Bumper turn-out for RAC London-to-Brighton run

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To refer to the RAC Brighton Run as one of our greatest events on the veteran car calendar is entirely unnecessary. It has been such for a great many years, and so it was again on November 2, with a sunny day slightly offset by some mid route fog. Not a race, for the RAC frowns on too much speed, it simply requires the pre-1905 primitives to arrive at the finish control by 1630 hours, having been dispatched from Hyde Park from 0800 onwards, on the 57-mile journey. The spectator turn out is proof of the enormous interest and pleasure the long cavalcade of active veteran cars provides and long may it continue, indeed, must continue.

Equally, the entry is proof positive of this interest and enthusiasm 448 entries of 125 different makes, representing 46 British countries and 15 foreign countries, from as far away as America, South Africa and Poland, etc. Impossible to record all the adventures those taking part experience, but at the Hyde Park start, marshalled industriously by 750 MC members, Herr Fischer’s 1903 Cadillac appeared in trouble until an appeal on the PA brought a later starter with a Model T Ford coil and off the Cadillac went. Less fortunate was N Budgeon’s 1900 Peugeot, which developed axle failure before the start-line.

C Clark had passed his driving test that week so was able to drive a 1900 Panhard but Martin Wills broke his arm trying to start his 1904 De Dion as had his father in the same event in 1967; he got to the finish by train after an X-ray in London in time to join the car on Madeira Drive.

Although definitely not a race, first in this year was Mike Timms’ 1898 Panhard-Levassor Americaine, closely followed by Johnny Thomas’ 1902 GB Napier. HRH Prince Michael of Kent, on own experienced clutch and engine problems, but he arrived to applause, his passenger the Chairman of the RAC. Of 407 starters, 365 finished the run.

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