Despite the weather forecast for rain and gale force winds, nearly 500 intrepid veteran car owners made the start in Hyde Park for the 60-mile endurance to Brighton for the 2009 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
After three sunny events, the English weather turned inclement for this year’s Run but, despite the driving rain, the participants battled their way to the finish line with a smile on their faces. However by mid afternoon the clouds parted and the sun came out to greet the final cars to cross the line on Brighton seafront.
The first car to reach the finish line on Madeira Drive was car 142, a 1902 Oldsmobile, driven by 22-year-old Canadian John Brooks, with his father Robert alongside him in the passenger seat. Despite being in his early twenties, the 2009 event marked John’s 17th London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, though not all as a driver. He said at the finish line: “We had a really great run. The terrible weather meant there was less traffic so there were no delays on the roads.”
The first six veteran cars to reach Madeira Drive in the minimum three hours from start to finish were –
1. 1902 Oldsmobile Curved-dashed Runabout, John Brooks (CDN)
2. 1900 Haynes-Apperson Phaeton, Richard Beddall (GB)
3. 1902 Renault Single Seater, Jean-Claude Busine (B)
4. 1902 Clement Two-seater, Rene Verbeist (B)
5. Panhard et Levassor Rear-entrance Tonneau, Jeremy Stubbs (GB)
6. 1902 Darracq Tonneau, Allan White Jr (GB)
Once again large crowds turned out to cheer the veteran cars along the way and the weather failed to dampen the spirits of participants and spectators alike. The start in Hyde Park and the run out of London was dry but as the first cars approached Croydon the wind picked up and the rain came down. The weather did affect the performance of some of the participating vehicles but despite the conditions 379 reached the finish line before 16:30 to collect their coveted 2009 LBVCR finishers medal.
The 2009 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run weekend began with the LBVCR Auction at Bonhams, with all ten veteran cars on sale being sold to new owners, with a further 200 lots of related automobilia selling to a packed New Bond Street Salesroom.
Attention then turned to the LBVCR International Concours in London’s Regent Street. 128 Veteran Cars were on display in Central London and once again over 200,000 visitors were able to get a very close look at some of the rarest vehicles in the world. The cars on display were also competing for several prizes and the awards went to the following –
Concours d’Elegance, sponsored by Turtle Wax
1902 Panhard et Levassor Rear-entrance Tonneau, Mr John Lawson (GB)
1903 Panhard et Levassor Tonneau, Mr Malcolm, Miss Emma, Miss Elizabeth Bishop (GB)
Most Historic Veteran Car
1901 De Dion Bouton Vis-à-vis, Mr James Gresham (GB)
Most Original / Unrestored Veteran Car
De Dietrich Vis-à-vis, Mr Stephan Musfield (CH)
Judges Special Award
1902 Maxim Rear-entrance Tonneau, Mr Ian Strang (GBG)
The Spectators Special Award
Petigars Prat Carrabin, Mr Marco Fusco (D)
Best Belgian Manufactured Vehicle
Nagant-Gobron Brillie Double Phaeton, Mr Philippe Vercruysse (B)
LBVCR Event Director Roger Etcell said: “Once again the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run has been an event that the UK can be very proud of. Despite the weather we had over 500 pre 1905 vehicles entered for the 76th running of the world’s longest running motoring event, representing 24 nations across the world; a true showing of the British Bulldog spirit. On behalf of The Royal Automobile Club our thanks go to the over 400 volunteer marshals, supporting police officers, council staff and other agencies who make today’s event possible and endured the torrential conditions to carry out their many duties. Our congratulations go to all of the participants who made it to Brighton and we look forward to seeing everyone again on Sunday 7 November 2010.”