London to Brighton events

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Finish line of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, 2005

London to Brighton refers to a variety of races, tours, charity bicycle 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, (depending on the starting point and exact route) 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[edit]

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.

Seafront display of Minis after a London to Brighton drive

London to Brighton Bike Ride[edit]

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 1976,[1] 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 for the British Heart Foundation. 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[edit]

Challenge Cancer is a London to Brighton bike ride to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and Breast Cancer Now and Prostate Cancer UK, with each rider choosing which charity to support. Following a 67-mile route through Central London, over Tower Bridge, and south through Oval, Clapham, Balham, Mitcham, Wallington, Coulsdon, Caterham-on-the-hill, Outwood, Smallfield, Copthorne, Turners Hill, Burgess Hill, Ditchling Beacon and Brighton seafront before finishing at Brighton Racecourse.

All roads were open to other traffic, and a vehicle fire on the Mile End Road delayed a number of riders.

All participants were timed from start to finish line. The published results (which included time spent a rest stops) indicated that nearly 1000 riders took part

Challenge Cancer 2015 was a fund-raising bike ride in the United Kingdom organised by Macmillan Cancer Support, Breakthrough Breast Cancer, Cancer Research UK and Prostate Cancer UK. It expands on the inaugural event of the previous year by adding a second route between Manchester and Leeds. Both routes are described as 60 miles long. A 120-mile "there and back" option is also available on both routes.

Running events[edit]

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 1951 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).[2] The winning time was 8 hours 32 minutes. The race was next planned to be held in 2011. From Piccadilly to Brighton there is a marathon route.

Past winners
Year Time (Men) Men's Champion Country Time (Women) Women's Champion Country
2005 05:50:30 J Oosthuizen  South Africa 07:17:10 V Skelton  England
2004 06:13:59 B Hennessey  England 07:20:43 V Skelton  England
2003 06:24:04 B Hennessey  England 07:02:27 E McCurtin  United States
2002 06:00:57 B Hennessey  England 07:25:07 M Stewart  South Africa
2001 06:42:13 A Kotsybka  Ukraine 08:42:03 L Neville  United Kingdom
2000 05:56:50 S Ackermann  South Africa 07:07:12 D Sanderson  England
1999 06:02:45 S Moore  England 07:42:29 H. Walker  United Kingdom
1998 06:02:17 C.Thomas  South Africa 07:02:26 I.Sanders  South Africa
1997 06:05:32 S.Moore  England 07:05:56 R.Bisschoff  South Africa
1996 06:00:59 G.Dell  England 07:40:13 H.Walker  United Kingdom
1995 05:55:49 S.Akermann  South Africa 07:11:39 L.Turner  United Kingdom
1994 06:01:02 Shaun Meiklejohn  South Africa 07:06:22 J.Leak  United Kingdom
1993 06:07:22 S.Moore  England 06:34:10 Carolyn Hunter-Rowe  United Kingdom
1992 06:01:09 S.Moore  England 07:54:55 D.Vermeulen  South Africa
1991 06:13:56 D.Kelley  England 07:18:09 Carolyn Hunter-Rowe  United Kingdom
1990 05:54:32 D.Beattie  England 06:51:24 H.Walker  England
1989 05:24:48 E Seedhouse  Canada 06:43:22 H.Walker  England
1988 06:06:25 M.Pickard  England 07:07:48 H.Walker  England
1987 05:36:59 P.Sugden  England 07:15:40 H.Johnson  United Kingdom
1986 05:53:10 T.Tullett  United Kingdom 06:42:40 Eleanor Robinson  England
1985 05:31:26 Hoseah Tjale  South Africa 07:02:37 S.Kiddy  United States
1984 05:24:15 B.Heath  England
1983 05:12:32 Bruce Fordyce  South Africa 06:37:08 A.Franklin  Wales
1982 05:18:36 Bruce Fordyce  South Africa 07:01:51 A.Franklin  Wales
1981 05:21:15 Bruce Fordyce  South Africa 07:47:28 L.Fitzgerald  United Kingdom
1980 05:15:15 Ian Thompson (runner)  England 06:56:10 L.Watson  Scotland
1979 05:32:37 A.Kirik  United States 06:55:11 L.Watson  Scotland
1978 05:13:02 D.Ritchie  Scotland
1977 05:16:05 D.Ritchie  Scotland
1976 05:23:32 T.O'Reilly  England
1975 05:12:07 C.Woodward  England
1974 05:16:07 J.Newsome  England
1973 05:11:30 J.Keating  England
1972 05:11:02 A.J. Wood  Scotland
1971 05:21:45 D.Levick  South Africa
1970 05:41:08 J.Clare  Scotland
1969 05:28:53 D.Bagshaw  South Africa
1968 05:37:27 John Tarrant (athlete)  England
1967 05:41:50 John Tarrant (athlete)  England
1966 05:32:50 B.Gomersall  England
1965 05:40:11 B.Gomersall  England
1964 05:39:44 B.Gomersall  England
1963 05:47:55 B.Gomersall  England
1962 05:35:22 J.C. Smith  United Kingdom
1961 05:37:43 J.C. Smith  United Kingdom
1960 05:25:56 Jackie Mekler  South Africa
1959 05:43:58 F.Madel  South Africa
1958 05:47:44 M.I. Kirkwood  United Kingdom
1957 05:26:20 G.Walsh  South Africa
1956 05:36:25 R.F. Hopcroft  United Kingdom
1955 05:27:24 Tom Richards (athlete)  Wales
1954 05:39:46 W.H. Kelly  United Kingdom
1953 05:29:40 Wally Hayward  South Africa
1952 05:52:22 D.E. Reynolds  United Kingdom
1951 06:18:40 L.Piper  United Kingdom
Madeira Drive at the finish of the Historic Commercial Vehicle Run

Motoring events[edit]

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.[3] The London to Brighton Mini Run features a large number of 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 organized 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 club, SotaMINIs (new MINIs) has since merged with the Classic Mini club called MMPE&PSHE (the Mini-sota Minis Pizza Eating & Psychiatric Self-Help Association). The new club is called Minnesota United Minis (M.U.M.) and the tradition of the New London to New Brighton run is still going strong in 2016.[4]

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.

Other events[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Extreme Running London to Brighton Trail Race". Extreme Running. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Largest Parade Of Mini Cars - Record Smashed!". Archived from the original on 3 July 2010. Retrieved 25 February 2010.
  4. ^ "Minnesota United Minis Homepage".

External links[edit]