In the first of what we hope is many of his interesting industry related rambles, Dr Ian Pogson shares his experiences of his recent invitation to take part in that world famous car related capers…
The London to Brighton Rally.
The reason I managed to compete in this historic Run is that the chap for whom I travail and am paid (yes, he pays me!!) offered me a seat when someone dropped out. It was very plain from the faces of a minority of people that we passed by, were thinking something like “Oh, look at them silly sods – rich men doing rich men things!” Thankfully, most other people who stood in the rain, under trees or shop door-ways, huddled under gazebos were really happy to see our cars more than us, but nonetheless, the London Boroughs and villages of the South Downs gathered, some in period dress, to watch the spectacle. Whole village greens were alive with supporters, despite the biblical rain.
I am just a kid from the Fylde, Lancashire. Somehow, with help from something greater than me, I married a Lancashire Rose and that has given me more joy than most people ever know and then we had three wonderful children. Much joy in the Pogson camp. Therefore, my “bucket list” includes attainable things to do (see Indian tigers, experience a taxi-ride in an Avro Lancaster) or visit places like Hawaii and Kent.
Never, ever, ever, did I think that I would take part in the annual London to Brighton Run, held every year since 1896 to celebrate the repeal of the rather silly “Red Flag” Act. It is the longest -running motoring event anywhere in the world.
The car that we drove is a star exhibit at the BMM at Gaydon – a 1902 8hp Albion two – cylinder. There is no way that I would have thought that a 120-year-old car would make it, especially in that weather. There is no way that I would allow my 120-year-old car out in such a climate! We had a training session in the autumn sunshine at the BMM, who fielded seven cars from their collection. Our car’s top speed was 15mph, which is very fast downhill, on solid tyres with artillery wheels, vestigial brakes and total-loss coolant and lubrication. There were aged slugs with Zimmer frames passing us going up hills, but we made it!
With the spirit of my late Father sat on my wet shoulder (the rain barely stopped and was face-stingingly hard at many points) and Chris Bayliss of Ludford near Ludlow by my side, we piloted the indefatigable 1902 Albion 8hp, two-speed, horizontally-opposed 2,080cc twin “dog-cart” from Hyde Park. We started in the dark at 07:20 ending at Madeira Drive in stair-rod rain (until after we had finished at 14:15!) That Albion was a credit to its makers in Scounstown, Glasgow 120 years ago and the pair of Magic Martins at BMM Gaydon (British Motor Museum).
Many, many thanks for the utter privilege of driving such a tool in such a race to Ian Mulingani, MD of Young Driver UK and the good people at the BMM, too many to mention.
Affection also to the brave, wet, souls who cheered and clapped, waved flags, rang bells, parped horns and had parties along the way. Thanks to the masses of wet marshals across the whole route and the Christ Church people at the first stop in Purley (famous place).
A proper British event.