Article provided by Phil Webb
Sunday 3rd November 2019 saw our first visit to the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Sadly we didn’t fill the coach but 35 intrepid members prepared to brave the forecast inclement weather. We need not have worried, the weather was wonderful with the rain only appearing whilst we were on the coach, as we alighted the sun came out – it was all down to careful planning!
Our first stop was at Hassocks Garden Centre where we enjoyed a hearty breakfast before most of us went to view the veteran cars……. I say most of us, because several of the ladies (led I’m told by Julie Cowmeadow ) stayed in the Garden Centre perusing the extensive displays – Julie did suggest we have another trip to the same Garden Centre and ignore the cars – philistine!
Many of us took the short half mile walk to Clayton Hill where we were within 2-3 feet of the cars as they struggled up the incline. Some didn’t quite make it and passengers were ejected to lighten the load, running up the hill or giving a push where necessary. Several intrepid cyclists on Penny Farthings struggled up the hill but few actually reached the summit under pedal power.
There was an enormous range of cars, mainly fuelled by petrol but some still running on steam, most of the manufacturers of these early cars have disappeared, but there were several large Mercedes showing off their power as they overtook the smaller cars on the hill.
Around 1.30 pm we re-boarded the coach and drove into Brighton alighting on Marine Drive (just above the finish line). Here we could see the cars close up and see the drivers and their passengers celebrating their arrival. Champagne flowed – sadly not for us – we made do with fish and chips under the arches. At 4.30 pm we boarded the coach for a leisurely drive home – listening to the comments it was clear that everyone had enjoyed themselves, for most this was their first visit.