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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

$50 million worth of cars blew into Spokane on Wednesday

Some of them couldn’t resist the temptation of the straightaways on Interstate 90.

Nearly 100 of the finest, most powerful cars around came to Spokane on Wednesday afternoon as part of a road rally across the West.

On the way, as many as 10 drivers were pulled over for going at speeds of 99 to 112 mph.

For some people, horsepower apparently doesn’t equal good sense, state troopers said.

But the brush with the law didn’t dampen the enthusiasm the cars brought to Spokane.

Hundreds, if not thousands of car lovers showed up Wednesday at the Thai Bamboo restaurant to look at the cars. Traffic was backed up on Division, and at least six patrol officers were on hand for crowd control.

The crowd, with lots of families and kids, was respectful and orderly.

Cornelius Fabian, 16, posed in front of what he said was “my favorite car in the world” – an Audi R8. He said he learned about the event on Instagram.

Evan Zeiler, 8, who knows his cars, had his photo taken in front of as many as possible, including a Rolls Royce.

“My bedroom is all full of cars,” he said.

Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich said the size of the crowd shows “the power of social media.”

Tom Burgess, the restaurant owner, hosted the group after making the run himself from Seattle in his Alfa Romeo 4C. The restaurant closed to regular business during the rally event.

Earlier in the day some of the cars were stopped in Kittitas and Grant counties as the rally roared into Spokane from Seattle.

The nine-day goldRush Rally, with an estimated $50 million worth of cars, started in Beverly Hills and will end Saturday in Las Vegas.

The driver of a bright green Lamborghini was stopped twice Wednesday going 102 mph and 99 mph, in Kittitas County and then in Grant County, said Trooper Brian Moore, WSP spokesman.

The vehicle was impounded by troopers in Grant County because of the second violation. The driver was cited for reckless driving, which is a gross misdemeanor that carries a mandatory court appearance, Moore said.

A second driver was also cited for reckless driving, but the car was not impounded. Both drivers were released.

Burgess, who hosted in Spokane, said the Lamborghini driver was not registered with the rally and may have simply decided to run with the group for free and fun. Another spokesperson for the rally said that interlopers are not unusual.

“Unfortunately, many goldRush fans and followers like to show off and follow along with the rally often driving recklessly,” said Kristen Klinger in an email.

Moore said the trooper who pulled over the Lamborghini was told by the driver it was in the rally.

The cost of the nine-day, eight-stop run across the West was $20,000 for a two-person team, including luxury accommodations and private events. There were shorter trips for less cost.

As the group neared Spokane, troopers didn’t issue any speeding citations in Adams, Lincoln or Spokane counties, troopers said.

Needless to say, law enforcement was not happy.

“At those speeds, they are putting everyone at risk,” Moore said. “Those speeds have deadly consequences.”

When troopers realized they were having a problem, they dispatched extra officers to beef up enforcement, he said.

Most of the drivers observed by troopers were running in the 70s, Moore said.

The rally passed through construction zones with lower speed limits and where the risk of accidents is even greater, especially with workers present, he said.

The cars showed up at Spokane County Raceway drag strip, arriving about 1:30 to 2 p.m. for some “high HP” track work. The public was invited to watch the cars, and many did, Burgess said.

Burgess acknowledged the speeding incidents and said he stayed light on the gas pedal, as did most of the other rally drivers.

“I get all my speed at the track,” he said.

The rally moved to North Division Street Wednesday evening, where all of the cars went on display starting about 6 p.m. The event was open to the public.

“It’s amazing seeing all of these cars,” Burgess said by cellphone earlier in the day as he was fueling up in the Seattle area for the run across the Cascades to Spokane.

He said he expected lots of people to show up and cameras to come out.

“You will never see this again,” he said.

According to the website, “With no detail left untouched, goldRush Rally challenges you to find a better means of celebrating the automotive dream than with us.”

The rally supports the Lynn Taylor Foundation, of San Rafael, California, which makes small grants to help children and encourage them to give back to the community.