The winding road up the Cap Formentor peninsula hugs precipitous cliffs, with a deep blue sea far below. It twists and turns for 20km, barely wide enough for two cars – and sometimes almost doubling back on itself – before ending at a bulbous, craggy summit topped by a soaring white lighthouse.
We stand at the top, looking back down over the snaking road. A distant open-topped sports car – the only vehicle on the road – roars into sight and careers around a bend or two at high speeed. Then it stops and goes in reverse, back down the mountain, the driver with one nonchalent hand on the steering wheel, barely glancing behind him.
Below the car and road, cliffs fall away hundreds of feet. The driver repeats the manouevre three or four times, up and back the same stretch of road.
“That’s my car”, says the man standing next to us. “I hope he’s being careful”.
Turns out he owns a couple of vintage F-Type Jags, and Jaguar have paid him handsomely – there are lots of noughts on the figure he mentions – to ship his cars to Malllorca so that they can shoot an advert for their lucrative Chinese market.
“And who do you think that’s supposed to be?”, says the man, pointing down at the distant car.
WeI squint into the distance at the car. No idea.
“David Beckham”, says our new friend. “I say ‘suppposed to be’. It’s a stunt driver. They wouldn’t let Beckham drive on this road. He flies in tomorrow for a day’s work, sitting in my other jag, looking pretty”.
He mentions another astronomical sum – Beckham’s pay for what is essentially a day’s modelling work.
As if on cue, a helicopter swoops up behind the lighthouse and then barrels down the road, filming the driver as he negotiates another switchback.
We watch for a while as Stunt David Beckham drives up and down the road a bit more, the ‘copter swooping around and down and around again. Birds wheel behind us on the thermals, screeching above the noise of the rotor blades.
Before we leave, I get to stand next to the spare white F-Type and have my photo taken. Then, when the filming is finished, I drive the compact rental car back down the crazy road to Pollença, very, very slowly, like a normal person.
Later in the year, we find the ad on You Tube (footage starts 0.54). David Beckham, driving up and down the cape in Mallorca.
You’ve got to hand it to Becks. He can certainly drive.