Wilfred and Tamara Mole were the guests of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu in the UK for this year's event. The Sandstone team had the privilege of driving a 1903 De Dion Bouton car that had been resident at the Beaulieu Estate since it was new. It is a very cherished and much loved icon within this magnificent car collection. After a trial run on Wednesday before the event through the New Forest in beautiful sunny weather the day of the event dawned. Skies were grey when the cars assembled along the Serpentine in Hyde Park at 06h30. Shortly after 07h00 we were off and for the first hour or so the rain stayed away. We whipped along in merry fashion through Westminster, past Buckingham Palace, and then out into the London suburbs. By the time we got to Croydon we weren't being subjected to just rain; we were being subjected to rain and weather of almost hurricane like proportions. It came down in bucket loads and we reconciled ourselves to the fact that we were going to be soaked for the rest of the trip.
Apart from some minor issues the car performed magnificently. This is a 6 hp, 500 cc car with two speeds. However, this little car had great spirit which is a testament to the fine French automotive engineering of the time.
By the time we reached Crawley the weather was starting to improve and shortly thereafter it stopped raining and the last hour and a half of the run through open countryside to Brighton was a delight. Unfortunately due to the fact that we were so wet we could not linger in Brighton for the celebrations.
Although the weather was inclement and apparently one of the worse days in the history of the run in terms of disagreeable weather conditions, we felt that it was a wonderful challenge and it was very satisfying to have completed the run in fine style.
Our sincere thanks to Doug Hill, Ian Stanfield and the fine team at Beaulieu for all their support and for ensuring that at no stage was any detail left unattended to.
Finally, we would like to thank Ralph Montagu, a great friend of Sandstone's, for the invitation. We have been able to host Ralph to Sandstone on quite a number of occasions and we were delighted to be able to accept his invitation to participate in this wonderful event. From the Sandstone standpoint it is an outstanding example of close cooperation between likeminded Preservation groups and is an example of living Preservation at its best.
Waiting for the starting signal at Hyde Park
At the start
London at dawn
Lovely Autumn conditions before the rain
Note the Penny Farthing
In the thick of it in London
Left to right: Peter Lemmey, Wilfred Mole, Tamara Webster, and Ralph Montagu who graciously gave us the opportunity to drive in the event
Guess who was in the car alongside us - STIRLING MOSS!
On the road
At Pease Pottage Services – weather conditions are looking up
On the seafront at Brighton – wet but unbowed.