The Armstrong Siddeley Car Club

London to Brighton Veteran Run

It was wet, very wet!

We were cold and we were soaked, and as spectators, we were under umbrellas.

Accepting Ann and Andy Blatchfords offer to accompany them to the UK to see the annual London to Brighton Veteran Run had seemed like a good idea at the time; but now I was not quite so sure if I had made such a good decision.

Our discomfort aside, spare a thought for two intrepid (if somewhat foolhardy) Club members who left home at 6.45am in the dark and pouring rain, to drive to the start of the event in Hyde Park in a 1904 Siddeley with no roof to cover them from the elements.

On the way to Hyde Park where the road dipped to go under another road, there was two ft. of standing water waiting to greet them.

The Siddeley ploughed (or should we say "sailed") through gallantly, with perhaps just a little cough or two. The occupants remained undaunted, arriving at the start point just as the officials were clearing away the tables - they were all very wet and just wanted to go home!

But Wendy Baxendale and Chris Warner were showing their true British bulldog spirit and commenced on the sixty-mile journey to Brighton passing many less fortunate automobiles that had succumbed to the atrocious weather, flooding on parts of the route and mechanical breakdowns.

The Siddeley persevered through everything the British weather could chuck at it, stopping at the halfway point for coffee (or perhaps it something stronger?). It was here, in a break from the rain, that Chris noticed the steam rising from the leather seats as they left the car! After wringing out gloves and any other article of apparel that would not cause offence to the watching spectators, entrants were welcomed in to The George for some light refreshment.

Meanwhile, our erstwhile Siddeley had time to dry out a little, and the second half of the journey was altogether more comfortable for Wendy and Chris; notwithstanding the fact that even their under-clothing was still somewhat damp!

Our heroic trio reached Brighton to enjoy a warm reception from both the public and the weather. After joining up with the occupants of their support vehicle (Mike and Cicely Darley and Margaret Constant, all having chosen to ride in a modern, warm, dry car) dinner and a good night's sleep was well earned.

The following morning it was back in the car to drive back to Surrey, this time on a lovely late autumnal day when driving in an open vehicle could really be appreciated.

It is interesting to note that of the 516 entrants, 449 started and after the aforementioned breakdowns etc, only 372 vehicles crossed the finishing line.

Our warmest congratulations to Wendy and Chris and to Wendy's 1904 Siddeley.


At the subsequent UK Club's Christmas dinner, a fun comment and a totally appropriate gift was made to Wendy & Chris by the after dinner speaker David Welch (aka The Sphinx).

See you all at my next club outing......

The Armstrong Siddeley Car Club
Armstrong Siddeley Car Club The Court House 325 High Street Learmonth VIC 3352
Phone Cameron Wright, President, 0408 595 461
ACN 001 059 212
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