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The Globe and Mail

In Pictures: Wild and wacky auto races

The participants in these events all have one thing in common - they want to drive their vehicles as fast as possible, and have fun too

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Cannonball Run: Ed Bolian (centre) recently broke the New York to Los Angeles speed record, completing the 2,803-mile trip in 28 hours, 50 minutes and 30 seconds, driving at an average speed of about 160 km/h. He and his two co-drivers spent 18 months planning the trip and modifying a Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG with extra gas taks, GPS, radar detectors and a switch to kill the rear lights. The trio recorded only 46 minutes of non-driving time for the trip. The first Cannonball Run took place in the 1971, with a time of 35:53. Tne 1979 race inspired a 1981 movie featuring Burt Reynolds.

Ed Bolian

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Baja 1000: First run in 1967, this self-described “granddaddy of all desert races” takes place November 14-17, 2013, starting in Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico. It’s an 883-mile “brutally rugged” loop course that cover terrain from mountains, gullies, on the peninsula. Different vehicle classes compete on the same course, including motorcycles, ATVs, trucks and custom race vehicles. The race has claimed celebrities Steve McQueen, Paul Newman and James Garner as fans.

SCORE Media

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World's Wackiest Racers: Ride around the Northampton International Raceway in four vehicles that you don’t see every day. For £99, you’ll spend the day doing laps in the world’s hottest desk and the fastest sofa (pictured), half a mile in a double-decker car and five miles in the countryside in the world’s fastest bed. The sofa, featured on BBC’s Top Gear, reaches speeds of 140 km/h.

World's Wackiest Racers

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The Fast Asleep Bed Tour: Head out onto public roads, safely tucked up under your duvet.

World's Wackiest Racers

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Bonneville Salt Lake Flats Racing: As a display of mechaincal ingenuity, this race is like no other. Cars reaching speeds of 764 km/h race against the clock, and according to the race website, many vehicles are geared so high (for top speed) that they need to be pushed away from the starting line. Pictured: Keith Gaeth and Elaine Leach from California watch racers trying to break land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats, in 2006. The Gaeths have been coming to speed racing in Bonneville since 1959.

TODD KOROL/REUTERS

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Arrow Racing's two-wheeled streamliner travelled from Ontario to the Bonneville Salt Flats in August 2008.

Arrow Racing

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Gumball 3000: Spanning two continents and five countries, the 2014 rally route takes participants from Miami to Ibiza, Spain. Drivers travel about 4,800 km on public roads to memorable sights and great cities, from beaches to mountains, attending glamorous parties each evening. Not a race, this rally was created in 1999 by ex-racing driver, designer and British entrepreneur Maximillion Cooper. The week-long festival now draws crowds of over a million people, according to the company’s website. http://www.gumball3000.com/#/home

Gumball3000

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World’s Greatest Drag Race: In 2011 Motor Trend Magazine staged the “world’s greatest drag race,” pitting Ferrari, Porsche and BMW against contenders from Audi, Mercedes, Lotus, Lexus and Nissan. Combined, the cars had more than 5000 horsepower, 4000 lb-ft of torque and were worth more than $1.5-million. The winner? The Nissan GT-R. Watch the video here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDP7Pty8Qnw

Motor Trend

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