The weather was less than ideal for the annual London to Brighton Memorial Run and the South Delta Charity Fundraiser in Langley, with heavy rain and wind making it more of a challenge than usual.
One of the organizers, Malcolm Tait, told the Langley Advance Times there had even been a report of snow along the Zero Avenue part of the route, but it had all but disappeared by the time the convoy of classic British cars arrived, some showing at the side of the road.
Held on Sunday November 6, the same day as its namesake rally in England, the British Columbia tribute attracted 43 cars and drivers.
Despite the poor weather, there were only three no-shows among registered vehicles, but there were also five last-minute registrations, Tait reported.
Only one car, a 1924 Vauxhall open cab, had to turn back.
“Given the weather, it was remarkable,” commented Tait, who arrived at Langley Airport in his gleaming red 1970 four-door Rover 2000 TC.
Ian and Doreen Newby from Aldergrove made the trip in a black Jensen Interceptor Mark III, a hand-built 1970s legend known for its clean lines and powerful V-8 engine.
Ian explained that his love of British cars was probably the result of having a Scottish father and an English mother.
“My first car was British,” Newby recalls.
The couple have been making the trip for about 20 years, Newby estimated, with like-minded fans of traditional British vehicles, “going out in some sort of British car and seeing if it will do the whole journey without a problem”.
Son Jensen did very well.
“It went like a train,” he smiles.
In 1896 the British Motor Car Club organized the first London Motor Circuit in Brighton to celebrate legislation increasing the legal speed limit from 4mph to 14mph.
It still continues, taking place every year on the first Sunday in November, starting in Hyde Park in London and traveling 87km to Brighton.
In British Columbia, the Old English Car Club Vancouver Coast branch has been running a celebratory race since 1996, the 100th anniversary of British racing.
For the first 12 years the cruise was called “Ladner to Bellingham Run” with the route connecting these communities.
Due to delays at the border crossing, the route has been changed to stay in the Lower Mainland.
Fees for this year’s BC Tribute Race raised $600, including a club supplement, which was donated to Delta and Surrey Meals on Wheels.
As for the original Race from London to Brighton on the same day, it also endured wet and windy weather, but still attracted over 350 participants, many of whom rode their open-cab vehicles in rain gear.
Unlike the Canadian tribute, which allows British cars of any vintage, the British version is limited to cars made in 1904 or earlier.
More information about the Old English Car Club for British car enthusiasts who preserve, restore and drive British cars can be found online at https://oecc.ca.
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