A mind-boggling field of international racing talent raised £17,000 for the Alzheimer's Society from The Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart Race.
The event, at Daytona Milton Keynes, was a fitting tribute to the double Indy 500 champion who was killed in an accident in October. In a manner in which Wheldon would have approved competitors took full advantage of the Cash For Penalties initiative put into place by Johnny Mowlem, who organised the event. The scheme allow drivers to buy laps of black flags in return for a donation to the Alzheimer's Society – the Wheldon family's chosen charity.
Thanks to the generosity of the rivals on the night winners were Team Button – DW Lionhearts, Jenson Button joined by Dan's father Clive Wheldon and family friends Doug Coleman and Mark Lewis.
Second place went to Team Coulthard â€” DW Bandits comprised David Coulthard, Dan's brothers Elliott and Ashley, and Jason Moore. Team Watts (Danny Watts, Jim Littman, Jason Fowler and Nick Perks) finished third.
The podium celebrations were completed by Austen – another of Dan's brothers and Team Franchitti â€” DW Legends – Dario Franchitti, Dan's sister Holly Wheldon, Peter Houghton, Tom Coleman and Gavin MacFayden, who fittingly shared the second step of the podium.
“Dan was so passionate about karting,” said Franchitti. “So to come here, close to where he grew up and alongside a lot of his family and friends, to raise money for Alzheimer's Society, is a very fitting tribute. I think he would have been laughing, watching us racing in freezing conditions and some of the situations we got ourselves into tonight. Obviously it's bitter sweet as he's not here, that's the very tough part. But it's the best way I can think of to honour him. I think Johnny Mowlem and everyone involved has done a fantastic job getting this event together. It's been terrific.”
36 teams took part in the event, including professional drivers who ply their trade on either side of the Atlantic. These included both Dario and Marino Franchitti, Mike Conway, James Hinchcliffe, Rob Huff, Richard Dean, Johnny Herbert, James Thompson, Martin Brundle and his son Alex and BBC F1 anchor Jake Humphrey.
Clive Wheldon said; “the turn out tonight has been amazing. To have all these famous racing drivers racing for Dan and raising money for Alzheimer's Society is fantastic. I was at the Autosport Awards where Dan got an award and received a standing ovation, and that also brought a lump to my throat and made me very proud. It's nice to have all of his achievements in motor racing recognised. I just wish he could have been here tonight. I hope we repeat this event next year with people like Jenson and all the other drivers who have come to support him. I take my hat off to them.”
“The Dan Wheldon Memorial Kart Race has quite simply exceeded all my expectations,” admitted Mowlem, who was a personal friend of Wheldon's. “Not only has the event achieved everything I hoped, but tonight was all about celebrating Dan's life and the wonderful person, driver and friend he was. We've certainly done him proud and I can't thank everyone enough for their support.”
Three-quarters of a million people in the UK suffer from some sort of dementia, a majority from Alzheimer's disease. The Alzheimer's Society support those living with dementia while funding research into a cure. They rely on donations. you can donate now by calling 0845 306 0898 or visiting alzheimers.org.uk.