17-21 Nov 2014
The Doghouse Ladies raised in excess of £16,000 (final figures not yet calculated). Linda Pearcy & Kate Cottingham raised the most overall (all competitors), so got P1. Have to take part next year.
Doghouse Barkers: Kate Cottingham & Linda Pearcy - Maserati 4200
Doghouse Dolls: Diane Ralph & Elizabeth Walkinshaw - Mercedes 380SL
Doghouse Betsy: Caroline Hobbs & Tiffany Barker - BMW Z4
It all came to pass at a committee meeting, where we were trying to plan some future events for our ladies.
And so the wheels were set in motion. The idea was communicated to all the members through various mediums and the event became live.
The teams were entered and accepted and so it all began.
THE PROFILE PLAN
We felt that - due to its reputation and press attention - the Beaujolais Run presented a fantastic opportunity to publicise and enhance the profile of the Doghouse, so it was very important that the teams were, let us say, noticeable!
Day One: Briefing was organised for 10.30 am at The Royal Automobile Club, Woodcote Park. We departed from the "Captains Drive" and headed for Eurotunnel, route maps or sat navs at the ready, heading for our first overnight stop in Bruges.
Day Two: Bruges to Tyncot Cemetery via Paschendaele War Museum.
After the festivities of the previous night, this part of the run was truly emotional and levelling. Not only coinciding with the 100-year anniversary of WWI, we were honoured to be accompanied by Ash from the Royal Coldstream Guards, who played the First and Last Post in full military dress, as John Surtees laid a wreath in honour of the fallen.
Surrounded by thousands of graves, mostly unknown, the silence, but for the bugle, was poignant and reminded all of the great sacrifice given at that most important of battles.
From the museum, we drove via Ypres under the Menin Gate through to Champagne Taittinger (one of the Run's main sponsors) in Reims.
Here, we had a private tour of the caves and a champagne tasting. All that alcohol and an enthusiastic French drink drive limit - torture!
Day Three: Dependent on the complexity of one's fancy dress outfit and the early hour, we arrived with ladylike abandon, back at the Taittinger HQ for the start of the Navigational Shootout. This involved five enveloped clues to specific locations, where photographs had to be taken for proof of arrival.
The task was to complete the clues in the shortest possible distance. There were two categories: GT1 maps only and GT2 maps, sat navs, bribes, etc.
For the Fancy Dress part of the Run, the dictum was 80s. In the early morning, it was foggy, cold and eerily quiet.
Our outfits were: Kate Cottingham as Dolly Parton; Linda Pearcy as Boy George; Diane Ralph as Cat Woman; Elizabeth Walkinshaw as Top Gun; Caroline Hobbs as Blondie; Tiffany Barker as Annie Lennox
Other team outfits included Banana Man, Ghost Busters, Miami Vice (complete with inflatable croc), Star Wars with fully robotic R2D2, Beetle Juice and so on.
In the evening, we enjoyed a very French party with pole dancers, an illusionist, singers and dancers, with pouring of the 2014 Beaujolais at midnight.
Day Four: Leisurely drive back to Reims, Black Tie Prizegiving Dinner at the Taittinger Chateau de la Marquetterie, where a surprise guest was revealed: David Brabham.
After pudding, so to the charity auction. Ten exciting and exhilarating lots were made available for the auction, including Perspex and leather handled Taittinger yacht ice chest containing six bottles of Comte de Champagne and glasses (donated by the family) and several culinary and race experiences with the odd handbag thrown in.
The Prizegiving for the Run: P1 is the prize given to the team raising the most sponsorship money for the Foundation and proudly it was the Doghouse Barkers, Kate Cottingham & Linda Pearcy, who secured this coveted acknowledgement.
The three Doghouse teams raised over £16,000 in total, with Kate and Linda securing a significant proportion of the sum. Well done, ladies.
Inflatable crowns adorned the ladies, graciously accepting their trophy on behalf of our wonderful club.
One of the other Doghouse teams also won a prize, for the navigational challenge day, where they proved to be (how do I put this tactfully?) the team which took the most unhurried and scenic route between clues!
Day five: After a leisurely breakfast, we went to the Old Circuit at Gueux and thence to home via Eurotunnel.
That is the tale of the Doghouse Beaujolais Virgin Run. The cars ranged from the sublime (Ferrari and Aston), to the robust (Boris, a vintage Bulmer's cider apple truck, I kid you not). Next year, we will put out invitations as soon as received. So dust off your autos and tap up your sponsors.
Au revoir et bon sante
THE DOGHOUSE OWNERS' CLUB
The Women's Motor Racing Associates Club, universally known as The Doghouse Owners' Club, was founded in 1962 by many of the top Grand Prix drivers' and Constructors wives and other leading women in motorsport.
They aimed to establish a base at circuits for wives and their young families to meet, a Benevolent Fund to be used in the event of tragedy, and to support at least two charities. A bus, a tea dispenser and a caravan were their first purchases; clearly fund-raising was essential.
The biennial Doghouse Balls with the show-stopping Doghouse Cabarets were sensational and brilliant fund-raisers, enabling the Club to donate close to £2million in today's money to dozens of charities. Although it is 15 years since the last Doghouse Ball was held, fund-raising is still a prime aim of the Club as well as providing friendship and support.