Nigel Mansell among 500 passing down A23 for Veteran Car Run
A FORMER Formula 1 world champion stepped behind a less hi-tech wheel for this year's London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
Nigel Mansell, who won the title with Williams in 1992, joined more than 500 others passing through South Croydon and Purley en route to Brighton from Hyde Park during the run last weekend.
The A23 was taken over as vintage car drivers dusted off their vehicles to take part in the annual run, which organisers describe as "the world's longest running and greatest motoring celebration".
Bozi Mohacek, chairman of the Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society, joined the crowds on the roadside.
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He said: "We were lucky with the weather, as the majority of veteran cars don't have any weather protection at all.
"Veteran cars are not an easy thing to use, you don't tend to take them out on a regular basis."
Drivers congregated at Aspley Gate in Hyde Park, central London, at the start of the day, before following the route down to Madeira Drive, Brighton, where drivers meet for a gala dinner.
Mingling with modern cars going about their everyday business, the run passes through Westminster and Brixton, into Croydon before reaching Redhill, and following the A23 through Horley and on to Brighton in around three hours.
Celebrities and sportsmen join the drivers, who Mr Mohacek says range from wealthy car collectors to car fanatics.
Mr Mohacek added: "Some cars have three or four drivers because it takes a lot of concentration to drive the car."
A change of route last year means the veteran car run no longer passes through central Croydon.
But the town is still a key signpost for the annual event, with motorists bedding down for pit stops at locations including Christ Church, in Purley.
Kingham's of Croydon kept up a quarter-century old tradition, by serving up more than 1,000 breakfast sandwiches, croissants and freshly brewed coffee to the drivers – including Nigel Mansell.
Owner Keith Kingham said: "It was all great fun and Nigel seemed to enjoy his bacon sarnie.
"He had, however, forgotten a hat and he was a bit cold, so I gave him one of mine."
Kingham's raised about £600 for charity on the day.