ROWING ACE LINES UP FOR BRIGHTON: Olympic rowing veteran Sir Steve Redgrave does a few laps to limber up for driving this 1904 Thornycroft from central London to the English Channel resort of Brighton. Image: Newspress
LONDON, England - The 2014 London-to-Brighton Veteran Car Run will be a more than usually glittering affair: two multi-Olympic gold medallists will be mounted for the world's oldest motoring event.
Sir Steve Redgrave, CBE, winner of five consecutive Olympic golds for rowing from 1984-2000, is the latest sporting knight paying tribute to motoring’s pioneers.
As dawn breaks over Hyde Park in central London on Sunday November 2 Redgrave’s 1904 Thornycroft will line up alongside Sir Ben Ainslie’s 1904 Panhard-Levassor for the almost 100km run to Brighton, a holiday town on the country's pebbly south coast.
The Thornycroft, one of 13 marque survivors and the only example on the L-B Run, spends most of the year on display at the Heritage Motor Museum at Gaydon in Warwickshire, central England, but is a regular London to Brighton entrant.
Built in Basingstoke, the car is powered by a 20hp (16kW) 3.5-litre four-cylinder engine and has an open four-seat tonneau body. It was considered technically advanced for its time; Redgrave had his first experience behind the wheel during a test session at Gaydon early in October, a month ahead of the L-B Run.
“I'm really looking forward to doing the Run for the first time,” Redgrave said. “Although I know it is not a race, the competitor in me will spur me on to the finish in Brighton.”
As well as his five Olympic golds, Redgrave won a bronze at the 1988 Summer Games which made him the third-most decorated British Olympian after Sir Chris Hoy MBE and Sir Bradley Wiggins CBE, both of whom have seven medals.
Since retiring from competitive rowing, Redgrave has devoted much of his time to his charity, the Steve Redgrave Fund, which uses the power and inspiration of sport to bring about positive change in the lives of disadvantaged children, young people and their communities.
The 2014 L-B Run will celebrate the original Emancipation Run, held on November 14 1896, and marked the Locomotives on the Highway Act. This landmark Act raised the speed limit for "light locomotives" from four to 14mph and abolished the requirement that each be led by a man waving a red flag.
The run is the highlight of a long weekend of motoring nostalgia in London, much it of it free to view. Other events will include the popular free Regent Street Motor Show (Saturday, November 1) and a veteran car auction (Friday October 31).
• For more details of the L-B Run, steer to here.