SIMPLY superb — those were the words used by Anthea Cox after her ride in the famous London to Brighton Veteran Car Run last Sunday.
'It was great fun — everyone was waving along the way. It was like being famous!' said Anthea who arrived at the South Coast seated in a 1904 De Dion Bouton.
Anthea, 41, from Buckland Monachorum, was the winner of our Times competition to take part in this celebrated annual event.
Accompanied to London by her husband, David, the couple enjoyed a night in a top hotel — with a view over Kensington Palace.
'We did a quick tour of London to see the lights and even managed a brief visit to Harrods!' said Anthea.
'We visited the RAC Club and sipped champagne. It was very spectacular with all the torches lit up outside.'
But despite the drinks and a splendid meal it was early to bed and early to rise for Anthea who had a 5.30am start.
'I was driven to Hyde Park and there were 400 cars lined up. I found the right section where my car should have been — and it wasn't there!' she recalled.
'There was six minutes to go and my car hadn't arrived! But it got there and we got on board — and it wouldn't start!'
But it was all part of the fun. Vintage cars have a temprement all of their own.
'We set off at 9am instead of 8.30am — but already I was on a total high,' said Anthea.
'The driver had a very enthusiastic personality. Although he left last he was anxious not to arrive last. He was quite daring and overtook about 10 other vintage cars! Some of the drivers looked like Jimmy Edwards — I didn't think they still existed!'
Refreshments took the shape of a coffee and doughnut break at an attractive old hotel in Crawley. But despite the stop Anthea and her driver made Brighton comfortably somewhere in the middle of fellow arrivals — and there had been no mechanical mishaps.
'Some cars were breaking down after the first few yards — but we made very good time. Other cars had bits falling off on the way,' said Anthea.
'I was well wrapped up. The weather was a bit brisk as we got near to Brighton — but it was fine and sunny.'
Anthea said she was 'on such a high' as a result of her trip.
'It was quite a bumpy ride and you take the corners quite sharply. It was a case of hang on tight and hold on to your hat!'
She feels events like the London to Brighton run with all its nostalgic charm are something that should keep entertaining people in the new Millennium.
'I have always backed out of driving lessons even though I was given some for my birthday. But now I have got the taste for motoring I'm going to have a go.'