dumball 2009: Highway to Hel(sinki)
In 2009 the Dumball summoned all the energy it had created in the preceeding years and decided to tackle a Dumball dream. Helsinki may have been the final destination for this year’s Dumball, but we all knew what was really going on: we were headed for mother Russia . And what a fruity lady she proved to be.
The teams looked better than ever and we were back supporting the Teenage Cancer Trust. This year we made nearly £50,000, taking the Dumball total to over £120,000!
There was a unique start – a convoy on UK soil, and then an overnight ferry taking us from Essex to Denmark, onwards to Sweden over the longest bridge in Europe and then another overnight ferry taking us to Poland . The ferries were a bit different , but we got some serious miles under our belt, whilst getting to know each other, drinking and avoiding Germany . What’s not to like?
Once back on the road, the first few days saw us lose more cars than ever. We were seriously lacking a mechanic this year and we lost at least 5 cars to ‘mechanical failure’. Dumball One made it all the way to Estonia , and would have gone all the way but for a slight lack of V5 which meant we had to give it away a bit earlier than planned. At least we had managed to get some serious off-roading in before donating it to a conveniently placed Brit. Northern Poland’s motorways are open for business if you’ve got a 4x4…
Onwards through Lithuania , Latvia , Estonia … Northern Europe was giving up its secrets to the Dumball and we were sharing our message of drunken love with the locals – until we ran out of EU, and things started getting tricky. From the time we first arrived at the Russian border until the last car left Estonian soil, we’d lost 18 hours, 4 cars and 1 Dumballer who had to fly home due to illness.
After arriving at St. Petersburg at 8am, the eerie northern light (dusk at 1am!?) meant we had no problem switching to nocturnal mode for Russia and Finland, which was all well and good considering the stupendous final night awards ceremony and party we had ahead. A multi-media, multi-meat, wallet-bashing night on the tiles in Helsinki saw the Dumball going to bed about an hour before it had to get up - and drive its remaining beleaguered motors to the car crushers so they could go and meet the great Thunder Eagle in the sky. Truly epic.