The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2012 was held Sunday 4th November in London. A field of nearly 450 pre-1905 veteran cars lined up in the torrential rain to take part in the oldest motoring event in the world. Out of the 449 starters that set out from Hyde Park at 7.00am, 372 successfully made the finish line at Madiera Drive, Brighton, while 77 vehicles had to retire early due to technical problems.
The first to finish the 116th annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run was Ian Moore from New Milton, Hampshire crossing the finish line at 10.21am driving an 1899 Panhard et Levassor while the last officially to arrive at Madiera Drive was competitor Derek Payne, from Brisbane, Australian who limped across the finish line at 4.38pm in a 1901 De Dion Bouton. The vehicle had experienced many problems along the way, but he remained upbeat and very proud to have completed the run. He said, “This is the first time I have ever driven a veteran car, the vehicle belongs to my boss. You really have to get used to the brakes and steering, it takes a great deal of concentration managing the car and battling the weather.”
This year saw regular participant Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, Land Speed Legend Wing Commander Andy Green and former Formula One drivers Jochen Mass and Sir Stirling Moss OBE all successfully cross the finish line. Mason once again entered his 1901 Panhard et Levassor Roi-des-Belges, he taken part every year since 1985 and only failed to finish on two occasions.
Other personalities on the event included car enthusiast, Joy Rainey, who has taken part many times. This year’s Run acted as her warm-up and preparation for her 2,826-mile trip across the USA in her faithful 109-year old Oldsmobile in 2013.
Meanwhile, ultramarathon runner, Duncan Philips, ran from London to Brighton as part of a bet with fellow competitor Dan Suskin from the USA in his 1902 Delahaye. Their wager, was for the last person to cross the finish line was to by the ice creams. Dan was carrying a GPS device, with his co-ordinates being reported back to the event crew regularly. He explained that the night before he drove the route and discreetly hid high energy supplies at ten of the locations. However the majority of it had disappeared on the day, so he survived on just two coffees and Mars Bars. Both Duncan and Dan arrived at the finish line at 12.36pm neck in neck, and then gentlemanly wanted to let each other cross first. Both Duncan and Dan were presented with a finisher’s medals and ice creams.
Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee, said, “Following the tremendous excitement of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and then the Olympics and Paralympics, the Royal Automobile Club was pleased to round off 2012 with an equally spectacular world-class event in the Celebration of Motoring weekend – of which the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run was the showpiece.”
The Royal Automobile Club is grateful for the support of event title sponsors Bonhams and Tindle Newspapers. Sir Ray Tindle, Chairman of Tindle Newspapers made it clear that his ongoing support for the Run is based on his love of his favourite motoring event. Although this was Sir Ray’s 49th Brighton to London Veteran Car Run, his interest in the event goes back to his childhood when, as a boy of seven, he watched the cars pass close to his Streatham home, and dreamed of one day, taking part. In the summer of 1993 the then organisers of the Run sent out an appeal to the participants: the ‘Brighton Run’ did not have a sponsor, and was in danger of suffering as a result. Sir Ray not only responded with sponsorship in that and each of the subsequent 19 years. Sir Ray crossed the finishing line yesterday, and celebrated with a tot of brandy to warm him up.
The original London to Brighton run was held on 14 November 1896 when 30 motoring pioneers celebrated the passing into law of the Locomotives on the Highway Act, which raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4mph to 14mph and abolished the requirement for these vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot. The event was known as the Emancipation Run.
London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2012 – Photo Gallery