The Start
A man walked by holding high a large white board that read “5 minutes” and instantly engines were firing all around us. There was the smell of oil and exhaust; of gasoline and hot metal; of leather and grease – the memorable and evocative perfume of the London-to-Brighton Run.

It’s a big step up into the rear seat of an ’03 Darracq… and quite a narrow step that’s provided to assist you. I’m pretty sure I missed the step on my first try, but I’m also pretty sure no one noticed. My second attempt was more successful.
We pulled out and Bill drove up to the start. Two gentlemen were providing running commentary over a public address system – making observations about the cars as well as value judgments about the clothing worn by the occupants.
We were seen off by hundreds of people… cheering, taking photos and videos… and – mostly – waving.

Mary turned back to me just as we swung through Hyde Park Corner.
“One of the rules is you have to wave.” You could tell from the sound of her voice… Mary meant business.
“Yes, ma’am,” I responded, putting my hand into the air, where it remained more or less constantly until we reached Brighton. Mary later told me that those who participate in the run consider waving to the people en route “…something we can do to thank them for their support.”
Waving is no idle gesture. Those who do the Run year after year have genuine affection and appreciation for the people who come out to see them. In the 1950’s, when “Genevieve” was made, people came out to see cars they remembered driving… or remembered their parents driving. Now, it’s a different crowd – people who come out because their fond memories are of previous London-to-Brighton runs. There were many young children who waved… and these enthralled faces represent the future of the run.

I got quite good in my waving. I was in perfect position to be the “tail-gunner,” swiveling to wave at anyone that Bill and Mary might have missed… which was a small number indeed.
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