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  1. Two-Wheeled Heroes in the heart of the City: Rarest Ducatis to star at London Concours in 2022

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    • Rarest and most significant Ducati motorcycles to be assembled at London’s Honourable Artillery Company this June.
    • Exceptional examples from the past 50 years will be united at the capital’s leading concours d’elegance event, charting the rich history of this most storied motorcycle brand.
    • 4x World Superbike Champion and Ducati Ambassador, Carl Fogarty, will also appear at this summer’s event, in association with Bikesure
    • Sixth annual London Concours to run from the 28th to 30th of June in the heart of the City.
    • Tickets on sale now at from £35

    London, UK (27th May 2022): The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, has announced that this June’s event will feature a selection of two wheeled stars from the most iconic and evocative motorcycle brand of all, with its ‘Ode to Ducati’ Ducati. Spanning close to 50 years of the Italian marque’s illustrious history, the remarkable collection of bikes will wow alongside the Concours’ breath-taking array of four wheeled machinery – from spectacular supercars to the finest classics - on the immaculate lawns of the Honourable Artillery Company in the heart of the City.

    The wonderful selection of motorcycles from the Bolognese manufacturer will include an example of the rare 750 GT ‘Sandacst’ from late 1971. The bike, Ducati’s first v-twin cylinder machine, was born when Fabio Taglione, or “Dr. T” – Ducati’s longstanding chief designer and technical director - was tasked with building a 750 class bike to compete with the likes of Moto Guzzi, Laverda and of course the Japanese giants. The move into the 750 class was viewed as crucial to the success of the marque; a gateway to significant sales volumes in the USA. Taglione’s proposed low-cost solution was to blend two of Ducati’s well proven small capacity ‘singles’ onto a common crank case, creating a 90-degree V, or “L Twin” as he termed it. The 750 GT, widely praised by journalists in period for its smooth power and sharp handling, represents the genesis of Ducati’s illustrious lineage of V-Twin machines. In order to get production going as quickly as possible, the very early bikes had engines with sandcast cases and many other detail features not seen on the series production machines, which featured die-cast motors. Just 400 out of a total production of some 4,000 GT’s were built this way before the revised “square cased” engine was introduced in 1975. Relatively few of these early bikes have survived, with a small handful at most to be found in the UK. One not to miss.

    This summer’s show will feature another ‘70s 750 – the Super Sport, or “Imola Replica” dating from 1974. This, the very first Ducati SS was conceived as a road going version of the race bike that made a stunning debut with the late, great Paul Smart on board, winning the famed 1972 Imola 200 on its first outing. With Smart’s teammate Bruno Spaggiari taking a close second place, Ducati found themselves catapulted from an unknown producer of lightweight single cylinder motorcycles to a major name on the world map of exotic sports machinery. Unsurprisingly, Ducati management, not least ‘Dr T’ were keen to build on this seismic victory with a road-going replica of the winning bike. A limited run of Imola replicas were sanctioned, the first prototypes emerging in late 1973. Following on from the prototypes, just 401 examples of the ‘Replica’ were ‘batch built’ in the spring of 1974 - all under the direct supervision of Taglione in Ducati’s race shop. At a heady £1650, the SS came in at 50% more than Kawasaki’s mighty Z1.

    The 750 SS on display this June was one of perhaps 25 bikes at most delivered new to the UK - shipped to its first owner by air freight – and has been cherished ever since by a total of just four owners in 48 years. Often referred to as the “green frame” these 401 bikes were the only round case Ducatis to leave the factory with the iconic “Desmodromic” cylinder heads.

    The Honourable Artillery Company will play host to another ‘racing replica’: a 1980 Ducati 900 MHR. The bike is closely affiliated to one of, if not the, greatest racers of all – “Mike the bike” Hailwood. At the age of 38, 11 years after retiring, Hailwood made a comeback appearance at the Isle of Man TT in the Formula 1 class. Riding a modified and specially prepared 900 SS Ducati, he won the 1978 race. This burnished his already god-like reputation among fans, and prompted Ducati to introduce what would become their best-selling bike of the late 70s and early 80s: the 900 “Replica” or MHR. The MHR that will be on display at the HAC this June recently made a pilgrimage to the Isle of Man for the Classic TT, following in Hailwood’s tyre tracks 40 years on from his stunning victory. Much of the credit for the race preparation for the 1978 race goes to Steve Wynne of Sports Motorcycles in Manchester. It’s a source of great satisfaction to the owner of all the bikes on show that it was none other than Steve Wynne who rebuilt the engine and cosmetically refreshed the 1974 750 SS “green frame” also on display.

