Motorcycling to Brighton


Cars were undoubtedly the stars of the show at the London to Brighton Veteran run on November 3, 2019, but this truly classic event, which began in 1927, inevitably attracts numerous spectators on bikes of all ages too, some of them following at least part of the route for a change of vantage point.

In the last couple of years the Royal Automobile Club, the organisers of the event, have extended an invitation for pre-1905 two-wheelers, cycles and motorcycles, to join as official entries.

While forecars were an early success story, the more conventional motorcycle was still an infant technology, so survivors from that era are not common.

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There were seven motorcycle entries, with one single-cylinder FN a non-starter. The bikes added variety, interspersed among more than 300 cars.

Many of the eligible bikes have made the journey to Brighton on previous occasions, featuring in the Sunbeam MCC’s Pioneer Run.

Martin Hall at the controls of his 1904 Rexette. His passenger looks a little less comfortable, but they managed to finish.

Jonathan Hill had the use of Vintage MCC’s well-known and well-travelled 1903 Dreadnought.

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Alan Williams looked as venerable as his 1904 Kerry, while Ken Lee gave his 1904 James H. Smith another outing to the seaside.

Too late for inclusion in the programme, the unique Slinger was also spotted. A cycle-style machine, this one-off replaced the conventional front wheel with two wheels, ‘fore and aft’ driven by a De Dion engine.

An unusual concept, but, as noted, powered two-wheelers were still new technology.

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All six motorcycles were classified as finishers – as were the bicycles!

Alan Turner.

View more images of this event and read more News and Features in the February 2020 issue of The Classic Motorcycle – on sale now!

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