Chequered flag from Valentino Rossi's last MotoGP to be auctioned at British GP

Two Wheels for Life's Day of Champions at the British GP will be back to full force for 2022, with racing experiences and signed memorabilia up for grabs.

Valentino Rossi and Randy Mamola

The Day of Champions auction will be back in its full capacity for this year’s British Grand Prix, which takes place at Silverstone next weekend. 

Day of Champions became a staple of the British Grand Prix weekend before the Covid pandemic. Taking place on the Thursday before the race weekend, it would give fans the chance to hear from the riders ahead of the race, as well as bid on unique racing memorabilia. 

Now the restrictions for the pandemic are gone for 2022, the auction is back to its pre-2020 level.

Put on by Two Wheels for Life, the fundraising arm of Riders for Health, Day of Champions helps to raise money for Riders for Health, who use that to fund their efforts helping healthcare workers in Africa.

Earlier in the year, it was announced that Riders for Health had partnered with Yamaha to raise €100,000 in a bid to replace an ageing fleet of bikes used by healthcare workers in the Gambia. The most recent development of that partnership was the announcement that the bike with which Alessandro Botturi won the Tunisia Desert Challenge this year - a Yamaha Tenere 700 World Raid - would be auctioned. 

Yamaha will be somewhat central to the Day of Champions next Thursday, too, as the chequered flag which ended the final race of the Grand Prix career of Valentino Rossi at the 2021 Valencian Grand Prix will be auctioned off. Yamaha do not make chequered flags, but they built the bikes which Rossi raced for 16 of Rossi’s 22 seasons in the premier class of GP racing, and the brand is almost synonymous with the Italian legend, who incidentally is taking part in his first Spa 24 Hours this weekend. 

The Spa 24 Hours will be Rossi’s first major endurance race since he won the 2001 Suzuka 8 Hours with Honda, and his teammate Colin Edwards.

(Unfortunately for many people, the Suzuka 8 Hour will also take place next weekend, on the same weekend as the British Grand Prix. From a selfish perspective, this can limit the chances to watch what is arguably the most important single motorcycle race of the year.) 

Edwards, too, will be a part of the Day of Champions, as an experience day at the former double WorldSBK champion’s Texas Tornado Bootcamp will be another of the auctioned ‘items’.

Also on the list is the helmet Kenny Roberts wore at the Goodwood Festival of Speed earlier this year, when he rode alongside Wayne Rainey and Mick Doohan up the famous hillclimb.

Bidders will also be able to win a Ducati MotoX2 two-seater experience for the Friday. Francesco Bagnaia recently rode his girlfriend around Misano on the MotoX2 Ducati. Asked if she enjoyed it, the reply was simple: “No.” Perhaps the person who wins the experience for Friday in Silverstone will have a better time.

Speaking of Bagnaia, a signed pair of his race gloves will be up for grabs, as well as a signed pair of Jack Miller’s boots; a trophy made of the components of an engine used in Jake Dixon’s Moto2 bike (“a crank assembly with the three con rods and pistons mounted in engine orientation, on a billet aluminium plinth,” according to Two Wheels for Life); a VIP Exclusive Tour at the Triumph Factory Visitor Experience including areas not normally on the factory tour (for 10 people); signed gloves of Miguel Oliveira; signed boots of Brad Binder; and grid access experiences.

Quite the list of desirable things, then. When Two Wheels for Life hosted its auction at the WorldSBK race in Donington two weeks ago, they raised £15,000, which suddenly sounds like something of a target.

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