London to Brighton events
London to Brighton refers to a variety of races, tours, charity rides and rallies that take place between London and Brighton in the United Kingdom.
The route often follows the A23 (and, often, nearby minor roads). The route is full of contrasts, passing through the London suburbs of Westminster, Brixton, Croydon and Purley, past Gatwick Airport, Crawley and then into the countryside of The Weald, crossing the North and South Downs. Ditchling Beacon on the South Downs (near but not part of the A23) is a steep climb followed by a gentle descent for five miles into Brighton, where the route finishes on the promenade by the Kings Road arches. The current London to Brighton Veteran Car Run does not use the route past the Ditchling Beacon but follows the A273 road up Clayton Hill and rejoins the A23 at Pyecombe.
London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
The route was originally popularised by the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run begun in 1927 for cars built before 1904 and re-enacting the original 1896 Emanicipation Run, which was held on 14 November 1896 to celebrate the passing into law of the Light Locomotives Act which raised the speed limit to 14 mph and did away with the need for a person to walk in front of a mechanised vehicle waving a red flag to warn other road users. In 2007 531 cars participated and over ninety percent of them finished the course; in 2008 there were 550, with 126 international entries from as far away as Australia, Canada, USA, Argentina and South Africa.
London to Brighton Bike Ride
Several fundraising bike rides take place between London and Brighton each year. The most famous is the British Heart Foundation event which has taken place each summer since 1980, and in 2014 involved an estimated 30,000 riders. Despite most roads being closed to cars, the number of bikes is such that traffic jams occur, especially at hills. The toughest part of the route is the climb over Ditchling Beacon which once featured in the Le Tour de France; having already cycled some 50 miles (80 km), cyclists must then tackle a 1 mi (1.6 km) climb with an average grade exceeding 1 in 10. Several sections are somewhat steeper, and whilst the fittest will try to cycle up, the vast majority will walk. To date, over 650,0000 riders have taken part and have raised over £40 million so that the BHF can fund pioneering research, patient care and the provision of vital information. In recent years, the BHF have introduced a night ride and an off-road ride. These are on separate dates, and some competitors will ride all three routes in the same year.
Challenge Cancer bike ride
Challenge Cancer is a London to Brighton bike ride to raise funds for three cancer charities; Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and Breakthrough Breast Cancer. It features no road closures but takes place at night when there is little traffic once outside of Central London. The inaugural ride started at 10pm (BST) on 20th September 2014 from the Lee Valley Velodrome in the Queen Elizabeth Park, East London (formerly the London 2012 Olympic Park). The route followed the Mile End road towards the City of London, crossing the River Thames on Tower Bridge, before passing Oval, Clapham, Balham, Mitcham, Wallington, Coulsdon, Caterham-on-the-hill, Outwood, Smallfield, Copthorne, Turners Hill, Burgess Hill, Ditchling and Brighton. The route passed the traditional finishing point of Madeira Drive, and instead turned inland again for a final climb to finish at Brighton Race Course; a total distance of 67 miles.
An ultramarathon running race used to take this route each October, starting on Westminster Bridge in the centre of London, and finishing at The Level in Brighton. This is a distance of 54 miles, 198 yards (87.085 km). The race was organised by the Road Runners Club from 1953 to 2005. However the course had been raced over at least since the early 19th century, and regularly since 1899. In its later years the race was low-key with just over one hundred runners taking part. The fastest would finish in well under 6 hours, whilst there was a time limit of 10 hours after which the course was not marshalled. The race was discontinued after 2005 because of increasing road traffic and difficulties in finding sufficient marshals. In 2010 the ultra-running organisation Extreme Running staged an off-road London to Brighton Trail Race from Blackheath in London to Brighton sea front (56 miles). The winning time was 8 hours 32 minutes. The race was next planned to be held in 2011.
The London to Brighton Mini Run takes place on the 3rd Sunday in May. It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010. In 2009 the event broke the world record for the longest convoy of Minis with a Guinness-verified total of 1450 cars. The London to Brighton, and believed to be the largest one make car show in the world attracting over 2,500 Minis both classic and modern. It is organised by the London & Surrey Mini Owners Club.
In 2005 this tradition was copied in the United States. The SotaMINIs car club organised the New London to New Brighton Run in the state of Minnesota (Mini-sota). Minnesota is the only state in the US that has both a New London and a New Brighton. The distance between the two is exactly twice the distance from London to Brighton. The first year it was attended by 20 MINIs/Minis. It has since doubled in size.
The London to Brighton Land Rover Run is an annual gathering of Land Rover enthusiasts organised by the South London and Surrey Land Rover Club. The event started at Crystal Palace Park until an extension of the London Emissions Zone forced it to move. Since 2012 it has been held at Hook Road Arena in Epsom and the Land Rovers drive down to Madeira Drive in Brighton. The event takes place on or around the first Sunday in October. In 2006, 814 vehicles took part.
Other London to Brighton events include those for MGs, air-cooled Volkswagens, 2CVs, vintage motorcycles, Smart Cars, and vintage commercial vehicles. Most events, especially motoring events, finish at Madeira Drive on the seafront.
- "Extreme Running London to Brighton Trail Race". Extreme Running. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- http://community.guinnessworldrecords.com/_Largest-Parade-of-Mini-Cars-Record-Smashed/blog/408190/7691.html[dead link]
- London to Brighton Veteran Car Run official site
- London to Brighton Mini Run organised by London & Surrey Mini Owners Club
- Extreme Running London to Brighton Trail Race
- London to Brighton Land Rover run
- British Heart Foundation London to Brighton Bike Rides
- Cycle Rides Ltd: Managers of the London to Brighton Bike Ride
- Video of Centenary Year Run 2003