80th London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 6th November 2010


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Each spring it’s been a tradition to support the veteran bikes as they start the Epsom to Brighton run, but I have never yet managed to see the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run which is held in the autumn. And this is despite “Genevieve” being one of my mum’s favourite films.

So with this year being the 80th Anniversary of the renewed run I decided to be organised and find out when it is on and where are the best view points.

Now living in Dorking the Coffee stop at Crawley seemed a good idea, and we decided on using the bike but it still meant a silly early start.

The night before was Bonfire night and very wet and windy in the small hours, so we awake to fog and mist, the freezing damp cold that follows such a storm and roads covered in puddles, leaves and debris oh this was going to be fun. But still a great reason to get out on the bike.

Taking the safer main roads down to Crawley we arrived to see the early arrivals on the run. Wonderful old machines that clunk hiss and steam their way along the road, the steam cars like dragons as the steam surrounds them in the cold air, the are drivers as full of character as the actual vehicles. Some vehicles pristine with the brass and metalwork glinting in the sunlight, as the autumnal watery sun eventually forced its way through the mist and grey skies. Others were looking as though they would only make a few yards before they would fall apart (I love these) There were all manner of seating styles, steering devices and wheel combinations. One of my favourites, for pure quirkiness being the one which looked like a bathtub you sat sideways in to drive and has wheels in a diamond shape.

Interspersed between the cars were several Tricars and even folk on penny farthings all looked cold very cold!

Eventually the cold even got to us; note to self, I really must put the liner into the jacket, and even the warmth of a coffee and bacon roll could not help regain real warmth. And so we wandered back and headed back down the now safer country lanes with the smoke of some bonfires still creating that wonderful aroma.

It was a brill ian t way to spend a morning, but unless the day looks like a warm (ha ha) this one will be the last ride for Jane as a pillion until the spring next year when things warm up a bit.

Its now time to hibernate a bit and enjoy the camaraderie of winter parties

Ian “Bosun”