was one of the most unforgettable experiences in the rally. Compared to the snow covered lush mountains of Colorado, Mt. Zion was warmer and had red-rock colored mountains which made you feel like you were on another planet.
Having supercars driving up and down the street didn’t make it worse, either.
Getting in to Las Vegas
One of my top three experiences for the rally was our drive into Vegas. We started off pacing with Eleanor, a black Lamborghini Aventador (and his Porsche Cayenne support vehicle), A black Lamborghini Twin-Turbo Gallardo (that MF spit some serious flames), a red Maserati Granturismo with a killer exhaust note, our good friends in an Audi A4 and the beast – the custom bad-boy Rhino GX (best dude to drive with, ever).
Hitting traffic we were joined by a Pagani Huayra (no biggie. Ha!).
Right outside Vegas, we separated from the Lambos and Pagani and were joined by Ted 7 in his unbelievably fast Fiat Abarth, a super tricked-out Nissan GT-R with a Samurai wrap and the unicorn of the entire rally, a Jaguar XJ220 wrapped in the Union Jack. All of us were weaving through Vegas traffic like a high-speed ballet.
It was glorious.
Finally, as we pulled close to the hotel, we caught up with the rest of the teams. I still get goosebumps just thinking about it.
Two days in the city of sin with goldRushers can best be likened to the first time you decide to get high and ride a rollercoaster – it’s fuckin’ awesome for a little bit, but if you did it too much, you would end up throwing up all over the place.
All the goldRushers were being housed in The Cosmopolitan (which, coincidentally is one of my favorite hotels in Las Vegas) and we had a dedicated section on the 4th floor parking garage. As with all stops, they had detailing services available to make sure you car was super fresh for the rest of the trip.
Additionally, as with all other hotels, we had a pretty badass room in one of the bad-assest (is that even a word?) locations on the Strip.
Night 1: Intrigue
First event for Vegas was at one of the newest nightclubs in Las Vegas: Intrigue at The Wynn.
The goldRush fam (I can’t call them organizers at this point, because – you know – we bonded) set the entire group up with tables at the club and some bottles of vodka.
Since I wasn’t planning on making the track day the next day (pool party, MF) I decided I was going to drink. It was a little bit of a madhouse because all the goldRushers were there and the club itself was pretty packed with people. I tried to talk to as many goldRushers I could to hang out and get to know them.
Next thing we knew, it was 2:30 and Intrigue staff was giving us free pizza. Not going to lie, it was pretty awesome.
So… I totally missed track day because I was at Marquee Day club with a few goldRushers:
Our teammate Ian King from Car Porn Racing, however, didn’t miss the track day and ended up drifting his rented Maybach.
Night 2: XS
The goldRush team had a second party night for everyone at XS, another uber exclusive nightclub at The Wynn.
But… I missed it because we drank too much at the pool. Heard Justin Bieber and Skrillex showed up later that evening though.
Las Vegas to Los Angeles
Thankfully our driver’s meeting was pretty late for this day. Most everyone partied pretty hard late into the night, so they needed as much sleep as possible. Our team, however, slept super early and got a full 10.
One of the major traditions of the goldRush Rally is they always stop at the In-n-Out in Barstow.
Much like our other stops on the way, Barstow became a supercar car show for about 2 hours because of all the goldRushers rolling through.
At this point, we really started to feel like a part of the group and were proud to roll in with the other teams:
Our finale was at the Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles.
They closed down Chick Hearn drive so all the goldRushers could park and display their cars for all the fans who wanted to see the cars. As we pulled in, there were dozens of photographers, flags and people waiting to see us roll in.
It was a pretty magical feeling.
We smiled, hugged, walked up and down the street in awe at the grandeur of the entire event and finale. It was amazing to see all 107 cars parked side-by-side like warriors who just arrived from a great battle.
We also got some medals for finishing the rally. Other finishers got special awards and our teammate Ian King and his co-pilot Struan Wallace received the coveted “Golden Monkey” award:
We were just happy to have finished with no car problems, no tickets and a head full of incredible memories.
But it didn’t stop there….
The last party night was at Warwick nightclub in Hollywood. It’s one of the hottest clubs in L.A. and the goldRush crew was going to shut it down and party their asses off.
Bottles: popped. Fun: had. goldRush Rally: completed.
There were a few events the following day which were optional for the goldRushers to attend: an open house at Fusion Luxury Motors and an event for the Taylor-Lynn Foundation.
The Taylor-Lynn Foundation was a major sponsor of the goldRush Rally and they had an awesome event at Tomorrow’s Aeronautical Museum where a lot of the goldRush cars were on display with airplanes.
We made the Fusion Luxury Motors open house and checked out some rad cars (as well as how the Eleanor is made) and was on our way to the Taylor-Lynn Foundation event, when it suddenly hit us: we were exhausted.
The goldRush Rally emotional crash
After partying and driving hard for 5 days, your body just goes into a physical and emotional crash after completing the rally.
Your body is tired and emotionally, you start going into withdrawals.
Wait, no more driver’s meetings? We’re not going to be driving 8 hours with other supercars? We’re not going to hang out with everyone anymore?
The only way you can cope with the grief is by checking the goldRush Rally members only Facebook page and look at photos of the rally.
What was good to see – everyone else was going through the same thing.
The Best Parts of the Rally
It may sound surprising, but my favorite thing from the entire rally was when we all ended up stopping at a gas station in Utah on the way to Vegas and all 107 cars were either parked or getting gas. This is what it looked and felt like:
Here are the rest, in order:
- The people (both the participants and organizers were all super cool)
- Getting photographed by Ted7 while going fast on the freeway
- Driving up Pike’s Peak
- Driving with a group including the XJ220 into Las Vegas
- Being in a convoy with John Hennessy and his world-record breaking Venom GT
- Driving around freeways and streets with Bugattis and Paganis
I could probably go on, but those were the top ones.
Things I learned
One of the biggest things I learned was the limits of my car. Since I was a “grandma driver” before the rally, I never really got to see what my ride can do.
After the rally, I am pretty happy with my car’s performance and have a brand new appreciation for it!
Here are the other things I learned:
- Bring the fastest car you’ve got to goldRush
- Come prepared with a radar detector (and other equipment)
- Wrap the car with the craziest wrap you can imagine
- Once you’re a part of the goldRush family, you’re “gold blooded” for life
- Wearing costumes makes it more fun
- Get as much sleep and rest as you can before the rally!
Our Favorite Cars
There were some pretty amazing cars on the trip, but we have to bow down to the Bugs, the Paganis and the Venom GT.
Where else can you see all those cars rolling around on the freeway and streets at the same time?
After joining the rally, we’ve been asked a lot of questions, so we thought we would write them down here with answers:
- Are all the people who join the rally super rich? Nope, but there were definitely some mad ballers in the group.
- Do people speed? Everybody went their own pace and there were definitely people who stretched their cars out.
- Did people get speeding tickets? Yes.
- Were there a lot of cops? Some areas had more than others, but there were definitely a lot more cops out when we rolled through town.
- Did you have to join every activity in the event? Nope! We had the option to do whatever the F we wanted, but it’s fun to try to make all the events!
- How was it to join the rally? It was a life-changing experience, especially if you’re a car person.
And the final question: Would I do it again?
My answer: Abso-fucking-lutely.
In fact, I’m still wearing all of my goldRush gear right now!
A big thanks to Ramin Arami, Aimee Shackelford, Jebo Lopez and Verone Pangilinan who helped make this goldRush experience a very special one!