London to Brighton Veteran Car and Bus run
DJs Chris Evans and Ken Bruce to drive two vintage buses on next year’s Veteran Car Run to raise money for charity
A remarkable £350,000 was raised for charity in just half an hour as Radio 2 Breakfast Show DJ Chris Evans auctioned a ride on the 2015 Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run (Sunday 1 November 2015).
But it will be a ride with a difference: no fewer than 40 listeners will be driven from London’s Hyde Park to Brighton in a pair of vintage buses… and the chauffeurs will be Evans and his fellow Radio 2 DJ, Ken Bruce.
The auction was raising money for BBC Children in Need. Five top bidders won places for themselves and friends on the two buses – an open topped Napier originally built for the War Department in 1915 or 1916 and which runs on solid tyres, and a 1929 single deck Leyland Lioness Charabanc.
The top bidder, known just as Mike from East Yorkshire, promised £90,000 for himself and 19 friends to ride down to Brighton, while the next four highest bidders will be taking four friends each.
Dubbed ‘40 go bonkers to Brighton’, the auction was the brainchild of Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Veteran Car Run Steering Group Committee.
He said: “Although neither bus complies with the strict rules of the Run, which is for vehicles built in or before 1905, we are making a special exemption for Children in Need.
“I really hope the winners dress in period costume on the day. Getting into the spirit of the Run makes it all the more fun.”
The winners will set off on their adventure at daybreak on Sunday 1 November and follow the exact route taken by the expected 500 veteran cars taking part. Like the competitors, the buses will make a pit stop in Crawley for a Harrods breakfast before continuing on to the finish on Brighton’s Madeira Drive for the traditional chilli and mulled wine in the Bonhams finish line hospitality.
After a chance to see the veteran cars close up and talk to some of the drivers on the Run, the winners will then be whisked away to Chris Evans’s pub, the Mulberry in Chiddingfold, Surrey, by vintage aeroplane for a 1905 lunch prepared by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge. Entertainment will be provided by singer/songwriter Jack Savoretti.
Kerridge told Evans: “This is the best. We’ve already started scouring the cookbooks and playing around the menu. Between now and November next year we will have a two-Michelin star 1905 vintage meal. It’s going to be very special.”
The Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run celebrates the original Emancipation Run, held on 14 November 1896, and which 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 first re-enactment of the Emancipation Run took place in 1927 and has taken place every year since, with the exception of the war years and 1947 when petrol rationing was in force.