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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2015


Veteran Cars line the Finish, under the Brighton Eye for the last time
Our annual excursion for the London to Brighton Veteran Car run took place last Sunday.
It is one of the very few events that we cover that doesn't involve running of some sort, and we have been covering it since 2004.
For us - the key thing about this is the numbering of the vehicles - they all have numberplates, and also official run numbers - which means the competitors can find themselves within the 31,000 images on the gallery that we took this year !
Out of Hyde Park and under the Waterloo Monument
We also put entrants names against the cataloguing, so if you want to see Chris Evans, Ken Bruce, Alex Jones, or indeed Natalie Lowe from Strictly on a Children in Need bus, then just search on their names - and perhaps if Ross Brawn (F1 motorsport) or Nick Mason (Pink Floyd's drummer) are more your cup of tea - then you'll want to search on their names instead !
Alex Jones from the BBC's One Show drove one of the buses for Children in Need

A team of seven intrepid photographers took to this years foggy route before sunrise from Waterloo Arch at Hyde Park corner, past Buckingham Palace along the Mall, over Westminster Bridge, and then onto Crawley, Slaugham, Hassocks and onto Madeira Drive in Brighton for the finish and the sunshine !

The gallery for all the veteran car photos is live here, you can search by number, name, plate, or make !

  • http://bit.ly/LBVCR-Gallery-2015



  • Date Last Weekend Gallery Link
    Sat-24/10/2015 Beachy Head Marathon and 10k http://bit.ly/Beachy-Head-Marathon-Gallery-2015
    Sun-25/10/2015 Cambridge Town and Gown 10k http://bit.ly/Cambridge-Town-and-Gown-Gallery-2015
    Sun-25/10/2015 PP Water of Life Half Marathon and 10k http://bit.ly/Water-of-Life-2015-Gallery
    .
    Weekend Just gone
    .
    Sun-01/11/2015 London to Brighton Veteran Car Run http://bit.ly/LBVCR-Gallery-2015
    .
    Next Weeks Races
    .
    Sat-07/11/2015 The Poppy Half, Bexhill http://bit.ly/Poppy_Half_Official_Photos_2015
    Sun-08/11/2015 PP Grand Union Half http://bit.ly/PP-GrandUnion-Half-2015-gallery
    Sat-14/11/2015 Brutal Long Valley http://bit.ly/Brutal-LongValley-2015-Gallery
    Sun-15/11/2015 B2TT - Back to the Trenches http://bit.ly/B2TT-Race4-Gallery-2015
    Sun-15/11/2015 THE Brighton 10k http://bit.ly/Brighton-10k-Gallery-2015


    The veteran car run is very different to the normal events we cover. It attracts a large public crowd of fascinated onlookers who watch for a few moments in the general areas, and army of dedicated viewers who book the first Sunday of November as an annual pilgrimage with picnic and chairs for their favourite roadside spot near the A23 - whatever the weather - and sometimes - that can almost be as bad as it is for the Beachy Head marathon ! Either way it is a very very different demographic compared to the normal runners we usually see.

    Since 2008 we have observed the number of participants making it to the finish line has dropped steadily from around 500 to only 340 this year. The changing of the guard to a new organisation company, the traditional sponsorship from Tindals Newspapers that sadly lapsed once Sir Ray decided not to participate any more has clearly had an impact. Lord Montague passing in August is also another of the old guard who's support of the run will also be missed. Change is coming, weather we like it or not.
    On the way to the Hospitality on the seafront after finishing

    From a strategic and sponsorship perspective it is difficult to work out how the run can continue if the numbers continue to drop - because the current sponsors all generate their sponsorship from the entrants. This years headline sponsors Bonhams the auctioneers being a perfect example - generating their sponsorship from the sales of the old cars - whilst Tindals Newspapers used to generate their sponsorship externally to the entrants - from their readership. The number of volunteers on the project can't really increase beyond the several thousand already on it to help and assist with the event, and legislation for road and traffic management only increases the costs each year.
     
