THE WAY TO DO IT! By BOBBY
I’ve been on the circuit for more years than I care to remember and have done a few laps in my time (no comments please!) but nothing can compare with my VIP visit with Marie to the famous Silverstone race track for what was supposed to be the last British Grand Prix on that circuit.
No one is quite sure what’s going to happen following the row between the racing teams and the governing body for Formula 1 which grabbed all the media attention that weekend. A bit like what happened in darts in 1993 - only with a far richer bunch of people!!
I was invited to Silverstone by the Force India F1 team to play darts (see pic of me with the Force India girls) with the media, and ended up not only playing them, but also the drivers, mechanics and even the big boss himself, Vijay Mallya – who you could best describe as the Indian equivalent of Richard Branson.
In addition to Force India, he owns Kingfisher Airlines, Kingfisher Beer, whiskey giant Whyte & Mackay, and a whole lot more. He’s so rich that when he threw his darts he expected someone else to walk up the oche and get them out for him!
I just stood there and said: ‘The darts don’t come back on their own. You have to get them out yourself’. But I suppose when you’ve got as much money as him it doesn’t really matter!!
THAT’S THE WAY TO THROW IT!
When I played Vijay in what they laughingly called the Force India Motorhome (it has three floors and you could eat your dinner off any of them!) everyone had to put sunglasses on because his bling almost (only almost) outshone mine!
The hospitality was second to none, but the hardest thing was trying to remember and pronounce the names properly. Vijay was a doddle, but the team drivers got my tongue in a twist! Giancarlo Fisichella is their top man and he is backed up by Antonio Liuzzi who certainly knows a thing or two about style because he wanted my darts shirt as a souvenir.
I told him that he could only have it if I could have his car! I don’t think Vijay would have appreciated that – even if I had thrown in a set of my darts and the odd ring or two!
The winner of the media challenge was Chris Richards of the Hatfield Times. His prize was to play me in one game and, if he won, there was a crate of Whyte & Mackay waiting for him.
My old mate Crofty – David not Olly! – provided a running F1 style commentary, but even with the aid of some (lots) of dodgy maths, he just couldn’t finish the game. He missed more doubles than in that whole crate of whiskey and somehow I managed to win.
It was a shame but I think Chris just lost his bottle – 12 of them to be precise!
THAT’S THE WAY TO WHISKEY IT!
I was amazed at how popular darts is with the F1 boys. Quite a few of them were at Lakeside in January, but you don’t expect Anthony Hamilton, father of World Champion Lewis, to come up for a game of darts.
Loads of people stopped me for a chat and wanted to talk about darts rather than fast cars and among the many celebrities in and around the paddock I spotted Eric Cantona, Fabio Capello (the England football manager), Radio 1’s Chris Moyle’s, Jade Jagger and loads more.
It was also great to meet David Coulthard (see pic) who I nicknamed ‘Batman’. He has the square jaw of a super-hero and I couldn’t resist asking him where his cape was! Batman & Bobby!!
Then Nick Harris, the fitness guru who trains Williams’ driver Kazuki Nakajima (no prizes for guessing his nickname!) offered to get me into shape for the World Masters. Now that my shoulder is getting better every day maybe he could help me to qualify for Lakeside 2010?
THAT’S THE WAY TO POLE POSITION IT!
I even made it onto the Autosport website on the internet in a special Silverstone edition of ‘Paddock Life’. This is what they said:
‘Darts has earned a bit of a cult following in the F1 paddock thanks to Radio 5 commentator David ‘Seven Sausages A Day’ Croft hosting a table for members of the paddock at the World Darts Championships at Frimley Green.
Crofty’s contacts in darts are as good as they are in F1, so when Force India proposed the idea of linking the two sports, he got Bobby George along to help out.
George is the acclaimed King Of Darts, a world class player in his own right, but now just as well known for his television commentary role. And he is every bit a match on the ‘bling’ front for team boss Vija Mallya.
THAT’S THE WAY TO PADDOCK IT!
I loved my day out at the races and can only say to all my new F1 buddies, May The Force Be With You…..That’s Force India of course!
By the way, my thanks to Force India for all the smashing photographs that are used courtesy of them.
THAT’S THE WAY TO FORCE INDIA IT!
Nice to know that my Darts World column is well read because following my comments on the cancellation of Ken Dodd’s Xmas Show in Nottingham this year, it is now back on again.
I hope what I wrote helped to resolve a ridiculous situation. Whatever the case, it means that the good folk of Nottingham can now look forward to a Merry Ticklemas with Doddy!
THAT’S THE WAY TO TICKLING STICK IT!
Another nice thank-you came my way from young Douglas Thomas. He wrote to me for some darts advice and my list of checkouts proved more than useful to him.
This is what he said: Thank you for the checkouts. I used them wisely and by doing so I won the Harlow Under-19s Championship against England Youth player James Jennings. I also got to the Semi-Finals of the Harlow adult singles and lost to the eventual winner. Thanks again.
I am sure my checkouts helped a little bit, but obviously young Dougy Boy is a tasty player. One to watch for in the future!
THAT’S THE WAY TO CHECKOUT IT!
Another good picture of me this month (see photo) at The Mad Bishop & Bear pub (who dreams up these names?) which is actually in London’s Paddington station.
Fullers Brewery asked me to go along and play the very first game on their new darts themed games machine which is the first one ever to have a £70 jackpot (the previous top payout was £35).
I didn’t win, of course, but I did like the fact that the first game was called ‘Bobby Dazzler’. You can see me having a go (on the machine) on MSN.com and The Publican website.
It’s all a bit of fun, but my advice to all those who fancy a go on these games machines in pubs is simple: If you don’t put nothing in you don’t het nothing out! He who dares wins!
While on the subject of games I’m on the new Lottery Show ‘Guesstimation’ with Nick Knowles, who you will know from ‘D-I-Y SOS’ and ‘The Choir’ series on BBC.
It’s a game show based on numbers and involves a couple of families each who have to ‘guess’ various things. In my case, they had to guess how many points I could score with 9 darts – bUt with a catch, because I was blindfolded!
I’ve no idea who thought this one up, but I can’t even start to tell you how hard it is. First of all I did a short interview with Nick Knowles and then I turned round, thEy put on the blindfold (sequinned of course!) and I had to throw the darts!
Well, I’m not going to tell you how many I scored, but I can tell you that some joker had set the board at 8ft.9 and a bit!
I have this saying: ‘Throw where you’re looking and look where you’re throwing’. I honestly thought I could do it with my eyes shut (every pun intended) but it was really hard.
If you don’t believe me, try it at home – preferably in an empty room!
By the way, Nick Knowles is a lovely bloke and I also met Jodie Prenger, who is the beautiful and bubbly lady who won the BBC’s ‘I’d Do Anything’ series. She is now ‘Nancy’ in the hit West End show ‘Oliver!’
What a smashing lady she is and what a fan of darts! She told me that she had never asked anyone for their autograph before, but had to have mine.
I was more than happy to oblige, and me and Marie have an open invitation to go and see her in Oliver!.
THAT’S THE WAY TO OLIVER IT!