Stand up to Cancer!

It’s early, too early, 5.35am to be exact. Being media types we are not used to that, we like 10.30am starts, with a Bloody Mary with extra chilli for breakfast to clear the head from that ‘morning after the night before’ press launch’. But today ‘It’s all for Charity Mate’ and what a good one. Stand Up For Cancer heavily supported by the Isle of Wight Festival. My choice of transport, a F-Type S. V6 3.0 Coupe. The Cat’s loaded and Portsmouth is logged into the Sat-Nav, other than the usual M25, A3(M) hustle the journey is a doddle, arriving in plenty of time to meet the rest of the M&M crew.

Knuckles up as we Stand up to Cancer

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First to arrive was of course our cameraman, Andy Coles. Andy Smiles, I mean he really smiles, sometimes you don’t know why, he looks like he knows a funny secret about you or he has done something very very naughty and won’t tell. Cameramen are always early, they can’t afford to be late and Andy takes this very seriously. So I figure he was there at least five hours or ten ahead of the time required. Next the lovely ‘all action, F1 reporting’ Men & Motors anchor (nautical term slipped in) Torie Campbell is spotted in the queue for the ferry, all glammed up in neoprene ready for whatever the day will throw at her. Torie flexes her ‘guns’ and says “bring on the rowing”.

A few minutes before departure Shane Lynch ‘Boyzone, Drift Car Champion and Extreme Petrol Head’ screams in, tyres squealing with blue smoke brandishing a can of Monster saying ‘what time’s the next boat?” Exec Producer Alice brings them to order with a run down of what lies ahead. Wightlink Ferries do their best time for the day and get us there in great time. Something they will regret later.

We arrive at the event and are met with a flurry of instructions. Our two presenters are celebrity guest rowers for the day in the Isle of Wight Festival boat, but this is no ordinary boat, this is a Dragon Boat. The event is organised by John and Caroline Giddings (The Music Festival Organisers) and Shane & Torie are in their team and they have a last years title to protect. This is serious! Other shipmates include Keith Duffy (Boyzone), Caroline Corr (the Corrs) and actor Nicholas Pinnock (Jason Backland in Marcella). Our competition for the day was other IOW Festival partners and national organisations such as Hard Rock Cafe, Ticketmaster, Live Nation, Heineken, WightLink, Unbranded and WPP.

With no time to lose the 20 Dragon Boat teams started on their various runs. No practice run, straight into it with our guys bringing in a cracking first run. Shane’s label mate Keith (donning a M&M jacket all day) gave our two hosts an amazing insight on camera into life with Shane and fellow Boyzone members, whist leaving Shane speechless as he recalled story after story on his fellow singing partner. Not all of which can be broadcast, repeated or even retold! Let’s just say that these guys are one set of tough hombres make no mistake. From the streets of Dublin whereby it was not entirely unknown for our latter day boy-band vets to be regular adolescence and ‘tear it up’ a bit.

Our epic team finds itself in the final and M&M is off in an Agusta 109 helicopter courtesy of Fresh Air’s boss Nigel Harris. It was then we tested our cameraman’s air legs straight after pulling him from the safety boat where he had been covering the Dragon Boat heats. So from sea level to 500 feet in several seconds (if he was a diver this rapid accent would bring on the bends) I just noticed his constant smile turn into a grimace as bossy landlubber Alice shouted instructions as Andy wrestled his camera left and right as the 109 twitched to get the best angles. I am not sure how the boat race is covered when Oxford meet Cambridge, but I am sure that the film crew don’t turn ‘green’ and grit their teeth as the boats run for home. Great footage achieved our cheery pilot Graham takes us for a quick tour of the IOW Festival site. Daltrey and Townshend will be blasting out ‘Who are You (ooh ooh)’ in about 6 weeks or so that will send out ferocious sound waves instead of the salty sea waves being fought off by our intrepid rowers 500 feet below. The race is on with sea urchins WhightLink the favourites, and IOW Festival celebrities and the Men & Motors hosts giving it serious beans.

So like the filming of the event, the Dragon Race is all down to a picture finish. Seriously, everyone had the WhightLink crew as winner for the day and from the heavens it looked like they got it. But hold the front page the IOW Festival boat won by a nose, making the WhightLink turn green. Torie claims her ‘guns’ won the day and Shane (who’s Boyzone team of rowers won it last year) proved the 2016 crew that they are ‘Better’ and  ‘Isn’t it a wonder’ and that “No matter What’ they are now feeling ‘So Good’.

Claire Rowney, the director of Stand Up To Cancer, said: ‘The Dragon Boat Race has been such an incredible kick-off to what we know will be an epic partnership with the Isle of Wight Festival.  This £60,000 is a huge contribution to cancer research and will help accelerate getting treatments to cancer patients more quickly”.

IOW3So what was M&M doing here? Well filming the event in a Helio is a start (very M&M) and watching our Hosts (Torie & Shane) work together for the first time and testing our cameraman’s resilience and smile. But what I have really overlooked is the 200-mile drive down from London and back in the F-Type. This car is nimble and precise like an attack-helicopter, irons out the curves in the road, is a winner like our team was and if it was a boat, it would be a IOW power boat competitor in the round-island event. And win it. At entry level spec the £60k raised today would buy one. Country lanes to motorway, this is the most driveable of the range, it sounds great, has the prettiest rear end of all cars on the road today and in 567bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8 SVR form is not ashamed of showing it’s rear end to Astons, 911’s and Ferraris on any track.

Enjoy the full knuckle up experience here as Shane Lynch & Torie Campbell Stand Up For Cancer.

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