Rain fails to dampen veteran car run

In true British tradition, weather was the defining factor of this year’s London to Brighton run. Despite torrential rain for most of the day, 375 of the 484 starters reached Madeira Drive by 4.30pm to claim a finisher’s medal.

First across the line on the November 1 event was 22-year-old Canadian John Brooks in his 1902 Oldsmobile Curved Dash. This year was John’s 17th time on the run, though not always as a driver! The youngest finisher, complete with L plates, was Rowan Lawson in a 1902 MMC; the most senior finisher was 85-year-old Sir Freddie Sowrey in his 1901 Darracq.

Drivers and riders reported less traffic as being the only benefit of the rain. This meant fewer delays and an easier run through the many towns and villages on route. There was still a good turnout of spectators offering encouragement and the sun did eventually appear in time to welcome the final few finishers across the line.

The London to Brighton started life as the Emancipation Run in 1896 as a celebration of the lifting of the 1865 and 1878 Locomotive Acts. This increased the maximum speed from 4mph to 14mph and removed the need for cars to be preceded by a pedestrian to warn other road users. Keith Mainland