CHAS Grand Prix update

Ross delivered high speed thrills to raise money for Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) at Knockhill (16/17 June 2012).

The ‘CHAS Grand Prix’ returned for the second year to the Knockhill Racing Circuit and again raised a substantial amount of money to help support bereaved parents and children, two hospices (Rachel House and Robin House) and the CHAS at Home Service.

Ross joined a host of leading Scottish racing drivers – including British Touring Car Championship leader Gordon Shedden and Porsche Carrera Cup front-runner Rory Butcher – to give members of the public a unique chance to experience the huge thrills of wheel to wheel competition at Scotland’s premier track.

“We were grumbling about the wet conditions and saying what a shame it was, but when we saw the people from CHAS arrive, along with the children and families they support, it put things into a very different perspective. There were all these happy, smiling children’s faces – some of whom only have months to live – and that made me think how fortunate I am.”

He added: “One little boy didn’t stop smiling. He had to take an oxygen tank everywhere with him but that didn’t stop him having fun. We put him on the top step of the podium and he was given a bottle of ‘champagne’ to spray in true winner’s style. I drove his mum round the circuit in my won Celtic Speed Mini Cooper Cup car and she certainly enjoyed it. She was a remarkable lady and I felt very emotional when I saw her little guy standing on the podium.”

The event formed part of the Official Scottish Motorshow – the largest event of its kind in the country – and visitors were invited to pay £150 for the chance to sit in the passenger seat of a race-prepared Mini Cooper during an unforgettable ten lap race (Sunday 17 June).

Despite being briefed to the contrary, the drivers rapidly became very competitive: “The starting grid positions were randomly drawn from a hat but Gordon (Shedden) and Rory (Butcher) both managed to take pole position and second place respectively. Gordon then cheated at the start by jumping the lights! The second ‘race’ saw the finishing positions reversed for the next grid and the drivers were told to give each other a chance for their passenger to experience being the race leader. Gordon and Rory carved their way through the pack, again not heeding the rules that we were not supposed to go flat-out. We had been reminded that this was a demonstration race, but none us could help the competitive spirit coming out. When I was leading I found it very difficult to back off and not push on towards the chequered flag.”

The race was also marked by another novelty; running anti-clockwise: “It was very exciting to drive the ‘wrong’ way round. I’d love to do a proper race in that direction because there were lots of new challenges, such as really exciting negative camber in some of the corners.”

This weekend sees Ross return to Celtic Speed action at Croft in North Yorkshire. He also has to attend a family wedding in Glasgow, necessitating some glamorous travel arrangements: “I had this awful dilemma, whether to race or attend the wedding. In the end, I decided to do both. My dad has hired a helicopter to fly me from the circuit to the wedding on Saturday afternoon and then fly me back on Sunday morning. Hopefully, I’ll be able to take some winner’s champagne to the reception!”