BOXING champion Joe Calzaghe, Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards and former F1 star Mark Blundell were part of the celebrity line-up at a racing fundraiser on Thursday.
Held at the unique Bedford Autodrome - designed from scratch by former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer and tucked away in the Bedfordshire countryside near Thurleigh - The Circuit saw the celebs competing against each other to raise money for the NSPCC.
First held in 2009 by NSPCC Sports Board members Nick Mason (Pink Floyd’s drummer) and Paul Richardson from Barclay’s Wealth with the support of former F1 driver Mark Blundell, the event raised almost £100,000.
Six teams, led by celebrity captains including former English rugby union player Austin Healey, Carol Smillie, former F1 driver Tiff Needell and Eddie ‘the Eagle’ Edwards, battled it out on the track. They got behind the wheel of a number of top range cars such as the Caterham 7 Superlight and Ariel Atom.
Falkands war veteran Simon Weston OBE was one of the captains. He said: “It’s been amazing and I think it’s something everybody should try once. And it’s for such a wonderful cause.”
Throughout the day, guests were also invited to bid on a range of exclusive auction lots, including high octane super-rides in a two-seater McLaren MP4-12C with professional racing drivers Rob Huff, Tiff Needell and Tim Mullen which prompted heated bidding and eventually fetched almost £5,000.
Speaking about the event, former F1 driver Mark Blundell, said: “There was a lot of friendly rivalry out there on the track with professional racing drivers taking on celebrities and guests in a race to be crowned champions of The Circuit 2013.”
And fresh from winning Splash, British skier Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, who lived in Bedford following the 1988 Winter Olympics, was hoping for victory but admitted he spent more time ‘facing the other way’.
All funds raised from the event will help the NSPCC to protect vulnerable children through its projects and services including ChildLine.
To find out more about the work of the NSPCC and how to get involved, visit www.nspcc.org.uk/getinvolved