The inaugural Hope Classic Rally was held at the weekend with over 40 of the world’s most desirable classic cars coming together with stars from sport, TV, film and fashion to raise an incredible £150,000 for the charity HOPEHIV.
Taking place over Friday 10th July and Saturday 11th July, the event saw generous participants and a host of celebrities drive from Mercedes-Benz World in Brooklands, Surrey to Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire in some incredibly exotic machinery. All the funds raised will go directly to projects run by HOPEHIV, a charity which empowers children isolated by poverty, and often orphaned by HIV and AIDS, in Southern and Eastern Africa to create a better future for themselves.
Kicking off at Brooklands on the afternoon of Friday July 10th, a stellar line-up of incredibly rare classic cars assembled overlooking the Mercedes-Benz World track. The line-up, collectively worth in excess of £30m, was donated by many generous owners and included a host of Ferraris; from a 250 SWB to a pair of 365 GTB/4 Daytonas, a 288 GTO and a 550 Barchetta. The display also featured a Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’, several Aston Martins (including examples of the DB4, DB5, V8 Vantage and V8 Vantage Zagato), two Porsche 911 2.7 RS, a Lamborghini Miura, a Lotus Elite, an ex-Roy Salvadori Jaguar XK120 and ex-Duncan Hamilton XK120 and several Jaguar E-types.
The Friday’s gala dinner saw guests mingle with a host of stars, including ex-England rugby player Lewis Moody MBE, ex-Top Gear Stig and 007 stunt driver Ben Collins, Infiniti Red Bull Racing Formula One team’s chief technical officer Adrian Newey OBE, Le Mans legend Peter Blond, fashion tycoon Karen Millen OBE and Ant Anstead from TV’s For The Love of Cars, many of whom took part in an entertaining panel discussion. Capping the glamorous evening was a charity auction led by Bonhams auctioneer Charlie Thomas. Lots going under the hammer included a signed Lewis Hamilton race helmet and a VIP Goodwood Revival weekend experience.
On the Saturday, all of the cars were waved off from Brooklands by supermodel and presenter of the Classic Car Show, Jodie Kidd. Entry to the event was by way of a suggested gift donation to the charity with many generous participants even donating vehicles for other guests to drive. Celebrity guest drivers who were lucky enough to drive thanks to donations from owners included Ben Collins in an ex-Duncan Hamilton Jaguar XK120, Lewis Moody at the wheel of a 7-litre Aston Martin V8 Vantage and Ant Anstead piloting a Ferrari Daytona.
Participants drove through the picturesque Surrey and Oxfordshire countryside, stopping briefly to meet with Anthony Worrall Thompson at his beautiful Greyhound pub near Henley-on-Thames to change drivers, arriving at Blenheim Palace where all of the cars assembled on the Great Court to the amazement of visitors to the spectacular World Heritage site.
Ex-England rugby star Lewis Moody MBE said: “The work that HOPEHIV does is so inspiring. I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with the charity since 2007 and have visited Africa to see how the money helps children who live in unbelievably tough conditions. The Hope Classic Rally was a fantastic event, using our love of classic cars to build awareness of the charity and raise an incredible amount of money to help vulnerable children.”
Racing driver, former Top Gear Stig and 007 stunt driver Ben Collins said: “The work that HOPEHIV does is enormously inspiring and I’m so proud and happy to have been involved in this amazing rally. It has tapped into our passion for classic cars in the best way possible, with some amazing donations made by some very generous classic car owners. Driving such a stunning a car as the ex-Duncan Hamilton Jaguar XK120 was a real once-in-a-lifetime experience – as was seeing all the cars lined-up at Blenheim Palace. What a brilliant way to raise so much money for such a worthy cause.”
Phil Wall, on behalf of the charity HOPEHIV, said: “We at HOPEHIV have been absolutely overwhelmed by the first Hope Classic Rally. The sight of so many incredible classic cars arriving at Blenheim Palace will stay with me for a very long time – and I am amazed and humbled at the generosity of so many owners, many of who gave their cars to complete strangers in order to raise money for HOPEHIV. The funds will be used to support a generation of young people who have been the victims of incredible tragedy – but refuse to give up hope. A heartfelt thank you to everyone who took part.”
For more information on the rally, please visit www.hopeclassicrally.org