    A Ducati from the late 1980s will also be amongst the bikes on display, an 851 Kit Racer from 1988 – a fuel injected, water-cooled four-valve machine that moved the game on significantly for Ducati sports bikes. The 851 featured an evolved version of Ducati’s two valve, air-cooled ‘Pantah’ engine, revised by its original designer, Massimo Bordi, with a little help from a famed British engineering firm Cosworth. The resulting power plant laid the foundations for 30 years or more of Ducati Superbikes. The road going variant, the “Strada” was initially criticised for its unusual steering characteristics – on account of its 16” wheels - and lack of firepower when compared with Honda’s RC30. The ‘Kit’ rectified things, with power boosted to 120bhp, larger 17-inch magnesium wheels, a braced swinging arm and a close ratio gearbox, amongst other race shop only features. Only 207 examples were built, and the Kit Racer is viewed by some as the most thrilling and visceral of all Ducati’s sports bikes.

    This June’s event will also host more modern machinery, including the Ducati D-16 RR of 2008. The 1000cc, four-cylinder D-16 RR - modelled on Ducati’s GP6 Moto GP racer – was a real weapon, offered only to select customers, promising nigh-on Moto GP performance for the road. In the view of the late, highly respected journalist Kevin Ash, Ducati delivered on this promise. Packing a 200bhp V4 (with four valves per cylinder and four cylinders, hence ‘Desmo- 16’) and revving to 14,000 rpm, the D-16 Race Replica offered a lucky few a glimpse of what it was like to pilot a Gibernau or Capirossi factory race Ducati of the period.

    The collection of superb Ducatis will also include the 1199 Superlegerra of 2014 – the bike that heralded the end of the road for Ducati’s long line of twin cylinder superbikes. Whilst the v-twin is still found today in Ducati’s middleweight and sports touring models, Ducati waved goodbye to the v-twin Superbike with these exclusive limited-edition models. The Borgo Panegale factory pulled out all the stops, producing two batches of super exclusive “Superlight” ‘twins’ – the 1199 of 2014, and the 1299 of the following year. Just 500 numbered examples of each were delivered worldwide. The 1199 SL that will star at this June’s event retailed at £60,000, produced an eye watering 205bhp, and weighed just 155kg dry – a weight more typical for a 500 or 600cc middleweight sports bike. Packed with the latest in technology and rare materials such as magnesium, carbon fibre and even tungsten – the latter used for components within the engine - the SL was a furious performer. Autocar underscored just how furious by substituting an 1199 SL for a Ferrari La Ferrari when carrying out a supercar test with the McLaren P1 and Porsche 918. The Superleggera matched the 903bhp McLaren P1 and Porsche’s 918 right up to 180mph, even pulling ahead after a standing start, before the cars’ slippery aerodynamics and longer gearing gave them an edge. A rare opportunity to witness this remarkable machine in the metal.

    These dramatic Ducatis, and more, will be on show at the Honourable Artillery Company this June, at the capital’s ultimate automotive extravaganza. Carl Fogarty, the 4x World Superbike Champion and Ducati Brand Ambassador, will also make an appearance, on behalf of Bikesure, the ‘Ode to Ducati’ class co-sponsor. Fogarty will be chatting with Dave Vitty and Jason Plato, from the Fuelling Around podcast on Wednesday 29th June.

    Further class announcements will follow in the coming weeks, as we build towards the 6th edition of our unmissable event.

    Andrew Evans, London Concours Director, said:
    “It gives us great pleasure to reveal this latest exciting class, which will bring the most spectacular bikes from the most evocative motorcycle manufacturer of all to the heart of London. Ducati is a magnetic brand that holds great allure for anyone with a drop of petrol in their veins. The superb selection, along with the fantastic array of supercars and iconic classics, is set to make this June’s show the most special yet.

