Crawley prepares for an invasion of veterans High Street halfway halt allows visitors to see 450 pioneering cars up close… and there’s a free hot drink promised for all
Coffee, croissants and cars will be on offer in Crawley High Street next Sunday morning (5th November) as more than 450 veteran cars, all built before 1905, take a well-earned pause before heading onto the finish of the annual Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, supported by Hiscox.
Crawley marks the halfway point between Hyde Park and Madeira Drive and is an ideal spot for motoring’s pioneers – and their crews – to take a breather before tackling some of the tricky and steep hills ahead.
It also gives thousands of enthusiastic visitors a chance to see the cars up close as they set off on the second half of the Run.
As in previous years, Harrods, who are proud to again be an official partner of this year’s event, have transformed the Honda Gatwick dealership in Crawley into a Harrods ‘Pit Stop’ to mark the run’s half way point. The Knightsbridge store’s iconic Green Men will be on hand to welcome participants, who will be invited to enjoy a full service of refreshments, straight from the Harrods food halls – whilst being entertained in true Harrods style.
James Healy, Harrods Director of Store Operations, who himself takes part in the run each year, said: “The Run is a great opportunity to celebrate veteran vehicles in the UK and, for us at Harrods, to celebrate our history as a store. Harrods has been serving customers across London for more than 160 years, and it’s fantastic to have our veteran vehicles back on the open road.”
The Harrods Pit Stop is opening to participants only, so the next stop for the cars is nearby Crawley High Street. Here, Crawley County Council has organised spectator viewing points and a full PA system will broadcast live interviews with participants before they set off again.
Official partner Gatwick Airport is supporting activities for participants and spectators alike on the High Street. Participants will be given travel blankets with the chance to win a spot prize hidden in three of the blankets. Prizes up for grabs include a complimentary entry into the 2018 Run, a case of Hattingley Valley English Sparkling wine and a luxury Harrods hamper.
Spectators, meanwhile, will be given postcards to exchange for a hot drink in several local cafés while a genuine veteran car will be parked on the High Street providing visitors with the chance to get behind the wheel for the perfect photo opportunity.
Gatwick Airport’s Community Engagement Manager, Melanie Wrightson, said: “We are proud to be involved in the Veteran Car Run for the second year in a row, in what is sure to be an exciting event for everyone participating and spectating.
“Our sponsorship of the event forms part of Gatwick’s wider community engagement programme and we look forward to meeting with the local community in Crawley.”
Crawley High Street also marks an important stage on the Run as it’s the start of the Chopard Regularity Time Trial, the only competitive element of the event. Finishing 13 miles away in Burgess Hill, the Regularity Time Trail requires drivers to get as close to a chosen average speed as possible with a Chopard Mille Miglia Chronograph, worth £4,950, awaiting the Trial winner.
The first cars are due to arrive in the High Street at 8.15am with the last car leaving around 1.45pm.
The Veteran Car Run is organised by the Royal Automobile Club and is the final act in the Club’s annual London Motor Week – seven days filled with an array of functions and events to suit all motoring tastes.
This year, London Motor Week includes an annual Art of Motoring exhibition, Motoring Lectures, a Motoring Forum, a Bonhams Veteran Car Auction, a dinner with FIA President Jean Todt and the Dewar and Simms Trophy presentations, awarded for British engineering excellence.
The week culminates with the free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show on Saturday 4th November and the world-famous Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox on Sunday 5th November. Some events are open to the public while others are invitation only.