Monday 27 March 2017

Vintage cars on marks for rally

Cars will travel at an average speed of between 20mph and 25mph during the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
Cars will travel at an average speed of between 20mph and 25mph during the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run

More than 500 vintage cars are due to take part in the 78th London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

The vehicles will leave Hyde Park just after 7am to travel the 60 miles to the annual event's finish line on Brighton seafront.

The oldest car set to take part is an 1894 Benz Velo which will be driven by the event's youngest driver - 17-year-old Oliver Wright, from Skyreholme near Skipton, North Yorkshire.

Other vehicles making the journey include an 1896 steam Salvesen open cart and a Delahaye limousine dating from 1897.

The rally is not a race and is instead described by organisers the Royal Automobile Club as "an endurance of man and machine".

It will start at sunrise, around 7.02am, and the last car should arrive in Brighton by 4pm.

A quarter of drivers come from overseas, including competitors from America, Australia and China. Organisers expect 26 Germans to take part to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz.

Cathy Metcalfe, one of the event's organisers, said despite the age of the cars it is only "very rarely" that they dropped out before the start. "They usually all start. About 90% of them get to the finish," she said.

The cars will travel at an average speed of between 20mph and 25mph. The most modern vehicles were built in 1904, including a red Cadillac Tonneau. Cars taking part must have three or four wheels and date from before 1905.

The rally commemorates the "Emancipation Run" in November 1896, which celebrated the passing of the Locomotives on Highways Act that raised the speed limit from 4mph to 14mph. It also abolished the requirement for a man to walk in front of the vehicle.

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