2010 Beaujolais Run
I was of course familiar with the wonderful setting of Worth School and the Benedictine Abbey, it was where Henry was a student. I was met on my return to Worth by the sight of Henry’s Formula Renault car and his championship winning kart. The tinge of sadness that this would normally bring was balanced by the enjoyment that Worth pupils were getting by sitting in them and having photographs taken. These shared the entrance to the new Community Centre/Coffee Shop with a beautiful Maserati GranTourismo S. This new centre has been named the Pitstop in Henry’s memory and it features an image of Henry on one of its walls.
The Pitstop was the location for the coming together of competitors, organisers and supporters for the 2010 Beaujolais Run. A glass of Taittinger Champagne lifted the spirits. Information was given to all competitors, particularly on what not to do with their ‘Blackberry’! Teams were also presented with their Beaujolais run kit, kindly sponsored by Burlington. After speeches from myself and Anthony Reid, Worth School laid out a tasty finger buffet, for which we were joined by some of the Monks. To add to the tradition and the history of the run, Abbot Kevin joined us before blessing the cars before they departed for their hotel at Brands Hatch.
An early start next day at Brands Hatch saw frost on the circuit. The first Surtees Formula One car to be built from the year 1970, the TS7, where it took part at this same circuit in the British Grand Prix made an appearance. With Robbie Kerr in the driving seat everyone was treated to the sight and sound of the Formula One as he did some demonstration laps. Nigel Mansell was the enthusiastic official starter and Jonathan Palmer and I joined him to wave off the competitors as they began their journey to France by doing some laps of the Indy Circuit behind Robbie Kerr in the TS7.
While the competitors made their way to Macon and the celebrations for the new Beaujolais, we, the Surtees family travelled to Reims in style in a Maserati Quattroporte, to meet them on their return. On the Thursday we had the opportunity of an awe inspiring guided tour around the Taittinger Champagne Caves. The caves are of great historical significance, originally underground Roman Chalk quarries that were later used as underground chapels and the crypt of a great Benedictine monastery, which tied in very nicely with the Benedictine heritage of Worth School. This was destroyed during the revolution and later the caves became a hospital for injured soldiers during WW1. The history is now extended by the Taittinger family and the superb Champagne they produce. We were treated to a champagne tasting session, with the Comtes de Champagne Rose emerging as a definite favourite and needless to say the most expensive!
That evening we were invited to a black tie dinner in a residence previously used by Kings of France. After a delicious dinner, and a different flute of Champagne for every course, we had prize giving and the charity auction. Congratulations to Angus Hughes and Owain Lloyd of Shaken But Undeterred who took P2 for the GT1 Maps Only navigation class. Winners of P2, Any Assistance, were Oliver Smith and Emmylou Wherlock of More Dash Than Cash.
The trophy for P1 was donated by Andy Wall of Sunpower, father to James Wall who tragically lost his fight against cancer in April 2009. P1 went to John Riley and Jeffrey Smith of Men in Black. L’Esprit du Cours went to Geoff Core and Phil Bubb of Encore Le Trognan for their ‘ingenuity in fundraising, their press efforts and showing the spirit to be Beaujolais ambassadors on the Run.’ Well done to all the winners and thank you also to all those who bid and won the auction prizes.
The next morning a piece of history was made as the competitors all gathered at the old pits and grandstands on the famous Reims circuit. The last time I raced here was in 1966 in my first race in a Cooper Maserati after my (divorce) from Ferrari. Therefore it was very fitting that history was repeated by driving a Maserati Quattroporte around the circuit, although this time joined by the family and the other competitors following on behind!
Well done to all the winners, but most importantly well done and thank you to all those who took part. We are honoured and delighted that the Henry Surtees Foundation, and all those it helps, will benefit from such a great event. The dedication and commitment of the run and its competitors is inspirational. Thank you also to the sponsors, Burlington and Taittinger for their commitment to the run. A very special thank you also has to go to Rob and Elaine. Without you, this event would not have taken place and it is because of your vision and commitment that the Beaujolais Run is what it is today.
John and the Surtees family