VIPs zoom in to a VRRM Starting Line Preview Party

VERO BEACH — To get revved up for the Second Annual Vero Road Rally Magnifique, appropriately abbreviated to VRRM, organizers hosted a Starting Line Preview Party at the Quail Valley River Club for sponsors and other honored guests.   A benefit for the Sun Up Center for the Developmentally Disabled, VRRM is scheduled for Saturday, April 9 and promises more twists and turns than San Francisco’s Lombard Street. Grand Prix and Formula 5000 racing legend Brian Redman has lent his name as the Honorary VRRM Chair, and his son James and daughter-in-law Dawn have once again accepted the role of Honorary Rally Masters.

Five-time LeMans Champion Derek Bell, who was originally to have attended the VIP party, was unfortunately unable to attend.

“He is in Finland with Bentley, where he is overseeing an attempt to set a land speed record on ice; last year was around 200 miles per hour.  They do it with street cars as opposed to racing cars,” explained James Redman.

The Redmans are enthusiastically spreading word of the event in their racing, polo and real estate circles.  Dawn is the polo commentator for Vero Beach Polo, and a Realtor with Treasure Coast Sotheby’s International Realty.

“Last year we had participants from Hobe Sound, Jupiter, Palm Beach and Melbourne; it’s a good draw to bring people to Vero Beach,” said James.  “And it’s open to all cars, not just classic cars.”

Fifty-six cars, from exotic and vintage to family sedans and SUVs, participated in the exciting inaugural VRRM, netting approximately $30,000 for Sun Up.

While previous contestants might have a slight advantage, they shouldn’t expect the same route or clues, but can look forward to seeing more lovingly maintained classic cars, as members of the Indian River Region Antique Auto Club of America, led by Club President Lee Orre, will again man checkpoints along the route.

“We’re doing two routes this time, to make it quicker to get out and to finish,” said Dennis Bartholomew, Sun Up Executive Director.  “It’s got a different finish; it won’t end at the Schumann’s this year, and there will be other surprises also.”

Sun Up board member Dick Pippert was looking forward to speaking with Brian Redman.

“I met him 40 years ago when I worked at Liggett & Myers; they sponsored the L&M racing cars,” said Pippert. “Jackie Stewart, Hoss, Penske; they were all just starting out.  It was an exciting time.  I want to take a trip down memory lane and see if he remembers the same things.”

When they met, Redman said he remembered it well.

“They were the L&M CanAm races, and ran from 1965 to 1974, said Redman.  “There were few rules; none regarding the engines, but they had to have two seats.  They were pure racing cars; the fastest cars in the world at the time.   Then the Porsche 917 came along with a 1,000 horsepower engine and it killed all the other series.”

As photos from last year’s event were shown on a screen behind the podium, guests were welcomed with a brief presentation.

“We will have two simultaneous routes this year; one clockwise and one counter-clockwise,” said event chair Karl Steene, giving a few more hints about what to expect. “You will see each other’s cars as you travel the route.  We may add other things such as time and distance elements.  It will be more rural than urban, but with equally interesting sites.”

Sun Up Board Chairman Mary Beth Vallar wrapped things up by encouraging guests to sign up their friends.

“Last year’s participants know how much fun it was, and more importantly it raises needed funds for Sun Up.”

The family-friendly road rally is not about speed; you have an equal chance at winning whether your car is a Ford Focus or a Ferrari.  A planned route, revealed at the start of the rally, begins at the Sun Up Center. The rally is capped at 100 vehicles, so get your motors running and register soon or you’ll be left in the dust.

The Sun Up Center provides programs, services and residential opportunities to developmentally disabled individuals. 

To sponsor or register, call Dennis Bartholomew at (772) 770-6626 or visit {igallery 337}

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