Super-fast Ferraris. Sun-kissed Knockhill. And two of Scotland’s fastest racing drivers.
A good mix for a horsepower-packed cocktail guaranteed to deliver big smiles and a huge sum for the Maggie’s cancer charity.
That was the formula for success as the Fife track hosted the Drive to Maggie’s event during a four-day tour of Scotland involving a convoy of stunning classic and high-performance machinery.
A total of 50 couples are participating in the tour, which set off from Maggie’s Lanarkshire at Airdrie’s Monklands Hospital in an event organisers hope will raise £75,000 for the charity.
After a stay at Fairmont St Andrews, they arrived at Knockhill to be greeted by sunshine and a stable of stunning Prancing Horses.
They were generously brought along for the day by Dundee businessman Gordon Deuchars.
Ferrari aficionado Mr Deuchars dipped into his remarkable collection of the Italian marque’s finest supercars to support Maggie’s by providing high-performance machines for tour participants to savour the sight of – and enjoy a thrilling high-speed passenger ride around Knockhill in.
Members of the public had also been able to bid for a hot-lap seat beside the day’s two sporting stars – three-time British Touring Car champion Gordon Shedden and Jonny Adam, a four-time British GT champ and double Le Mans 24-Hour winner.
In a warm-up to the on-track action, the guests were also treated to a Q&A involving Jonny and multiple British Rally Champion, Jimmy McRae – father of the late world rallying legend, Colin.
Mr Deuchars, managing director of Quest Precision and a long-time supporter of Maggie’s Dundee, said he was delighted to share his personal passion with the charity supporters.
“I am always very, very happy to support such a fantastic charity and it is great to see so many like-minded people together at Knockhill.
“Ferrari is my passion. I have been lucky to travel the world and pick up these cars and it is great to be able to share them with people.
“The noise and the theatre is absolutely fantastic and I am sure we will have a lot of smiling faces here.”
Annie Long, Maggie’s Dundee fundraising manager, said they were hugely grateful to Mr Deuchars for his latest generous show of support and the many others who had backed Drive to Maggie’s.
She added: “Maggie’s is always trying to find new groups of people, either to use the charity or raise funds.
“Maggie’s in Dundee alone sees 15,000 people affected by cancer every year.
“The pandemic has been really hard and this is the first physical event for Maggie’s Dundee in 15 months.
“We’ve done lots of online events and received wonderful support.
“But there really is nothing like a physical event where people get to meet one another and communicate the message about the charity.”
After a final convoy lap of Knockhill in their own vehicles, the Drive to Maggie’s participants headed north into Aberdeenshire for their next stop at Meldrum Country House, Oldmeldrum.
Magnificent highlands roads and scenery including Culloden and the Caledonian Canal are also on the itinerary ahead of a gala dinner with special guests at Achnagairn Castle, near Inverness.
Sandy Wilkie, fundraising board chairman for Maggie’s Lanarkshire, said: “The timing of Drive to Maggie’s couldn’t be better as we are able to hold this event without social distancing.
“People will be able to enjoy seeing all the cars in the different venues and have the pleasure of socialising with each other and all for a great cause.”
The lead sponsors of Drive to Maggie’s are Parks Motor Group, with further sponsorship from Asset Alliance Group and Arbuthnot Latham Ltd, Jackton Distillery, Browns Food Group, William Grant & Sons, and long-time supporters of Maggie’s Lanarkshire, Tunnocks.
A special-liveried vehicle on the tour is promoting the Maggie’s Text to Donate message to help boost the charity total.
There is a reason car nuts affectionately call it the loud pedal.
But if any confirmation were needed, it was delivered the instant the light on the end of the Knockhill pitlane went green and the accelerator was planted firmly to the floor.
The black Ferrari 430 Scuderia is a true thoroughbred from the stable of the legendary Prancing Horse.
And ‘like the back of his hand’ doesn’t even begin to describe how intimately three-time British Touring Car champion Gordon Shedden knows Knockhill.
In the hands of a motorsport maestro, the race-bred V8 produced a simply glorious summer’s day symphony.
I’ve been fortunate to go around Knockhill in an assortment of machinery – but never a Ferrari in such skilled hands.
For many of the generous supporters of Drive to Maggie’s, however, it was their first time at the Fife track.
So to become acquainted with the nine corners on the 1.2 mile circuit from the passenger seat of a supercar alongside Gordon was to enjoy the most thrilling rollercoaster ride they are ever likely to experience.
But I’d still bet their smile coming back into the pit lane after a couple of hot laps was no bigger than mine.