Late night call from Sir Big Swinging Dick. He’s on of his Big Branson Ideas again. “Bernie'” he says, “Are you still worrying how to get enough spectators to that US Grand Prix of yours?”
I point out that it’s not me worrying about that, but Tavo Hellmund and the Comptroller of the State of Texas. But he’s not listening. Probably had a couple of Martinis too many at the Paddock Bar.
“D’you know what’s drawing the big crowds in California right now?” he blares. I must admit that nothing in particular springs to mind. The World Soccer Championship, perhaps? “Nope. It’s mooning.”
“Yep. Organised mooning. I’m not making this up. They moon trains. Gather at the tracks and wait till the train’s coming. At the signal they all drop their pants and moon the train. You know, full Moon? Two each, actually. Get it?
I get it. So what do you want to do, have people moon the drivers when they race by? Won’t they be going a little bit too fast for that?
“Bernie,” he says, “can you imagine? A grandstand full of 200,000 people, mooning a couple dozen F1 cars? What a backdrop for a race! Yes, they might be driving a bit fast, but the Californians ‘re practicing on trains already so an F1 race must be doable. But there’s more. Listen to this.”
There’s even more? I’m certain I don’t want to hear it. But he’s unstoppable. Must be on crack or something. No pun intended, of course.
“Listen, Bernie,” he says. “The Californians ‘re already proving themselves good at this. And Nevada borders on California. So here’s your winning concept for the Las Vegas Grand Prix. Told you we should do one, didn’t I? The World’s First Mooning Race. Take that, Singapore! And we’ve already got Vegas landing rights, mind. So don’t worry, we’ll fly the mooners in by the planeload. That’ll teach that upstart Fernandes.
Ah. Now I understand. It’s the old Branson vs Fernandes agenda. Virgin Atlantic vs AirAsia, Virgin Racing vs Lotus Racing. We don’t only need a Singapore Grand Prix, there has to be one in Las Vegas too. And mooning would certainly be in keeping with Richard Branson’s image.
I tell him I’ll think about it and ring off. But it’s already too late. I’m stuck with the horrible vision of 200,000 Americans showing their ample butts to the world under the glaring lights of an F1 race. Argh.