The closest thing I’ve had to a man-crush over the past 10 years has been my friendship with Garry Sowerby. The king of cool, he holds several Guinness world records for circumnavigating the globe in a car. Today, November 19, 2010, he’s celebrating 30 years since setting that record.
These days, Garry makes a living running driving promotions for big auto manufacturers. Indeed, that’s how we met: He invited me on a couple of these promotions, and we’ve become pals.
And this, Garry’s auspicious anniversary, is also the day that, one of his biggest clients, GM launches its IPO. (“Buy, buy, buy!”)
What are the odds?
To celebrate the occasion, he and his record-holding partner Ken Langley are circumnavigating the globe again but this time in 24 hours — and without leaving Toronto.
Bitch as much as you like about this city, there are lots of languages spoken here and you can save a lot of air miles with a humble TTC bus pass — or with a 30-year-old Volvo 245 DL nicknamed Red Cloud. Yes, that record-setting car still rolls and today it’s rolling once again.
While in town, driving round the clock from 2:11pm on Thursday till 2:11pm today, they’re stopping by cultural spots that represent the assorted countries they were in. By the time you read this, he and I will have stopped in at the Tranzac Club, a home away from home for Australians and New Zealanders. (It’s not pretty and the only reason no one calls the place a dump is that it’s right across the street from the world infamous Brunswick House, so the neighbourhood bar’s comfortably low.)
So how does it feel to be driving Red Cloud again?
“It’s a bizarre time warp,” Garry told me by phone on Wednesday night while polishing the car. Follow him on Twitter to hear whatever else he may have to say.
Though just a pimply delinquent at the time, I remember the days 30 years ago when Garry and Ken left from the CN Tower and completed the race 74 days later. The effort took a month off the previous drive around the world! Pretty impressive — and awfully pushy for a couple of Canadians.
Imagine. And all this exactly one day after another Canadian makes us proud with his own truly impressive Guinness record.
What are the odds?