Screen idol Michael van Gerwen makes his darts comeback on Wednesday – washing cars in a stadium parking lot.
World No.1 MVG sat out the Professional Darts Corporation’s innovative online Home Tour because a new-born baby and lively rescue dogs at his custom-built house in Holland would have been too distracting.
But Van Gerwen is taking part in the Hannover Drive-in Darts Gala with fellow Dutchman and multiple world champion Raymond van Barneveld, German star Max Hopp and South African Devon Petersen.
Fans pay around £55 per car to watch the open-air tournament on giant screens from the comfort of their own vehicles.
But for £165, VIP punters parked in the reserved front row get their windscreens cleaned personally by one of the exhibition’s four stars.
The drive-in gala, sanctioned by PDC Europe, is the latest method to restore darts to the sporting agenda following the coronavirus lockdown, with the players’ walk-ons being replaced by processions in golf buggies.
On the oche, a Formula One pit lane-style lollipop will maintain social distancing between the competittors, while fans are encouraged to mark each 180 maximum by blaring their horns in approval.
And Van Gerwen can’t wait to go from the Prince Charming of darts to rinse-charming in Germany, saying: “Yes, I am playing the Hannover exhibition – in a big car park with a stage next to the football stadium.
“I am looking forward to it – washing cars will be a bit of fun. And it’s nice to get started again.
“I don’t mind a few swipes (with a chamois leather). The last time I washed a car? Probably about a month ago, but I didn’t need to do any of the work.
“Close to where I live you put the car on a sort of conveyor belt, it’s 100 metres long, you drive the other side out and your car is cleaned.
“But I’m not afraid of manual labour. I have a nice house – with enough space and land – and sometimes you have to do things at home. It keeps you busy. Rather than sit on your bum behind a computer. You can do that when you are 70 or 80 years old.”
Subject to the Government’s half-baked quarantine rules, Van Gerwen confirmed he will play in next month’s PDC summer Series behind closed doors in Milton Keynes.
And after branching out into car washing, he warned his first extended break from darts has rekindled his enthusiasm for mopping up more titles, saying: “I want to carry on for another 10 years at least.
“One thing I have learned, during lockdown, is that I still love what I do. That’s the main thing.
“I know I am ready. I am ready to go back on the Tour again, I want to win big majors again. People write me off me too quickly.
“Have I missed darts in the last three months? Yes, I definitely have. Having not played for more than 100 days now, I have missed showing everyone in the world what I am capable of.”