BULLRUN 2013: TEAM ROYALE AND THE STRANGE JOURNEY AHEAD!
Team Royale is stepping up to the plate once again this year in a very unique way. Phil Ayache and Drake Kemper, an unlikely duo, have joined forces. But they’re not driving in a car. They’re not driving a vehicle we’ve ever seen on Bullrun before. They’ll have plenty of air conditioning and bugs in their teeth! Oh, and they’ll be very stiff by the time they reach the end-of-day checkpoints. You might be wondering why. Well, it’s because they’re driving a Can-Am Spyder.
Phil Ayache first began his Bullrun adventure in 2010 when he entered Bullrun with his friend Nick Steinman in Phil’s then girlfriend’s BMW M3.
Ayache recalls his most memorable Bullrun moment being stealing his then girlfriend’s car for his first Bullrun. After taking it out on a dirt track at the IMI Motorsports Complex on the rally and returning the car to his girlfriend after the rally, Phil decided Bullrun was more important to him. In 2011 he returned with Steinman in a white camouflage Audi R8 with all sorts of electronics. Phil and Nick did the rally while raising money for the Wounded Warrior’s Project.
Drake Kemper first entered Bullrun in his 1997 Porsche BSX race car, which caught fire later in the rally. Kemper recalls that as one of his most memorable Bullrun moments. Drake returned the next year in a brand new BMW M3 and rode with his friend Michael Bolten. Then in 2011, “Call me maybe” Kemper rode with Stephen Tramuta from new Orleans in a 2013 Porsche 911.
Even though Phil and Drake have never spent more than five minutes in a car together, they’re determined to complete the rally on what is essentially a motorbike.
The whole idea of bringing a Can-Am Spyder came up by fluke.
“We had originally planned to bring a truck that Phil has been building for a year – the ultimate rally machine,” Kemper said. “A Chevy 2500HD with a completely customized… everything. It was tricked out to the nines with everything you could possibly do to it. But while he was in the middle of some 170MPH testing (in the middle of Mexico of course.) The rear axles snapped because they couldn’t handle the 1400HP.”
“Then, we were planning on bringing his 2012 CLS63 which is currently being built at Renntech to have 770HP, wide body kit, and everything else they could possibly do to it,” Kemper continued. “But they will not be finished in time with the car.”
“So we were discussing what to take on Bullrun over a few glasses of Black Label, and I came up with this crazy idea to take a Can-Am, completely as a joke, and he said ‘That’s it, we’re doing it,’ and that was that.”
Drake and Phil are in for a wild ride this year. They’ll have no electronics, no navigation (except for Drake’s iPad) and Drake will have to hold on to Phil for dear life while trying to navigate to the next checkpoint.
Despite this, Phil says “two veteran Bullruners from other teams coming together to make the perfect winning duo” is this year’s theme. Though neither Drake nor Phil will reveal their strategy, one thing’s for sure; they’ll need a lot of stamina!
“It’s not a sprint, it’s an endurance event,” Kemper said. “ We aren’t going to drive 10/10ths the whole time. Consistent placing higher in the rankings and staying out of trouble is key… Also, a hangover ruins the next day, so we’ll know our limits until New Orleans!”
These guys are certainly in contention for the Spirit of the Bullrun award this year. We’ve never heard anyone ride from beginning to end on a Can-Am Spyder before!
Drake has been at both ends of the pranking spectrum over the years. This year with Phil enlisted for support, Team Royale have a few tricks up their sleeves. Bullrun is all about fun, and these two are going to bring the fun this year! Remember the footie pajamas from years past? Well expect more of that too!
For Team Royale, Bullrun is: “a much needed retox every year, like a family reunion… A family that likes to drive too fast, then party too hard, then sleep, recover, and repeat.”
Q&A with Team Royale:
1. How did you originally hear about Bullrun? Why Bullrun?
Phil: I heard about Bullrun through Matt Farah/The Smoking Tire.
Drake: I watched the original season of Bullrun the TV show, then watched Matt Farah/The Smoking Tire’s videos on Youtube, then bought the DVD’s… You could say I was obsessed.
Why Bullrun? They are the only rally that pays for your meals (which is important because I love my food.) You don’t know where you’re going, it’s truly a journey. The people on the rally are unlike anywhere else, we are one big dysfunctional family. Oh, also because of Team Texas!
2. You’ve already done three Bullrun rallies with this being your fourth. You’ve got a lot of experience rallying and have had some crazy memories. Looking back at past Bullrun rallies, what’s the experience that sticks out the most?
Phil: Stealing my then girlfriend’s car for my first Bullrun (I will give you one guess why we broke up.) Yes, Bullrun meant more to me.
Drake: Haha! Phil stealing his ex’s car was pretty memorable, but I think the experience that sticks out the most was my Porsche catching on fire during the 2010 rally, or Team Texas running me into a wall with a golf kart…
3. Tell me about the plan for this year. Do you know what you are driving this year, who’s your teammate? What’s the team name?
