The Royal Automobile Club is hosting the world’s oldest motoring event, the annual London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, on Sunday 4 November. While every one of the 550 participants is a car enthusiast and can relate many interesting motoring adventures, Joy Rainey does rather stand out. A person of restricted growth, Joy has a very varied motor sport career.

Joy Rainey in her 109-year old Oldsmobile

She campaigned a Jaguar E-type in speed hill climbs before progressing to a 2.3-litre single-seater – breaking several records along the way. She took part in the London to Sydney Marathon in 2004 (in a Morris Minor) and the 5,000-mile Carrera Sudamericana two years later – in a V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee converted to run on LPG.

London to Brighton

She first took part in the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run in 2001 in a 1901 Clément Voiturette lent to her by Haynes Motor Museum. The car didn’t make it to Brighton but for the 2006 event Joy returned with 1904 Oldsmobile Curved Dash Runabout from the USA, which she bought by selling her single-seater hill climb car. She says: “An invitation to a pub lunch and a viewing of the veteran resulted in me arriving home complete with the back axle and mangled gears and a decision to sell my 400bhp single-seater racing car and take on a 7hp 1904 Oldsmobile.”

The Oldsmobile has taken Joy to the finish of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run on several occasions – a feat she is hoping it will repeat in 2012. This year’s Run will be a 60-mile warm-up for an even longer venture as Joy plans to drive her 109-year old Oldsmobile 2,826 miles across the USA next year. On 14 April 2013, she will leave Los Angeles to drive coast to coast across America to raise funds for Cancer Research UK. For many years, Joy’s partner and co-driver in long distance rallies was Trevor Hulks. Sadly, he passed away in 2010. Joy says: “A few months after Trevor’s untimely death I was contacted by Gary Hoonsbeen of the CDO Club in the USA who gently suggested that at some time in the future I might consider undertaking the trip myself as a tribute to Trevor. My reply was something like, ‘I never say never’, but in my heart then, I did not think that I could take on such a challenging trip without my soul mate.

“Now, after considerable soul-searching and encouragement from old and new friends, I have decided that this challenge feels like unfinished business. Therefore on 14th April next year I will start my coast-to-coast USA trip from Los Angeles and drive to Daytona Beach arriving on the 15th May in my 109-year-old Curved Dash Oldsmobile. And I would like to raise £20,000 for Cancer Research.”

On the trip across America the Oldsmobile will encounter an enormous range of conditions, from 6,500-foot high mountains to blisteringly hot deserts. One hundred and sixteen years since it was first run, this year’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run will feature a maximum entry of 550 pre-1905 vehicles making their way from Hyde Park in London to Madeira Drive, Brighton. The event is part of a weekend Celebration of Motoring that includes the Future Car Challenge (for low energy use vehicles) and the Regent Street Motor Show (celebrating the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries of motoring).