PRESS RELEASE 04/11/2014

Crawley Stop Clarification

The decision to move from the High Street location was taken by the event’s organising committee based upon the participants need for more space for both the veteran cars to park and a place to rest and take their well-earned refreshment break in a warm and undercover location, something that had featured heavily in feedback as being a priority for the 2014 Run. Indeed, the manager of The George Hotel in the Crawley High Street acknowledged in an interview on local radio shortly after the decision to move was made that the event had grown too big for the High Street location. In previous years the participants refreshments had been served in the hotel’s restaurant area but, as this area was franchised off to outside catering operations, alternative facilities were arranged. We changed from providing a room at the back of the adjacent pub three years ago to the disused Chinese Restaurant in 2012, to a marquee in The Square last year. The uncertainty over which facility was going to be available and the questionable suitability of those options available to suit the purpose, led us to review what other facilities in Crawley were available to us. We were conscious of the need to stay in Crawley due to the local interest and support that we had previously received.

The Honda dealership in Redhill first became an assist point in 2012 providing mechanical support, toilets for participants and friendly staff on site all willing to help push struggling participants up the hill itself.  It was in 2013 that a sponsorship agreement was put in place for Honda Gatwick & Redhill to become the Official Vehicle Supplier of the event and thus provided the fleet of cars for the event team.  It was after the 2013 Run that an approach was made to Honda Gatwick in consideration of using their Crawley dealership which is located on the same route previously taken by veteran cars into Crawley and some ¾ mile short of the High Street.  This location was judged as able to meet all our requirements in the way of available space, warmth and cover for the participants who have paid to enter the Run and whose pre-1905 cars put on such a spectacular show for all to view free of charge along the 60 mile route from London to Brighton

Within the new location we ensured that a free spectator viewing area was provided over-looking the paddock. This was to be behind crowd barriers as it had always previously been. In the past, the High Street was deemed to be a suitable stopping point but after careful evaluation of its suitability, something we do with the whole route after each Run, we decided to search for an alternative location in order to meet the criteria of providing a more pleasurable experience for the drivers and passengers taking part in the Run. Our decision to move the half way stop to the Honda dealership in Crawley was not done for commercial reasons and in fact it gave their staff the arduous task of removing all their vehicles both inside the dealership and in the forecourt to make way for our veteran cars and their participants.  

We are in the process of reviewing the whole route again this year and will look closely at Crawley. We would welcome constructive solutions from the Council during this process to help us ensure we identify the location that best fits our criteria of benefiting the participants for which the Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run is organised and ensuring that spectators can enjoy the spectacle that is the World’s oldest motoring event


Ben Cussons

Chairman of the Veteran Run Steering Group

Chairman of the motoring committee of the Royal Automobile Club

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