    The fantastic volunteer marshals manning the Official Finish, where paperwork is completed and medals are given out
    Perhaps the RAC Breakdown are the only sponsoring company that might be generating funds from non-participants on the day, but strategically the sponsorship model currently targeted doesn't add up. I would have thought the Sat Nav and location tracking companies of this world would have some interest in using the event as a technology promotion - instead of the official checkpoints just using a bingo sheet to cross cars off as they pass a certain location - live tracking of entrants on the route, interactive internet, perhaps even live "periscope" broadcasts from some of the entries themselves, which in turn could be sponsored by the mobile network providers to show off how good their 4G coverage is along one of the main commuter routes in the country ? Use technology to support and promote the run - and reach the world, not just the residents along the route. The original run was of course originally a demonstration and celebration of technological progress !

    Alas I feel this is all too far into the future and visionary. When we regularly work at hundreds of races in an environment where finishers results are instantly being posted to the internet (for insurance purposes the VCR is an endurance event, not a race!) and we have the ability to post images from an event live to peoples facebook pages using Pic2go.co.uk , whilst the nostalgia of the old ways is nice, it doesn't bring in and engage a new worldwide audience and secure the run's future in the new economy, it still relies on a few individuals bankrolling the day and if you are a fan of Downton Abbey you will know that way has never lasted forever. 
    Anyway, that's my MBA's Strategy tuppence - here's some more photos - much more fun!

    Off Past Buckingham Palace, It's there somewhere, honest.

    Over Westminster Bridge, and the Houses of Parliament in the Pea Soup. Almost Dickensian..

    Just about 8:10am, over an hour later after the start and as the last ones come through - yes, now the fog lifts

    Approaching Hammer hill, and the fog was still around

    Having a steam car in front didn't help on the visibility much

    Passenger gone, and things went a lot faster

    The route back through Crawley High Street was warmly welcomed

    Ross Brawn driving through Crawley onto the checkpoint

    This car is over 110 years old and still going strong

    Vintage bikes with small extra people on the back

    Soft teddy mascots provide the ultimate in safety cushioning. There is nothing else.

    That one sign in Crawley they all looked for
    Sometimes people don't make it up Hammer Hill

    Multiple Pudsey Bears on the buses for Children in Need

    Ken Bruce drives into Madeira Drive

    Natalie Lowe from Strictly shows off the finer points of the front end of a bus

    Alex Jones from The One Show arrived safely into Madeira Drive

    Alex gives a quick wave to the crowds after parking up


    Posing for the press is hungry work

    Chris gets in the first bite on the microphone sponge

    Natalie also had a bite of the mic

    The Lodge's bus in all it's open sided splendour. Lucky on the weather !

    The Mayor got a bit starstruck

    This year is the last chance to see this view

    Standard finish line action with Nick Mason of Pink Floyd

    Ross Brawn explains why his car broke down to Lewis at the finish line

    Taking in the views is relaxing stuff - on the right day

    It's not Titanic, that was 1912, these cars were 1904 max.

    yes, I do make a good photographic subject from a moving car

    Well, yes, Hello and welcome to Brighton.

    Kermit made it all the way this year

    Checkout car 43 and the rear passengers. Not quite sure what's going on there on this US entry.

    The afternoon glow in the setting sun was lovely, alas I was just too far away from the beer and chips, working.

    Get the balloon and mind the seagulls

    Don't drink and rive, you will spill it.

    Ron "Manager" Clark gives it a helping shove

    Bring your own fog machine if you want !

    Family days out for generations to come

    With the ironworks condemned, the hospitality configuration wasn't quite the same

    Regent Street car of the day enjoyed their Blue Ribband

    Brighton in the sun, and the new i360 post in the background

    Everyone enjoys a day out in good weather !

    Daniel Ward on number 1 takes the salute from the Crowd as the press capture the moment

     
    So that's it for this weekends escapades, "Seven go to the A23, or somewhere near it" and we look forwards to seeing you either at the Poppy Half, or the Grand Union Canal Half depending on which bit of water you like to run next to !

    Until next time
    Anthony












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