DJ Chris Evans flies in by helicopter for Dunlop Bridge auction… and wins iconic structure with a bid of just £250
Petrol-head Chris Evans yesterday flew in by helicopter to view the world famous Dunlop Bridge he paid just £250 for – boasting he had got “one of the greatest bargains of all time”.
BBC Radio 2 DJ Evans – who has an £87million fortune – snapped up the bridge which has been dismantled after 30 years at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire.
Evans, 46, bought the whopping 230ft-long bridge – which resembles a huge car tyre – after it was auctioned by Bonhams at the Goodwood Revival race meeting in Surrey on Saturday.
The ginger-haired DJ, who has a fleet of top-of-the-range Ferraris and classic cars, told listeners on his breakfast show he had bought the bridge.
He joked that he was going to erect it over the top of his neighbour’s house in Berkshire but yesterday vowed to have it re-built in Leicestershire for race fans to enjoy.
After touching down on the race track by helicopter, he took a spin in a white Mazda around the course before spending half an hour sitting on one of the 18 large sections of bridge.
He said: “It’s a lot bigger than I thought. S*** it’s massive. I didn’t realise how chunky it was. I can’t believe how big it is.
“It’s huge isn’t it? It’s the kind of thing you have on a farm to hold livestock in.
“We’ve got to erect it somewhere. That’s what we are going to talk about while we are here.
“We were going to take it back to Berkshire and erect parts of it in my garden with my neighbour’s and the local council’s permission but there have been calls this morning to leave it here because this is its home.
“It’s one of the most important pieces of sporting memorabilia in the world so if Donington wants it to stay here then it can.
“We would like to find somewhere to re-erect the bridge and we would like things to happen under that bridge.
“It was only £250, it was one of the greatest bargains of all time. It’s just over a pound per foot. It’s beyond a bargain, it redefines the term bargain.
“The auction price was a few thousand, then it came down to £1,000, then £500 and I thought I’d bid £250 just to start it off.
“But no-one else bid so I got it. I want to form a society and have an annual meeting at the bridge.
“I think the bridge should have its own Twitter account. It’s big, it’s cumbersome and right now it’s a bit of a problem but we need to get it back up.”
Asked if he would sell the bridge to be used at music festivals such as Download, Evans added: “I don’t want to sell the bridge. I want to retain ownership of the bridge and keep it safe.
“It’s available for hire or to be played under so we will see.”
Tyre-giant Dunlop originally paid for the bridge to be put over the Leicestershire track in 1977.
The structure was based on an identical bridge which has stood over the Circuit De La Sarthe, home of the Le Mans 24 hours, since 1932.
In 2009 the bridge was dismantled during planned renovations for the circuit while a failed attempt was made to host the British Grand Prix.
When the move collapsed the owners of the circuit were unable to restore the bridge to its position over Starkey’s Straight due to health and safety laws.
The lot bought by Evans comprises 16 panel pieces which made the arch that decorated the footbridge.
The metal structure of the bridge has already been sold for scrap.