Team Royale… (with cheese). Phil Aya will be my teammate. For the first time ever in Bullrun history… we will be a 3-wheeled team! That’s right; we are bringing a Can-Am Spyder. This wasn’t exactly our first choice, but it’ll be a Hell of an Experience, and that’s what Bullrun is, one helluva ride!
We had originally planned to bring a truck that Phil has been building for a year – the ultimate rally machine. A Chevy 2500HD with a completely customized… everything. It was tricked out to the nines with everything you could possibly do to it. But while he was in the middle of some 170MPH testing (in the middle of Mexico of course.) The rear axles snapped because they couldn’t handle the 1400HP.
Then, we were planning on bringing his 2012 CLS63 which is currently being built at Renntech to have 770HP, wide body kit, and everything else they could possibly do to it. But they will not be finished in time with the car.
So we were discussing what to take on Bullrun over a few glasses of Black Label, and I came up with this crazy idea to take a Can-Am, completely as a joke, and he said “That’s it, we’re doing it,” and that was that.
We pick up the Can-Am in Montreal on the 30th. We’ve only seen a mock-up of the project with the logos on it; neither of us has driven/ridden one before… It’ll be an interesting time; it’ll feel like Dumb and Dumber the whole time.
4. What does your rally preparation involve for the rally?
Phil: that’s a secret!
Drake: I’ve been practicing riding my bike and holding onto an ipad (I’m going to have to navigate one handed the whole time.)
5. You’re a seasoned race car driver. Tell me about this year’s racing season and how your track experience will help you out on Bullrun this year.
Phil: I am the farthest thing from a seasoned race car driver. I’ve raced ATV’s and the only experience that gave me led to me driving my M3 on a motocross track on the 2010 Bullrun.
Drake: This year I am competing, professionally in the MAZDASPEED Pro Challenge. It runs on track with the Playboy MX-5 Cup. We are a support series for the American Lemans Series, Grand-Am, and INDY Car. We run alongside the IMSA GT3Cup Challenge.
My track experience will help me not make stupid decisions on the road, and on the track it’ll help me win the hot lap challenge for the 2nd year in a row!
6. You’ve been known to wear footie pajamas on the rally before. Will we be seeing more of those this year?
Phil: we will be rocking footie pajamas and much more!
Drake: I have a slew of outfits this year. Only 2 pairs of footy pajamas this year, but they will be memorable. The rest of the outfits are quite… interesting to say the least!
7. You’ve been at the heart of some Bullrun pranks in the past. Which prank was your favorite, and what can we expect this year?
Phil: I cant pick a favorite. Mostly because I’ve partied too much to remember them!
Drake: I think my favorite pranks in Bullrun history have been the Crickets in my car, the alligator in the Dudesons’ hotel room, and “Spray Painting” Bill Sheppard’s car last year.
8. What do you consider to be your team’s strongest asset this year?
Phil: Two veteran Bullruners from other teams coming together to make the perfect winning duo!
Drake: I can’t agree more. Although I’ve never been in a car with Phil for more than 5 minutes, nor rode on the back of a motorcycle, we both know what to expect from all of the craziness that is Bullrun!
9. If you could give the Bullrun newbies some advice, what would it be?
Phil: Don’t trust anyone! I promise you when we’re driving no one is your friend.
As the Demas girls said, you are not as cool as you think you are.
Remember this is supposed to be fun don’t get too emotional over little pranks or dumb remarks.
Don’t lie to the cops. They aren’t stupid and it will just make it worse.
Don’t drive like an idiot. There’s no need to endanger anyone’s life.
Get out of our way. Our taillights will always be in front of you.
You will remember this for the rest of your life as the best week you have ever had!
Drake: Prepare to be hazed, your rookie year is tough! Teams play pranks, but take them in good light.
Take all jokes lightly.
Don’t ruin it for the rest of us.
Don’t drive like an idiot.
Don’t listen to Wu.
Team Texas is off-limits, everyone on this rally is their older brother. You don’t want that world of hurt!
Remember, this is not a race, it’s a rally, having fun is the most important part!
10. With you being one of the more experienced teams on the rally, what are you doing differently to outwit the other teams?
Phil: Ask us again after we’ve won the Navigator Award and maybe we will spill some of our secrets!
Drake: It’s not a sprint, it’s an endurance event. We aren’t going to drive 10/10ths the whole time. Consistent placing higher in the rankings and staying out of trouble is key… Also, a hangover ruins the next day, so we’ll know our limits until New Orleans.
11. What’s the thing you enjoy most about Bullrun?
Phil: the camaraderie. it’s like one huge family dinner except for a weeklong rally.
Drake: It’s a much needed retox every year, like a family reunion… A family that likes to drive too fast, then party too hard, then sleep, recover, and repeat.
I love nice cars, Bullrun has nice cars. I love great food, Bullrun has great food. I love nice hotels, Bullrun has nice hotels. I love partying with great friends. That’s what Bullrun is all about.