The original Cannonball Baker Sea To Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash was a highly illegal and controversial event hastily assembled by Brock Yates in protest of the Draconian 55 mph national speed limit enacted in the United States in the early 1970s.

The idea was to run across the continental United States, from New York City to Los Angeles in as little time as possible. The event quickly became the stuff of legend, and eventually morphed into the somewhat safer and less controversial One Lap of America.

It’s also given rise to a host of events that “borrow” the Cannonball name in an effort to capitalize on the original event’s mystiques. Many such rallies are billed as “lifestyle events,” which means they have exorbitant entry fees to fund the lavish end-of-day parties that participants expect.

In short, such rallies are often just an excuse for wealthy participants to show off their latest supercars. Sometimes, however, an event will do what it can to share the supercar experience with those less fortunate.

Such is the case with the Cannonball 2000, a new event scheduled to kick off from London on September 5. Participants will cover some 2,000 miles before ending the event in Paris, but a pre-rally event was held at the Beaulieu Motor Museum in support of children’s charity Dreams Come True.

Dreams Come True specializes in giving “unforgettable experiences” to children with life-threatening and long-term illnesses. Participants in the Cannonball 2000 took children and their families for rides in a variety of exotic cars, as well as introducing them to celebrities such as model Katie Green and stunt driver Ray Dehaan.

The Cannonball 2000 will also support Dreams Come True by sharing a portion of the event entry fees with the charity. The 2012 Cannonball 2000 is fully booked, but plans are already underway for the 2013 event; if you want details, head on over to the Cannonball 2000 website.