Motorsport is not just about the speed, it’s also about the people — who got a slower start in life
The clouds were grey as over 500 cyclists lined up at the exit of the pit lane of Silverstone’s Grand Prix Circuit Wing Complex on August 2nd. Why were they there? Why had they travelled from all around the country to this quiet part of England? With the threat of rain looming for the afternoon’s events they could have stayed at home but they didn’t, all because of one charity.
The Muscle Help Foundation which supports those with muscular dystrophy, invited those who own a bicycle to come along to Silverstone and ride on its hallowed tarmac that has seen British racing legends such as Clark, Hill, Stewart and Hamilton grace its confines. Motorsport is being used by the Muscle Help Foundation not only as a way to raise money for their cause, but to also give those suffering from muscular dystrophy a chance to fulfil what they call ‘Muscle Dreams’. The hope is to deliver 657 of them, correlating with the number of muscles in the human body. So far, they have organised 247 Muscle Dreams since the scheme was initiated.
Here we see motorsport being given a rare opportunity to play a key part in helping others. Already this year the charity has been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, where none other than 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button performed the charity’s signature ‘Muscle Salute’. They have also organised events in coordination with companies such as Porsche and the dominant Mercedes AMG Formula One team, who donated a Mercedes W06 show car for the event. Their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have also taken part in previous Muscle Dreams, given Mercedes’ commitment to the Muscle Help Foundation — this being one of its official team charities, with Mercedes team members also taking part in the event.
The work of the Muscle Help Foundation and the contributions of Mercedes AMG, Porsche and Silverstone show that not only is motorsport a way for amputee drivers such as David Birrell and Frederic Sausset to recuperate, but also a way of raising awareness and creating memories for motor-racing enthusiasts who will never get the opportunity to drive a car, let alone a racing machine. In addition, these experiences also help raise awareness and money for charities like the Muscle Help Foundation, who provide invaluable support to those suffering with chronic illnesses such as muscular dystrophy.