Sunday 21 October 2018

Crawley Revved up for its Annual Trip down Memory Lane

As tradition dictates, Crawley High Street will once again be travelling back in time as the time-honoured halfway halt on next month’s running of the world famous Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox.

More than 120 years ago, all those motoring pioneers taking part in the original Emancipation Run in 1896 passed through Crawley’s welcoming town centre as they head south on what then was a very rudimentary A23.

Marking that milestone, on Sunday 4 November more than 400 veteran cars dating back to the dawn of motoring will once again descend on the Sussex town’s historical High Street to take a well-earned breather on their annual pilgrimage from the capital’s Hyde Park to Madeira Drive on the Sussex seaside. 

Once again, the visitor experience in Crawley is supported by the UK’s second largest airport and the most efficient single-runway airport in the world.

With the intrepid crews and their amazing pre-1905 horseless carriages enjoying a short ‘flying visit’ respite before tackling the tricky and steep hills of the South Downs, the notably wide expanses of central Crawley always provide the perfect free-to-view opportunity for thousands of enthusiastic visitors to see all these extraordinary Victorian and Edwardian vehicles up close.

Official partner Gatwick Airport returns with support for participants and spectators alike. The former will be provided with travel sweets and seat cushions to aid their journey down to Brighton, while the latter will be given postcards to exchange for a hot drink in the local La Rusta café located close by in The Martlets. 

Gatwick will also be parking a genuine veteran car on the High Street, thus providing visitors with the chance to get behind the wheel for the perfect photo opportunity.

Gatwick Airport’s Community Engagement Manager, Melanie Wrightson, said: 
“We are proud to be involved in the Veteran Car Run for the third year in a row, in what is sure to be an exciting event for everyone participating and spectating.
“Our sponsorship of the event forms part of Gatwick’s wider community engagement programme as we look forward to meeting with the local community in Crawley.”

Lined with charismatic buildings from bygone eras, Crawley High Street – now by-passed by through traffic – also marks an important stage on the Run as it’s the start of the highly-popular Regularity Time Trial, the only competitive element of the event. Finishing 13 miles away in Burgess Hill, the Regularity Time Trail requires drivers to get as close to a chosen average speed as possible.

The first cars are due to arrive in the High Street at around 8.15am with the last car leaving around 1.45pm. Full information can be found on the official website:

As in recent years, the Bonhams Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox provides a fitting grand finale to the Royal Automobile Club’s busy London Motor Week – during which the Club presents an array of functions and events, a highlight being the free-to-view Illinois Route 66 Regent Street Motor Show, this year held on Saturday 3rd November.

The renowned auctioneer Bonhams will host a special Veteran Car Run sale on the preceding Friday afternoon with an exciting selection of veteran cars and related memorabilia coming under the hammer.

About the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox

With its unique atmosphere and camaraderie, the Bonhams Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox travelling from London to Brighton (staged specifically as a non-profit making veneration) commemorates the Emancipation Run of 14th November 1896, which celebrated the Locomotives on the Highway Act. The Act raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4 to 14 mph and abolished the need for these vehicles to be preceded by a man on foot waving a red flag.

The Emancipation Run was first commemorated in 1897 with a re-enactment following the same route in 1927 and has taken place every November since, apart from the war years and 1947 when petrol was rationed. The Royal Automobile Club has managed the Run with the support of the Veteran Car Club of Great Britain since 1930.

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