The Insider admires a subversive approach to Brands Hatch beauties, and ponders the popularity of a puppet

There are football fans, football fanatics and then there’s Heath Lambert broker David Fryer. The blue and white colours of Huddersfield Town really do run through his veins. He’s embarking on a three-day cycle, with the club’s chairman Dean Hoyle and commercial director Sean Jarvis, from Huddersfield to Southend for the team’s first League One game of the season on 8 August.

David tells me his risk management skills will help smooth the charity cycle. “I feel in the 21st century, which is far more risk averse than the previous century, the role of the broker is paramount to get these madcap projects off the ground,” he says. Speaking of risk management, it turns out that some of the money raised is going to Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Let’s hope they’re not needed on the day.

Not just a pretty face…

My friends over at MCE Insurance have never been afraid of a little bit of controversy, but they are braver men than me to risk incurring the wrath of the biker fraternity. The personal lines broker has signed a major, exclusive sponsorship of one of the country’s biggest bike shows. The deal should be a major boost to its profile – and provide some fun along the way. But bike fans are in for a surprise at the inaugural MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, to be held at Brands Hatch in August. As part of the deal, MCE has decided to replace the blonde lovelies that usually serve as grid girls with some “alternative” beauties, whose main attractions include extensive tattoos and face and body piercing.

There he blows it

Competition in business is one thing but, for some, competition during office away days is an equally serious matter. Just ask Nick Haycock, managing director of Countrywide. He was desperately keen to win an inter-staff boat race on the River Nidd in North Yorkshire last week. Sadly, Nick and his lot finished second, beaten by a rival marketing team. Ah, it’s a tough life. Luckily, I hear there was plenty of booze sloshing around for Nick to drown his sorrows.

An inconvenient untruth

It didn’t take long for Brendan McManus to scotch the rumour I shared with you last week that the Willis UK boss was considering a return to his former employer, RSA. After reading my column online, Brendan felt obliged to clarify the situation by leaving his own short but snappy comment after no doubt his old pals at RSA (and probably Willis boss Joe) had been on the blower: “Quite happy to tell you that this ‘rumour’, if that’s what it is, is a complete fabrication. Regards, Brendan.” So, there you go, according to the man himself, it’s not true. I wonder who’s next on the rumour mill hit list?

A?lorra love for Orlov

I know I’ve bet my son a spin in my Bentley that I would have more Facebook followers than him, but I don’t know if I’d take the same bet with make-believe Russian meerkat Aleksandr Orlov, from comparethemarket’s ad campaign. Unbelievably, he now has half a million fans on Facebook and 20,000 on Twitter, making him more popular than Jordon and Lily Allen. To celebrate his success, the comparison site has released the meerkat’s bloopers online, featuring Aleksandr suffering a wardrobe malfunction and a clip where he says his trademark lines after inhaling helium. Now I can understand why a helium-inhaling meerkat is more popular than Jordon and Lily, but more popular than me? Surely not!

Sun in summer? Don’t bet on it

The champagne was flowing, the horses were racing and the ladies dressed finely – but unfortunately the rain was pouring. Welcome to ascot on a summer’s day. Towergate’s pointman kept the guests entertained with plenty of food and booze, although he did come out with a few dodgy tips on the horses. That reminds me, I hear Chris Giles’s horse Tricky Trickster is coming along nicely. Fancy a punt anyone? IT