HCVS London to Brighton Commercial Run, 2024

Posted by Chris Graham on 20th June 2024

Peter Love reports on this year’s HCVS London to Brighton Commercial Run and the fantastic variety of classics taking part.

Photography: Peter Love

London to Brighton

HCVS London to Brighton Commercial Run: The overall winner was the McGovern’s 1973 Scania 110 4×2 tractor unit.

In glorious weather the 61st HCVS London to Brighton Commercial Run was back on the road on Sunday, May 12th, based at the historic Brooklands Museum, Weybridge in Surrey – outside the ‘dreaded’ London Mayor’s Ultra Low Emission Zone. The whole job was certainly stressful for organiser Fraser Clayton and his team as the M25 Junction 9 was closed over the weekend for a new bridge to be installed over the M25, leading to a diverted route to the starting site.

The McGovern family with their award. With John McGovern’s passing, the collection of commercials and tractors is to be sold on 21 September.

As the sun shone so did the vehicles and it was a grand sight to see them following the route around Leatherhead, Reigate, Redhill, Horley and then onto the B2036 Balcombe Road. From there it was on to Cuckfield, where the usual marshals were not in place causing mayhem as there were no signs instructing the exhibitors to turn left, before heading through Burgess Hill.

London to Brighton

It’s 5.45am at Brooklands as the petrol-powered vehicles slumber ahead of the day ahead.

It was then up the mighty Clayton Hill, Pease Pottage and on to the A23 and through Brighton towards the seafront and the finish at Madeira Drive. The traffic was its usual self, but it all happened and from my journey down there was a good crowd along the way taking pictures, lots of waving and wonderful camaraderie between everyone and a feeling of being united!  

London to Brighton

On his way goes Jimmer Marsh by the famous Brooklands Clubhouse with his 1928 Foden C-type.

But it was chaos when the organising team arrived at Madeira Drive early in the morning when over 27 cars were illegally parked as the road is technically closed to all except HCVS staff and exhibitors vehicles until 7pm. Two tow companies had to be brought in to remove the vehicles. Even so the cyclists in Brighton think they have the right of way at all times, even when the road is closed to them, and they do not read the signs in place which told them the road was closed. It was mayhem quite frankly, but we all got through!

London to Brighton

On the Balcombe Road goes Warren Ruston’s 1934 Austin 12 x4 Taxicab. It’s been in the same family since the 1960s and has appeared in many films, including Mary Poppins.

The overall show winner was the Tony McGovern 1973 Scania 110 tractor unit that had originally worked in the Bristol area on general haulage before it got the excellent McGovern treatment. Sadly Tony’s father John died earlier in the year and there is to be a sale on 21 September of not only the 20 lorries but the 60 tractors. Commercial Vehicle Auctions of Doncaster are staging the event which will happen in the south-east; the venue is still to be announced, so stay tuned. 

London to Brighton

Simon Elliott’s 1939 Morris CS8 that was restored by John Pomeroy and John Poole, and is seen here near Cuckfield.

The run brings out the best in older lorries and it was good to see both our featured commercials in this issue do so well with Toby Robinson’s 1919 Thornycroft and OG’s Rally Archivist Editor Bob Moorman’s 1927 Foden 6 ton wagon taking home awards. Some had problems along the way like the ex-Paul Bowen 1938 Bedford WS 30cwt dropside with Gordon Neville.

London to Brighton

No HCVS London to Brighton Run would be complete without the 1931 Ford AA Old Motor van, seen here near Cuckfield.

It suffered from a low tension lead problem as it shorted out on the distributor body which was hard to find, but it got there, however it was in trouble again near Newhaven on the way home. Southern Recovery Services had to lift in the Ribble 1931 Leyland Lion LT2 of Peter Walton. Even with magneto trouble Julian Hopper made sure Peter Stanier’s 1929 Leyland Lioness charabanc in original Brooks Bros, Rhyland, Prestatyn colours got there.

The multi-award winning 1912 Belsize 10-12hp with Vincents of Reading bodywork, seen at Ansty.

It was good to hear Brian Johnson’s commentary, he looked to be back to good health again and was ably assisted by Brian Tullett. Congratulations to the HCVS and the entrants for making this pioneering event still happen after all the many issues it has to endure year in, year out.

Going well on the A23 is 1919 McLaren 10hp road locomotive No. 1652, depicted when used by Shaw & Gaskell on haulage. The load is an RNLI Case L.


Henry Shrimpton’s ex-Douglas, Isle of Man 1950 AEC Regent III pump escape near Brighton, on the A23.


Arriving on Madeira Drive is the ex-Yeoman’s of Canterbury 1910 Burrell Gold Medal No. 3245 End to End.


Making it look easy, the Webb father and son combination with 1932 Foden tractor No. 14078 Mighty Atom.



Class winners:

1912 Belsize 10-12hp van, Richard Peskett

1956 Land Rover Series 1 SWB 86in, Charles Webb

1919 Thorneycroft J-Type lorry, Toby Robinson

1949 Bedford K-Type dropside lorry, John Castle

1980 Bedford KM tipper lorry, John Mould

1963 Foden S20 Chinese 6 lorry, Tony Knowles

1973 Scania 110 4×2 tractor unit, Tony McGovern

1937 Fordson 42 V-8 fire engine, Gary Pritchard

1948 AEC Regal III single deck bus, John Herting

1916 Pierce Arrow Model R military lorry, Norman Grundon

1955 Beardmore Mk7 taxi, London Bus Museum

1927 Foden C Type 3-way tipper, Bob Moorman

Special Awards and
overall winners:

Best AEC – 1964 AEC Reliance coach Harrington body, Roger Thomas

Best Bedford – 1949 Bedford K-Type dropside lorry, John Castle

Best Dennis – 1951 Dennis F12 pump escape, Chris Balster

Best Ford – 1980 Ford D0707 tipper, Peter Exall

Best Guy – 1937 Guy Wolf 2-3 ton dropside, Derek Webb

Best Leyland – 1957 Leyland Tiger Cub, Burlingham body, Bernard Rogers

Best vehicle pre-1930 – 1912 Belsize 10-12hp van, Richard Peskett

Best vehicle 1930-45 – 1932 Foden D-type tractor, Simon Webb

Best postwar vehicle – 1949 Bedford K-Type dropside lorry, John Castle

Best single deck passenger vehicle – 1964 AEC Reliance coach, Roger Thomas

Best double deck passenger vehicle – 1976 Bristol VRT double-decker, Colin Billington

Best restoration by a society member of limited means – 1919 Thornycroft J-type, Toby Robinson

Vehicle travelling the furthest distance in the UK to complete the run under its own power – 1957 Leyland Tiger Cub, Burlingham body, Bernard Rogers

Youngest HCVS member driving in the run – Toby Robinson

Oldest HCVS member driving in the run – Bernard Rogers

Third Place in Concours d’Elegance – 1948 AEC Regal III single-decker, John Herting

Runner-up in Concours d’Elegance – 1912 Belsize 10-12hp van, Richard Peskett

Outright Concours d’Elegance winner – 1973 Scania 110 4 x 2 tractor unit, Anthony McGovern


This feature comes from the latest issue of Old Glory, and you can get a money-saving subscription to this magazine simply by clicking HERE


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