More than 350 veterans brave torrential rain to make it to Brighton

| 6 Nov 2012

First to finish this year's London to Brighton Veteran Car Run was the 1899 Panhard et Levassor of Ian Moore from New Milton, Hampshire (above).

Having set off from Hyde Park in torrential rain – along with 448 other pre-1905 veteran cars, starting at 7am – Moore arrived at the gantry on Madeira Drive at 10.21am some six hours ahead of the final official finisher, the 1901 De Dion Bouton of Australian entrant Derek Payne (below).

Payne experienced a host of mechanical problems en route, but remained upbeat. He said: "This is the first time I have ever driven a veteran car, the vehicle belongs to my boss. 

"You really have to get use to the brakes and steering, it takes a great deal of concentration managing the car and battling the weather.

"We’ll be sending her back to Aus, will fix her up, and return again next year, but for now I can’t wait for warm drink a nice hot bath."

Payne's epic still bettered some 77 cars that failed to make the finish, but the most remarkable entrants were the five that only qualified to take part having bought an eligible car at Bonhams' record-breaking pre-event auction two days earlier.

The Brighton Run is increasingly proving a draw for celebrities and well-known faces lining up this year included television adventurer Charley Boorman, Coronation Street actor Tony Hirst, Land Speed Record holder Wing Commander Andy Green and F1 aces Jochen Mass and Sir Stirling Moss OBE, as well as LBVCR regular Nick Mason. 

Mason – who has taken part every year since 1985 and only failed to finish on two occasions – once again entered his 1901 Panhard et Levassor Roi-des-Belges.

Boorman made his debut on the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run having accepted an invitation to join the Shawe family in their 1904 English Mechanic (above), which was originally built from plans in a magazine. The family has taken part in the run 33 times since 1972, finishing on 30 occasions.

Another personality on the event was Joy Rainey, who was using the 60-mile event as a warm-up for her planned 2826-mile trip across the USA in her 109-year-old Oldsmobile.

One of the most interesting aspects of the 2013 LBVCR was a head-to-head showdown between ultramarathon runner Duncan Philips and Dan Suskin.

Philips ran from London to Brighton as part of a bet with the American who was driving his 1902 Delahaye. Their wager was for the last person to cross the finish line was to by the ice creams. 

The pair arrived neck and neck at the finish line at 12.36pm to be presented not only with their finisher's medals, but also ice creams.

More pictures:

Above: Sir Freddie Sowry completes his 50th drive in the London to Brighton Run

Below: Sir Freddie on the event 50 years ago!

Above: long-time supporter and sponsor Sir Ray Tindle crosses the line