International stars from the world of motorsport, football, music and television converged on Birmingham last weekend for the Autosport International Karting Challenge.
The event, presented by Johnny Herbert at the NEC Birmingham, took place in honour of Dan Wheldon, in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society. Clive, Ash, Austen, Elliott, Holly and Jo Wheldon were all in attendance for the three-hour endurance race.
IndyCar racers James Winslow and Dillon Battistini flew in from Indianapolis especially to support the event, taking on a field including Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador and ex-footballer Robbie Savage, double World Superbike Champion Troy Corser, Travis drummer Neil Primrose, 2012 World Touring Car Champion Rob Huff and McLaren test and development driver Oliver Turvey.
The winning BRKC team of karters Bradley Philpott, Mathias Grooten, Greg Laporte, Ruben Boutens and Robin Borremans were presented with Dan’s Autosport Gregor Grant Award by his father Clive.
“I’m so proud of everyone for all their hard work, and I know Dan would have been proud too,” said Clive Wheldon. “When he knew his mum had Alzheimer’s, he didn’t hesitate to help raise awareness in America. When he won the Indy 500 in 2011 he broke down on the podium and dedicated the race victory to his mum.
“For everyone to do this today to remember him is very special and I take my hat off to Johnny [Herbert]. It means a lot to the family, they’re all here, but it’s been hard for everyone. I know it’s been over a year but it brings back memories because he loved his karting, from five years of age and even in America, where in between races, he’d still be karting. If there’s a race on for him next year, I’ll be first here.”
“It’s been a really fantastic event,” commented Herbert. “The turn out of drivers has been really good, from youngsters to KartForce with their specially adapted kart, and then there’s us old boys. It’s been really successful.
“It’s been great to have a lot of special people here racing together and have fun in Dan’s honour for a great cause.”
The fundraising efforts for Alzheimer’s Society will continue into February with the online auction of Mark Webber’s 2012 helmet, Johnny Herbert’s 2011 Nordschleife 24 Hours race suit, Johnny Mowlem’s Lotus F1 race suit and gloves, plus other motorsport memorabilia.
“As a motorsport fan it’s been great to see so many world class drivers turn out to raise funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s Society,” added Graham Browne, Alzheimer’s Society Ambassador. “I’ve been living with Pick’s disease, a form of dementia, for seven years. The support that I’ve received from Alzheimer’s Society in that time has been invaluable. The money raised will make a huge difference to the lives of so many others living with dementia and their carers.”
Full results are available to download online at www.club100.co.uk