    “Guests to the Honourable Artillery Company will be treated to a truly special array of cars, along with a decadent range of food and drink options, and a carefully curated line-up of luxury brands and boutiques. London Concours 2022 is set to be another occasion of total automotive indulgence.”

  2. Motorcycle safety campaign Live Fast Die Old launches new film

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    The new film from motorcycle safety campaign Live Fast Die Old by The Scottish Government and Road Safety Scotland*, launched today.   Motorcycle safety campaign Live Fast Die Old launches new film

    Part of the campaign’s Breathtaking Roads series, the film highlights the thrill of riding while also reminding bikers to enjoy Scotland’s roads safely.

    Despite accounting for less than 1% of all road traffic in Scotland bikers account for 7% of casualties1, with bends and overtaking among the riskiest manoeuvres. 2

    Shot on the scenic Isle of Skye, the short film uses striking slo-mo footage to highlight the importance of considering the entire picture and every potential hazard before making the decision to overtake. It urges bikers exploring Scotland’s roads to ‘take your time to take it all in’.

    The film is available to watch here – Watch the Breathtaking Roads film

    The film can be downloaded here – Download the Breathtaking Roads film

    The dedicated Live Fast Die Old website and Facebook page offer rich and engaging content, with films and blogs from Scottish bikers sharing first-hand experience and tips with peers, as well as route inspiration and best practice advice. 

    To find out more about the campaign and join the conversation, visit the Live Fast Die Old website or Facebook page -

    The Live Fast Die Old campaign is looking for bikers across Scotland to get involved by sharing their experience, advice, top routes and ride-out tips with other bikers. If you’d like to be part of the campaign, follow Live Fast Die Old on Facebook and or get in touch on [email protected].


    *Road Safety Scotland is part of Transport Scotland


    Scotland’s Road Safety Framework to 2030 (February 2021)


    Reported Road Casualties Scotland 2020 (October 2021)




  3. Start Rescue urges bikers to check their machines before heading out into the sunshine

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    Nationwide roadside rescue and recovery operator Start Rescue is warning bikers they must take a moment to check their pride and joy before taking to the road, with more than 40 motorcyclists hurt every day on UK roads according to Department for Transport.

    The DfT’s shocking statistics show that despite only accounting for one per cent of traffic on UK roads, motorcyclists made up 20 per cent of road deaths in 2020. Fortunately, fatalities are much reduced from 1979 when over 1,000 bikers lost their lives; in 2020 that figure was down to 285. Lockdown has reduced these figures further but with spring upon us, bikers are once again taking to the roads.

    Start Rescue recognises that many accidents are caused not just by other motorists’ poor motorcycle awareness on the roads, but also by motorcycle owners’ poor maintenance and neglect of their machines. With summer approaching and the roads starting to dry out, many bikers are opening their garage doors and dusting off their precious two-wheeled steed.

    Lee Puffett, Managing Director of Start Rescue, said: “We’re blessed with some great roads in this country, but too many bikers are left stranded by poor preparation. While Start Rescue can help recover a broken bike and rider, it’s better to be prepared. A mechanical mishap on a bike isn’t just inconvenient – it can be dangerous for the rider and other road users.”

    Lee continues: “Storing a bike in a lockup or garage during winter is a sensible way of protecting it from the elements (particularly road salt) but it doesn’t guarantee reliability once the weather warms up. Old batteries can fail, even if they’re disconnected. Trickle charging can recover some batteries, but a new replacement guarantees starting on the button (or kick-starter).”

    Lee understands that most bikers take great pride in cleaning and polishing their pride and joy, but there are other benefits: “A good clean can highlight any problems hidden by dust – such as leaks and perishing rubber seals or pipes. Likewise, any corrosion that’s starting to take hold will be obvious with a sponge rubbed across it. Give the chain some spray lubrication after a clean to preserve it.“

    Start Rescue urges all bikers to check their tyres carefully. Firstly, the legal tread requirements for motorcycles over 50cc are a minimum of 1mm around the tyre’s entire circumference and across the centre ¾ width of the tyre. For mopeds less than 50cc, all grooves of the original tyre tread must be visible. Start Rescue recommends replacing tyres well before these limits for the sake of safety, but also because the penalty for insufficient tread depth and/or poor general condition can be up to £2,500 fine and three penalty points per tyre. If the tread depth is OK, check for any unusual or uneven wear, eg a bald patch. If the tyre itself is OK, check the pressures are correct.

