Postcard from Silverstone

The Grand Prix Ball at Stowe school has quickly established itself as a Silverstone tradition, and despite the inclement weather this year's event was as popular as ever. As if by divine intervention, the rain stayed away, and the sun was even poking through the clouds when the great and the glamorous showed up at the magnificent venue

Postcard from Silverstone

As usual the most celebrated guests were the drivers, although the need for an early night ensured that they made only a lightning appearance.

Present this year were Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard, Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Jarno Trulli and Pedro Diniz, while Jenson Button was a last minute cancellation.

The drivers usually get roped into a charitable activity of some sort, and this year the game was darts. A giant target had been set up, divided into segments of £750 and £500, with a £1000 bullseye. Each driver had three darts, and whatever figure they hit would be donated to the children's cancer charity. CLIC.

Standing just a couple of metres away from this huge circle, our heroes could hardly fail to rack up some serious dosh, but there was one small problem - they had to wear blindfolds.

No problem; to help them with the task, each driver was assigned a fully-sighted model who could give him directions. Star of the event was undoubtedly Coulthard, who somehow managed to get two bulls with his first
two arrows, although he slipped to £500 on his third. Still his total of £2500 beat the rest, with Eddie and H-H on £2250, Pedro on £2000 and Jarno on £1750. With Button missing, Cracker TV actor Liam Cunningham was brought in as a 'ringer', and scored a miserable £1500.

The drivers then headed off, and the paying guests stayed on to enjoy a classy meal and a full evening's entertainment, hosted by It's a Knockout star and former racer Stuart Hall. The musical part of the evening was
kicked off by Luciano Pavarotti, or rather a Londoner who makes a living impersonating him. Then came 'the original' T-Rex. Yes, Marc Bolan may have been gone for 23 years, but some of his former band mates are still going, with a somewhat younger singer. Ringers were again employed, with Eddie Jordan settling down behind a second drum kit, and his old pal Damon Hill joining to play a few guitar licks. Kid Creole and his Coconuts took over for the second part of the show.

An auction raised a little more cash for charity; someone bought a Harley Davidson for £26,000, more than double its true value, while Johnny Herbert's Jaguar overalls - the first on the market probably - went for a reasonable £2,200. But the most interesting lot was five days on Eddie Irvine's yacht, with access to all his toys, for £17,500. As someone said, had the deal included the Jaguar star's presence on board, the bidding might not have gone that high...

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