The annual “Jaguar World” London to Brighton Run was changed this year to a new destination – Eastbourne. Due to various reasons including, so I hear, the increase in fees of 300% by Brighton Council for the privilege of using Maderia Drive in Brighton. The organisers arranged with Eastbourne Council to use Western Lawns for the event. The road was closed in and around ‘the lawns’ and participants of the run parked up in a great setting looking out to sea. The event started at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich.
Those of us that started off early to arrive at the college were refused entry to the grounds until 8am. So a number of Jaguars were parked up in the side roads around the college. There were no indications that this would be the case on the communications from Jaguar World. What irritated a number of participants was that at 8am – after hearing the local chimes from the college, access was still not being allowed. It wasn’t until 8.05am and my involvement, that the staff at the college let the Jaguars in. Then we were directed to a parking area around a square in front of the ‘Painted Hall’. You can see some of the cars in the picture on the right. There was more grief when the custodians of the college indicated we were not to drive on the grass or on the pavement area in front of the gravel drive. As you can see again from the picture, there was not a lot of room to park up at the angle they wanted, without doing both, particularly for the long wheel base saloons! The event finally began at 9am but for some, ended up getting into a massive traffic jam on the A2 nr Bexleyheath, following an early morning crash. There were some that took evasive action – including yours truly – and diverted off the A2 and headed for the A20. This year, the Route Book included photos of junctions which was far more easier to follow than written text used in previous years. As they say, ‘a picture can paint a thousand words.’ However, it didn’t help some when they missed out a junction out at Lamberhurst! The run down to Eastbourne was, on the whole, picturesque and relaxing. The weather was kind to us too. The route included a stop off at Raystede Animal Sanctuary, nr Ringmer in East Sussex. They rescue animals including dogs, cats, and small animals and find new homes for them. Following this break we headed for Eastbourne, a further 26.4 miles away. We were met at Western Lawns by Phil Weeden, Managing Director of Jaguar World who introduced the cars and drivers to the crowds. We parked up and immediately started the clean up of the car due to early morning rain on the run to Greenwich.
There were a couple of rare converted Jaguars at ‘the Lawns, with folding roofs, including these two, Vicarage produced convertible Mark II and a Cabriolet International XJ6 above. Overall, a good day out. Will I do it again next year? The jury’s out on that one.