    Finally, consider a refresher course for safer riding. Lee says: “While it’s easy to be dismissive of road rules, accidents often hurt your loved ones more than they hurt the rider - be a safer rider for them. BikeSafe ( is a police-run scheme for post-test training. The content covers attitude, observation, cornering, overtaking, filtering, junctions, group riding, hazard awareness and the system of motorcycle control.”

    Checklist for mothballed motorbikes:

    • Check tyres: pressures, cracking, tread
    • Check brakes – renew old fluid, check pad thickness & disc condition
    • Damper condition – any leaking/bad seals, stanchion pitting and scratches
    • Frame corrosion/cracking
    • Check all lights
    • Check fluid levels – oil, coolant, brake fluid
    • Lubricate the chain
    • Consider a service if the bike has been stored a long time

    Editor’s notes: is a trading style of Call Assist Ltd, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and has been providing breakdown services on behalf of many brands for the past 23 years. Call Assist currently services more than 2 million policyholders through a large network of approved recovery agents throughout the UK and a further network in Europe.

    Accident statistics taken from the following publications:

  4. Ben fights to tackle loneliness this Mental Health Awareness Week

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    • Ben launches new Social Anxiety support program for Mental Health Awareness Week
    • Launch forms part of a wider campaign to combat loneliness in automotive community
    • Loneliness on the rise, with 1 in 3 automotive people admitting to feeling lonely

    Today, May 9th, marks the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and this year Ben, the automotive industry charity, is shining a light on one of the leading causes of mental health issues – loneliness.

    Following two years of disruption and periods of social isolation caused by the pandemic, loneliness became, in itself, an epidemic. We were all separated for long periods of time from our wider circles of friends, family and work colleagues. And, even though we are now emerging from the depths of the pandemic, it is clear that many of us have found the social restrictions hugely challenging.

    Social anxiety is playing a major role in the rise of loneliness. Naturally, now that COVID restrictions have eased, social interactions are returning to ‘normal’ – but for many, a sudden return to socialising is also a daunting prospect. Social anxiety makes it difficult for people to meet socially with others, to reach out for help and to maintain relationships – which, in turn, contributes to loneliness.

    Ben’s recent Health and Wellbeing survey placed this issue in sharp focus – of those in the automotive industry who were surveyed, 31% confessed to having suffered from loneliness – a huge increase of 23% from the previous year. Loneliness saw a staggering increase in the over 45s, factory workers, and among those who have retired from the industry, while 1 in 2 automotive workers confirmed that they have issues managing their mental health – indicating that mental health struggles in the automotive industry are more prevalent than in the general population.

    To support those who are struggling with social anxiety and loneliness, Ben has launched a new ‘Space from Social Anxiety’ program on the SilverCloud platform – designed specifically to help people find out about symptoms, understand its causes and develop coping strategies to manage their social anxiety.

    The program, as with all of Ben’s SilverCloud programs, is completely free, easy to use and can be worked through at your own pace in your own time – using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy techniques to develop coping strategies to help deal with life’s challenges.

    Rachel Clift, Health & Wellbeing Director at Ben, said: “If you suffer from loneliness, you are not alone. Our recent survey highlighted the huge impact that COVID has had on the mental health of our community and loneliness and social anxiety have risen sharply over the past twelve months.

    “Our industry is one of the most affected by mental health issues, so we want everyone in the automotive community to know that while they may feel alone, they aren’t. We are here, ready to help and support them through whatever challenges life may be throwing at them right now and in the future.

    “Social anxiety and loneliness can be managed and we have a number of ways we can support people who are struggling, including our new SilverCloud program ‘Space from Social Anxiety. During Mental Health Awareness week, we want to reach out to our automotive family and offer them a helping hand. You don’t have to face loneliness or social anxiety alone.”

    To sign up to the SilverCloud Space from Social Anxiety programme, click here or for more hints and tips on how to tackle social anxiety, visit

    When any member of our automotive family is struggling or in crisis, we all rally to support them.

