London-Brighton: no rain for a change

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As tradition dictates, the 119th anniversary run set out from Hyde Park at day break and headed 60 miles south through a misty London and on to a sunny Sussex seafront. For only the third time in more than half a century, this year’s route took the intrepid participants – all driving pioneering cars from the pre-1905 era ­– past Buckingham Palace and down The Mall before heading past Big Ben and over Westminster Bridge. The capital’s early morning mist added to the period Victorian atmosphere.

The first few cars began to arrive on Maderia Drive shortly after 10am – the 1903 Berliet driven by John Bentley just pipping the 1904 Fiat of Dutchman Jan Bruijn to the honour of being first past the finishing post.

Among the others turning back the clock were Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Formula 1 team principal Ross Brawn and multiple Le Mans winner Jochen Mass. They were joined en route to Brighton by three classic coaches driven by BBC Radio broadcasters Chris Evans, Alex Jones and Ken Bruce raising nearly £350,000 for BBC Children in Need thanks to the generosity of their 40 passengers.

The annual Run is now the only event anywhere where so many veteran cars parade in such numbers.

Other entries included Genevieve from the eponymous 1953 film, a large number of cars from the US celebrating this year’s American theme and significantly the 1901 Isotta Fraschini – chassis number one – the very first car to wear the famous ‘IF’ badge which was making its VCR debut this year.

Mass, Mason and Brawn all made it to Brighton, too. Brawn needing all his engineering skills – and several tie-wraps – to overcome a broken flywheel on his 1904 Wilson Pilcher. “It’s such a fabulous event, we just had to make it to the finish,” he said.

Another impressive finisher was the steam-powered 1888 Truchutet driven by Daniel Ward – the oldest car on the run – believed to be one of the earliest vehicles to have ever completed the event.

In total 342 of the starters managed to complete journey from Hyde Park to the Sussex coast before the 4.30pm deadline, thus receiving their finisher medal.



Drivers cross Westminster Bridge during the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday November 1, 2015. As many as half a million spectators will line the route of the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run this November, when the longest running motoring event in the world sets off on its annual adventure from London to Brighton. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

London to Brighton run

(All images c. Oliver Edwards)

(All images c. Oliver Edwards)

BRITAIN VETERAN CAR RUN IN PHOTO - Salvesen (steam) 1896The start in Hyde Park of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. Press Association Photo. Picture date Sunday November 3rd, 2013. Photo credit should read: Matt Alexander/PA Wire

Salvesen (steam) 1896 at the start in Hyde Park


As dawn breaks on Sunday (1 November) 400+ intrepid drivers and their hardy passengers will deal with whatever the weather has in store to drive 60 miles from London to Brighton. They will be at the wheel – or the tiller – of hundreds of horseless carriages, many of which were built while Queen Victoria was still on the throne.

The first car will leave Hyde Park at 6.54am and for the next couple of hours a huge variety of three and four wheel veterans will stream down Constitution Hill, alongside Buckingham Palace and on to The Mall before heading through Parliament Square and past Big Ben on their way to the coast.

The Harrods Stop at Crawley, the official half way point, will provide a welcome refreshment break in a warm, dry environment with ample parking at the Honda dealership for the veteran cars. Honda will be emptying its forecourt and service bays of modern cars to allow drivers to work on their veterans with assistance from RAC Motoring Services and specialist lubricants from Total.


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There are ample viewing opportunities along the way, notably in Crawley High Street where a knowledgeable commentary team will give some background on the veterans on their passage through. A time control check has been established which will provide the perfect opportunity for photos as the cars stop to have their cards stamped. The first cars are expected to pass through Crawley from 8.15 with the last leaving at about 1.45. Brighton expects its first arrival just before 10am with the last finishers ‘putt-putting’ in at 4pm.

As well as cars powered by petrol and some by steam, there will also be a few battery-powered electric vehicles making their way to Brighton. This year’s Run has an American theme – around one in four cars on the Run was built in the Land of the Free.

There are some familiar names in the driving seats, too. Look out for Jochen Mass, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason and Ross Brawn, DJs Chris Evans and Ken Bruce, along with Alex Jones from The One Show and Zoe Ball.

More information on the Run can be found here.


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Election auction for Great Ormond Street charity

My chum at Starcards – the celebrated Mr Paul Brett – tells me his organisation is auctioning off a collection of Great Ormond Street Hospital playing cards which have been signed by the country’s prime ministerial contenders. The auction is raising money for the Hospital’s own children’s charity. It finishes tomorrow night (7 May 2010) at 8pm. You can preview the items here.

The signed cards are professionally framed with images of Brown, Cameron and Clegg. The auction should be a fun ‘pole’ of the nation’s voting intentions as each leader goes head to head in a first past the post bidding frenzy to raise the highest bid on election day.

Hope Nick doesn’t become the joker in the pack!


London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital provides world class specialist paediatric care, research, training and education, and a continued commitment to sick children.

Starcards raises thousands of pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity every year, every penny of which goes directly to the Charity to spend on the most needy medical equipment and research facilities. £50 million is required every year.

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