On Sunday 6 November, almost 400 pioneering veteran cars took part in the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox, which saw thousands of spectators cheer on the participants and their pre-1905 cars in brilliant sunshine.
Eddie Jordan, ex-Formula 1 team owner and a first-time London to Brighton participant, performed the ceremonial tearing of the red flag at dawn in Hyde Park, before the cars set off past Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and over Westminster Bridge at the start of their 60-mile journey to the coast.
The Harrods Stop at Honda Gatwick provided well-earned warm refreshments for participants before Crawley High Street, where spectators gathered to view the cars, and 180 entrants commenced the Chopard Regularity Time Trial, covering 13 miles between Crawley and Burgess Hill. The winner was Wolfgang Presinger in a 1904 Covert, covering the 13 miles at an average speed of 8.05mph compared to his 8 mph target.
In total 351 of the 392 starters made it to Brighton before the 4.30pm deadline to claim a coveted finishers’ medal. The first car to cross the finish line was the 1903 racing Mercedes driven by Chris Scott from Jersey, which arrived on Madeira Drive shortly after 10.00am.
Joining the Chairman, Tom Purves, in the Club’s 1901 Mors were the winners of the Veteran Car Run VIP Experience competition. After spending an evening of full hospitality at Pall Mall with Club Secretary, Miles Wade, they gathered in Hyde Park early Sunday morning to begin the Run. It was an unforgettable and truly fantastic day for all four winners, who had never experienced anything like the atmosphere of the Run. We suspect we might just see them back again next year.
Motoring Secretary, Peter Foubister, was joined by Lindsey Russell and the film crew behind the long-running Blue Peter children’s television show. Not only did they manage to capture some brilliant footage of the Run for an upcoming episode (despite the car breaking down multiple times along the way) but Peter is now the very proud owner of a famous Blue Peter Badge.
BBC Radio 2 DJs Ken Bruce and Chris Evans and BBC One Show host Alex Jones also took part in the run, driving vintage buses full of passengers who paid for their ride of a lifetime by jointly raising more than £180,000 for BBC Children in Need. They were joined by BBC Breakfast weather reporter Carol Kirkwood and Strictly Come Dancing stars Kevin and Karen Clifton.
Peter Read, Chairman of the Motoring Committee, said: ‘Once again this remarkable event – the world’s largest gathering of veteran cars and the globe’s biggest free-to-view motoring event – was a huge success, a fitting tribute to the men and machines who first put the world on wheels’.
Eddie Jordan called it a ‘fabulous experience’, sharing that ‘it surpassed all my expectations ten fold’. He went on to say that ‘This equals the best day I’ve ever had in F1. You can’t describe it. Everybody should make the effort to come out and see the Run, or try to participate if they can’.
The event concluded this year’s highly successful London Motor Week, which has featured a host of motoring events and exclusive opportunities for members across the Club.
The week commenced on Monday 31 October with the opening of the Art of Motoring Exhibition, bringing together 15 renowned artists working in motoring, and the Royal College of Art Vehicle Design Evening showcasing the work of talented first-year Vehicle Design students from the Royal College of Art. On Tuesday 1 November the Club hosted the Motoring Lectures, featuring some of the finest experts in the field of motoring and motor sport together to share their unique experiences. In the evening members and guests attended the London Motor Week Dinner with Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer presenting and answering members’ questions.
On Wednesday 2 November the Club presented the 2016 Dewar Trophy and Simms Medal to Gordon Murray Design and Riversimple for outstanding contributions to motoring innovation. The Motoring Book of the Year presentations also took place on Wednesday, with the award going to Brian Redman for Daring Drivers, Deadly Tracks and a specialist book award was also given to Jonathan Wood for Squire: The Man, the Car, the Heritage. The Motoring Forum on Thursday 3 November proved to be once again a highlight event, with a range of guest speakers offering fascinating insights, and the much-loved motoring quiz topping off a successful day.
The annual Regent Street Motor Show took place on Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of visitors attending this free event celebrating the history and future of motoring.
Photo galleries of all the main events are available on the Club website, so if you visited the Pall Mall clubhouse during the week then make sure you have a look. We apologise for the technical issues experienced by those trying to access the live stream and a full recording is now available to watch on the Club’s YouTube channel