In 1970 at the Hotel Maritonnes Joseph Berkmann and Clement Freud were sharing a dinner of Coq au Vin. Owner of eight London restaurants, Berkmann also ran his own wine distribution company and wrote a weekly column for The Sunday Times. Clement Freud was Director of the London Playboy Club, a respectable Member of Parliament and wine correspondent for The Sun.
As bottle succeeded bottle that night, the germ of an idea took shape. Sometime after midnight, they roared away from Romanèche with several cases of 1970 Beaujolais in the back of each car having challenged each other to be the first to get their cases to London.
That year and the next, the race was a purely private affair between Berkmann and Freud. Berkmann won both times. Having taken potshots at each other through their respective wine columns, word got around that something interesting was going on, and others rushed to join in; The Beaujolais Run was born.
In 1973, Alan Hall columnist for The Sunday Times, published an article that threw down the gauntlet to Fleet Street to 'Bring Back the Beaujolais' offering a bottle of Champagne for the first to deliver a bottle of the new vintage to his desk. At that time the object of the exercise was speed and this was brought to an end by the RAF, who later took up the challenge in a Harrier and broke all records!
The Beaujolais Run ® has evolved to become a navigational shootout through a cryptic checkpoint course, which begins at a location in the UK and ends in deepest Burgundy. This format showcases the best the UK and France has to offer and ensures Austin and Aston Martin, Jaguar and Jalpa and Maserati and Morris can compete on a level playing field. Maps, Sat Nav and laptops are all acceptable modes of navigation on the event.
The ‘Run attracts an impressive array of teams piloting supercars, classic cars, 4x4s, kit cars, specialist cars, daily drives and touring motorcycles. Whilst the ‘Run celebrates a marque each year, teams do not have to drive that marque to enter. Teams compete for the honour of achieving P1 on the grid the following year (highest fundraising team) and P2, the team that covers the shortest distance on the navigational trial.
The primary aim of The Beaujolais Run ® is to raise money for Air Ambulance through the Henry Surtees Foundation; a UK charity inspired by the memory of John Surtees’ late son Henry who was tragically killed in an accident at Brands Hatch in 2009.
Just as importantly the ‘Run provides an extraordinary selection of ‘money can’t buy’ experiences for entrants; which might include unique venues, people, experiences or a combination of all of the above.
In 2006, by kind permission of Lord March, The Beaujolais Run made its spiritual home at Goodwood.
In 2010 The Beaujolais Run appointed its first patron; John Surtees OBE. Surtees, multiple champion on both two and four wheels, said: "When I was asked to become a patron, the answer was not a difficult one. The opportunity of being involved with an event that included
travelling on fine French roads, through superb villages and visiting châteaux, together with superb wine, Champagne and food was hard to resist. The important point however is that all proceeds go to charity. I have to thank all concerned for nominating the charity set up in the name of my late son Henry. I will certainly ensure that every penny counts in helping causes for those that are less fortunate than ourselves".
The Beaujolais Run is a distinct, lifestyle event with quality brand support; including Quba & Co, Champagne Taittinger, Hotel Terravina, Texture and 28-50 Wine Workshop and Kitchen.
To enter The Beaujolais Run every team pays an entry fee which is kept entirely separate from the team's minimum sponsorship target. All sponsor monies raised go directly and in total to the Henry Surtees Foundation.
Do you want to take part in this memorable and spectacular event? Register your interest to Enter the 'Run via Virgin Money Giving. On receipt of your charity donation you will receive details of the forthcoming event as soon as they become available. Once you have completed your simple entry form in full, your application will be considered. What you choose to write on your entry form will influence whether you make it into the limited places available!
No one knows the full format of the event until they attend the Team Briefing on the first night of the 'Run. The information teams receive is merely a hint of forthcoming surprises which unfold 'in true Beaujolais style' throughout their experience every November.
The Beaujolais Run is a trademarked event in name, logo and event format. We are not an events company, we do not employ a PR company; we are reliant on the generosity of the press to ensure this great British-French tradition continues and we raise significant monies for charity.
The trademark is vigorously defended against replication or emulation, protected by the Intellectual Property Office.
The Beaujolais Run ® is a trademarked event in name, logo and event format. The trademark is vigorously defended against replication or emulation.
Enter The ‘Run
To Enter the run, please follow this link. Don’t forget to send a mail to the address you will receive.
If you wish to donate to the Beaujolais Run, please follow this link.