The recent 'Race Against Dementia' auction at Lorbek Luxury Cars in Melbourne raised the remarkable total of over $465,000. The cause is backed and the charity founded by former F1 champ Sir Jackie Stewart Srecko Lorbek, owner of the business and its remarkable Port Melbourne facility, was clearly pleased with the result, the culmination of some three months of planning.
"What that shows to me, if you put the hard work together you can make a difference," he said.
The event was opened by Lorbek's partner Dr Chantel Thornton, a prominent surgeon, who spoke of the markers for dementia and the efforts to find a cure.
Acting as figurehead for the event and the Race Against Dementia cause was Formula One legend Sir Jackie Stewart, who spoke passionately about his personal connection with dementia – his wife, Lady Helen, has started suffering the symptoms.
He went on to host an engaging conversation with Australian star drivers Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo.
The auction lots were many and varied, including drive experiences (such as a lap of Albert Park with Webber, or a Porsche snow and ice experience) and memorabilia.
There was even a walking tour of the Albert Park Lake pits at the Melbourne F1 GP, with Sir Jackie. As someone noted, his presence is enough to open doors that would otherwise remain slammed shut.
For many the prime offering was a hosted trip to the upcoming Goodwood Revival. It included business-class flights and – more significantly – staying with Sir Jackie at his home and flying down in a helicopter each day to visit the event.
Bidding was fierce and the lot hit the $100,000 barrier. Sir Jackie was anything but shy if he felt bidders weren't opening their wallets far enough, which no doubt helped to boost the extraordinary overall result. Some 500 people attended the event.