The 2014 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run will be a glittering affair as not one but two multiple Olympic gold medallists are set to tackle the world’s oldest motoring event.
Sir Steve Redgrave, CBE, winner of five consecutive Olympic golds in rowing from 1984-2000, is the latest sporting knight paying tribute to motoring’s pioneers.
As dawn breaks over Hyde Park on Sunday 2 November, Redgrave’s 1904 Thornycroft will line up alongside Sir Ben Ainslie’s 1904 Panhard-Levassor for the 60-mile run to Brighton.
The Thornycroft, one of just 13 marque survivors and the only example on the Run, spends most of the year on display at the Heritage Motor Museum at Gaydon in Warwickshire but is a regular London to Brighton entrant.
Built in Basingstoke, the 20hp model is powered by a 3.5-litre four-cylinder engine and has an open four-seat tonneau body. It was considered technically advanced for its time.
Redgrave had his first experience behind the wheel at a special test session at Gaydon this week.
“I am really looking forward to doing the Run for the first time,” admitted Redgrave. “Although I know it is not a race, the competitor in me will spur me on to the finish in Brighton.”
As well as his five Olympic golds, Redgrave won a bronze at the 1988 Summer Games making him the third most decorated British Olympian behind Sir Chris Hoy MBE and Sir Bradley Wiggins CBE, both of whom have seven medals.
Since retirement from competitive rowing, Redgrave has devoted much of his time to his charity, the Steve Redgrave Fund, which uses the power and inspiration of sport to bring about positive change in the lives of disadvantaged children, young people and their communities.
The 2014 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run celebrates the original Emancipation Run, held on 14 November 1896, and marked the Locomotives on the Highway Act. This landmark Act raised the speed limit for ‘light locomotives’ from 4 to 14mph and abolished the need for a man walking ahead of the cars waving a red flag.
The Run is the highlight of a long weekend of motoring nostalgia in the capital, much it of it free to view. Other events include the popular free Regent Street Motor Show (Saturday, 1 November) and the annual Bonhams Veteran Car auction (Friday 31 October).
For more details of the Veteran Car Run, the entries and the route visit www.veterancarrun.com.