Posted 7 November 2011 by Andrew Gardner
I rekindled my memories of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run yesterday totally by chance and totally unintended!
Having written about the new Brighton Ferris Wheel earlier we took the opportunity to try it out on Sunday and stumbled across the last of the veteran cars arriving on Madeira Drive by complete and pleasant surprise. Before I get on to the cars, the Brighton Wheel is worth seeing and even more is Brighton and the coastline from the top! The wheel fits in well along the seafront, is certainly not unattractive and is the type of attraction that defines what visitng Brighton is all about.
I remember watching the London to Brighton run as a child standing on the verge of the A23 between Pease Pottage and Handcross over a number of consecutive years. You certainly can't do that today! In fact why not stay at Rosemead Cottage just outside Handcross if you fancy seeing these remarkable old machines close up on 4 November 2012. In the small village of Staplefield a mile south of Handcross a number of classic cars regularly gather to watch these passing veterans! A great spot to watch for the motoring connoisseur!
The event is open to motor vehicles that pre date 1905, and this year was the 115th anniversary run celebrating 125 years since the very first automobile. Considering these vehicles vary between 106 and 117 years old an astonishing 496 started from Hyde Park and an even more remarkable 420 completed the historic run. The first vehicle to arrive in Brighton was an 1897 Marot Gardon Tricycle in an impressive 3 hours and 25 minutes.
His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent who regularly takes part this year drove a 1903 Daimler entered by the National Motor Museum Trust and a first time debutant was 1992 Formula One World Champion Nigel Mansell. Sadly both had long finished when we arrived on Madeira Drive however we did see the last finisher cross the line a little after 4pm. What struck me was the ease of access we found later in the afternoon to admire these remarkable machines. A great bonus indeed! .