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ONE RUN, TWO KINGS, AND TRIPLE DIGIT SPEEDS

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Fri, Sep 28, 2007

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

ONE RUN, TWO KINGS, AND TRIPLE DIGIT SPEEDS

By JOHN GRAFMAN

The PlayersRun is now one of the more established new breed of rallies that are capturing enthusiasts' attention. We caught up with Ashley Van Dyke, one of this year's Players, in Los Angeles and managed to pull her away just long enough to get the 411 on life in the fast lane.

LA Car: Can you give our readers an idea what the Players Run is?

AVD: Players run is a high-end, vacation-style rally organized by Marcus and Valerie Lex. Unlike some of the other rallies, Player's run is a smaller, more relaxed style rally that really is about driving beautiful cars on beautiful roads. It's a top-shelf event, with great hotels, well thought out routes and a tight-knit group of people who come back year after year.

Ashley Van Dyke

LA Car: How did you manage to get involved with this originally?

AVD: In 2005 a friend from San Francisco, Rey Torres, invited me along in his supercharged Acura NSX. The route was Seattle to Las Vegas with a track day at California Speedway and a helicopter ride over the Las Vegas strip.

LA Car: Was it as easy to find a ride this year?

AVD: Somewhat, but It could have been worse. This year I won a full ride on the PlayersRun courtesy of eCirkit.com including a full sponsorship package. eCirkit.com got me the car, paid for gas, covered the entry fee, and flew me out to the starting line and back from the finishing location.

LA Car: You had many a mile behind the wheel of the new Aston Martin Vantage. How did you like piloting it?

AVD: Overall, I was impressed. The Aston Martin Vantage is like a British girl who was raised in New York. She's refined and has a pedigree and heritage, but has wandered off in some modern directions that are not necessarily true to her history.

AVD and the eCirkit.com Vantage, with actual rally dirt and bug splats

LA Car: What aspect of the Vantage did you like the most, and what did you like the least?

AVD: The Aston makes a lovely note at high revs. We were most grateful to find she was a manual, rather than an F1 auto, since the Vantage requires you really wind it out to realize its true power. The best part of the Vantage is her roll-on acceleration between 80 and 120.

The interior is very Ford parts bin. While there are elements that are beautiful, like the beveled gauges and counter-clockwise RPM gauge, there are other components in the interior that feel plasticy and cheap. The manual tilt wheel is most unfortunate and vibrates at high speed, since it never truly locks in place and the start/stop button while fun is also kind of pointless and in a bad spot. The rear view mirror feels like it came out of a 93 Taurus L.

LA Car: On the route, did you or any of the others have any run-ins with the law?

AVD: We had a most unfortunate run-in in Idaho with an officer who had been dealing with PlayersRun all day. The reality of any rally is that if you are among the first few cars to come through an area, there is still a bit of novelty in the whole thing. If you are at the back of the pack and others have chosen to flaunt the law, the police run out of patience and often bestow the entire day's worth of aggravation on one or two people. We happened to be those people in Idaho.

LA Car: While out-right speed isn't really the purpose, what car was, or rumored the fastest at any point along the course?

AVD: Fastest car out there was probably the DTM or the LP, but we really never saw them do anything significant.

AVD with co-driver John Goodrich

LA Car: Of all the tales from this year's run, what moments seem to stick in your head the most?

AVD: We had a lot of funny things happen to us along the run. We were pulled over in Montana without any stickers after multiple civilians called us in for our heroics, and the cop let us going saying "You're in an Aston Martin, so what can you do?"

LA Car: Are you the lone female out there with a bunch of guys, or did you have some female company in the other cars?

AVD: There are other women on the rally, but they really stick with their man or hitchhikee. There's not a whole lot of girl bonding going on during the rally.

LA Car: This rally is really a poker run, albeit a crazy one, what hand did you have at the end?

AVD: We had a pair of Kings, ace high. Not enough for a legitimate win.

LA Car: Are you gearing up for the next PlayersRun, or are you retiring your racing shoes?

AVD: I wouldn't say I'm gearing up, but I also never-say-never. If I get a call next year around PlayersRun asking if I want to pilot a super car and have a free entry, I doubt I could say no.

Find more on the PlayersRun and Ashley at www.playersrun.com www.ashleyvandyke.com

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