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Brands Hatch launches 2010 Beaujolais Run

Tuesday, November 16 2010

The Beaujolais Run, a unique charity driving experience, now in its 38th year, was today flagged off by Nigel Mansell OBE at the iconic Brands Hatch circuit in Kent.

The legendary Brands Hatch circuit, which marked the 50th anniversary of its Grand Prix configuration this year, proved to be the ultimate start to The Beaujolais Run 2010 which this year celebrates 60 years of Formula One.

The eclectic grid included modern day leviathans Aston Martin, Ferrari and Maserati alongside classic Triumph, Lotus and Jaguar machinery.

Nigel Mansell was ably supported in his role as starter by John Surtees and MotorSport Vision Chief Executive Jonathan Palmer. John Surtees' TS7 Formula One car entertained competitors and spectators alike as it performed demonstration laps of the circuit in the hands of British driver Robbie Kerr.

The TS7 then became an unusual pace car, leading the 2010 Run competing vehicles on three laps of the Indy Circuit before heading for France.

From Brands Hatch, teams will take on the navigational shoot-out at the heart of this unique event, solving cryptic clues to reach a number of checkpoints in the shortest distance; en route to 'Bring Back The Beaujolais' after its launch in Beaujeu at midnight on Wednesday (17 November).

As teams sweep some 1,200 miles through the UK and France, they will take in a variety of money can't buy experiences, as well as raising money for worthwhile causes.

The Beaujolais Run is a not for profit event, which this year will raise much needed funds for the newly formed Henry Surtees Foundation under the direction of the Run's patron John Surtees. Having already clinched world titles on two wheels, it was 50 years ago this year that Surtees switched to four-wheel racing.

In celebration of John's achievements the 2010 Run will see its first touring motorbike compete alongside vehicles old and new.

Nigel Mansell OBE said: "I was absolutely delighted to lend my support in memory of Henry at Brands Hatch to start what I am sure will be a very special 2010 Beaujolais Run."

The Beaujolais Run Patron John Surtees OBE added: "It is with mixed feelings that I returned to Brands Hatch. Memories of my father competing on the grass track, my first ever road race on the new tarmac circuit in 1950 and the wins that I had on both 2 and 4 wheels, but all overshadowed by the death of my son in that freak accident on 19 July 2009.

"But Henry lives on with all the action that is taking place in the Foundation we have created in his name. The Beaujolais Run has allowed us to be part of their team and co-operate in raising money and having fun for the good causes that we support. Have a great Run".

Jonathan Palmer concluded: "Brands Hatch is a fitting venue to start this year's Beaujolais Run, which celebrates 60 years of Formula One, and I'm delighted that two Grand Prix legends, Nigel and John, have joined us to celebrate its launch. As well as being a fabulous concept and great fun for everyone involved, the Beaujolais Run is also an important fundraising project which aims to generate a significant amount of money for the Henry Surtees Foundation, a cause that's very close to all our hearts. I wish everyone the best of luck."

Not only have competitors had the chance to share the track with Surtees, Mansell and Palmer, they will also experience two other legendary F1 circuits on this year's Run, which will see a return to Dijon-Prenois - a circuit which saw a memorable battle at the 1979 French Grand Prix between Villenueve and Arnoux.

Continuing the journey through 60 Years of Formula One, competitors will also pay tribute at the Reims-Gueux circuit where Surtees drove his first race for Cooper-Maserati in 1966 after leaving Ferrari and as leader of the World Championship.