Documentary on One

London to Brighton - at 10MPH

The longest-running motor event in the world and the largest gathering of vintage cars takes place each November in London, starting at Hyde Park and travelling the A23 road to finish at Brighton. Travelling at 10mph can these veterans last the journey?

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London to Brighton - at 10MPH

In 1982, presenter Donncha Ó Dúlaing travelled to the city of London to take part in the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Rally with Irish competitor and driver, Osmond Bennett.

The race, which is the longest-running motor event in the world, starts at Hyde Park and makes its way along the city's famous streets and boroughs before finishing in Brighton. As Donncha passes by the major landmarks in the city, he is reminded of the wealth of literature that has been written about the capital over the centuries.  

To qualify for this event, which has been running since 1886, the competitor's vehicle must have been build before 1905. This means that the rally brings out cars of all different shapes and sizes with varying limitations and abilities. The rally is different from traditional races as there is no prize for first, second or third over the line, instead the objective is to complete the race before 4.30pm without exceeding the average speed of 20 mph. 

The competitors are cheered on by tea drinking locals who line the streets waving flags encouraging the drivers as they splutter and chug their way along the old A23 route towards their final destination. The spectators can expect a visual treat as the rally is the largest gathering of veteran cars in the world. 

There are two pit stops along the route where the participants can warm the bones with a warm beverage, meet with fellow competitors, and give the old cars a much-needed rest and once over. 

The old motors are tested to the limit and many of them are not able to complete the distance of 54 miles, one of the challenges of this race is to keep the car going for the whole journey. The cold wet London weather throws up some more obstacles for these veteran vehicles to overcome. A mechanical mind is an advantage to your team as they are plenty of unwanted stops along the route.

Will Donncha's team make it to the finish line?  

Produced by Maxwell Sweeney and presented by Donncha Ó Dúlaing. (First broadcast on the 29th of November 1982)

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