  5. Royal Automobile Club’s Torrens Trophy awarded to Peter Hickman, Emma Bristow and Crescent Yamaha

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    The Royal Automobile Club honoured three winners of its prestigious Torrens Trophy at a presentation dinner on Monday 14 March at the Pall Mall clubhouse in London.  It was the first time the Trophy could be awarded in person since speedway legend Tai Woffinden was recognised for claiming his third Speedway World Championship in 2018.  

    Guests included James Toseland and Ian Kerr MBE - both past winners of the Torrens Trophy - plus a notable roll call of motorcycling personalities and industry figures, including 2021 British Superbike Champion Tarran Mackenzie.
    Three trophies were awarded, the first being to 2019 winner Peter Hickman for his trio of Isle of Man TT victories that year, and for seeing the world's fastest motorcycle road lap record of 136.415 mph at the Ulster Grand Prix.

    Staffordshire-born Hickman has become one of the leading road-racers and his TT wins were described by former racer Barrie Baxter – Chairman of the Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee – as being ‘pure poetry’.

    Hickman said: 'I'm obviously really proud to have won the Royal Automobile Club's Torrens Trophy.  It's such a prestigious trophy that many great names have won over the years.  A massive thank you to Alan, Rebecca and everyone at the former Smiths Racing Team.'

    After a two-year hiatus, the Isle of Man TT returns this year and Hickman is looking forward to picking up where he left off in 2019. With five TT wins now under his belt, he’s determined to add to that, and has entered six races including Superbike, Supersport, Superstock and Supertwin.
    The 2020 Torrens Trophy winner was Emma Bristow, who claimed her seventh consecutive FIM Women's Trial World Championship.  Bristow’s success marked the first time in more than 40 years that the Torrens Trophy has been awarded to a female motorcyclist. It’s also the first time that the trials world has been recognised, despite that discipline being close to the heart of Arthur Bourne. The former Editor of The Motor Cycle and Vice Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club wrote a column under the pen name ‘Torrens’, and it was in his honour that the trophy was inaugurated in 1979.  
    In 2014, Bristow became the first British rider to win the Women’s FIM Trial World Championship and continues to dominate the sport at an international level. In 2020, she won the title after going unbeaten in the TrialGP Women class, with six wins from six starts.
    Having started riding motorcycles at the age of four, the 31-year-old from Louth, Lincolnshire is now a nine-times world champion, having also won two World SuperEnduro Championships. Add to her tally 10 Women’s British Trials Championships, two Women’s European Trials Championships, one Latin American Championship (mixed gender category) and she’s without doubt one of the UK’s most successful female athletes.
    Bristow said: ‘I’m truly honoured to have won the Torrens Trophy – and to be the first female winner. I’m really looking forward to 2022 and I’m already working hard to try to win another World Championship and break the current record of 35 GP wins. I still want to keep improving and developing as a rider. Yes, I hope my success inspires more girls to get into two-wheeled motorsport, but for me it’s also about girls seeing it’s not just the men who can ride bikes at a high level. We can succeed if we work hard, and this is something I’m really passionate about.’ 
    The final winner on the night was the Crescent Yamaha WorldSBK team, which was awarded the Torrens Trophy for becoming the first British team to win the Riders', Teams' and Manufacturers' titles in the 2021 FIM World Superbike Championship.  
    Founded by Edward ‘Ted’ Denning – who rode his Triumph in Guernsey’s sand races before World War Two – Crescent Racing has been competing at the top level in national and international racing for the past 25 years. It has won races and Championships in everything from British Superbikes and World Superbikes to MotoGP, enduro and moto cross, and since 2016 it has run the official Yamaha team in World Superbikes from a state-of-the-art purpose-built facility in Dorset.
    Paul Denning, Managing Director of Crescent and Team Principal, was delighted to receive the prestigious award: ‘We have been aware of the Torrens Trophy for many years and have greatly enjoyed seeing such British stars as Sam Sunderland and Cal Crutchlow receive it in the past. For Crescent Yamaha to be recognised by the Royal Automobile Club and the Torrens committee is a real honour and we are so proud to receive the 2021 award, which only adds to the satisfaction of the team’s achievements last year. We are now very much focused on looking forward towards the 2022 season and doing everything we can to again be competitive, but the Torrens Trophy is a great way to cap off 2021!’
    Royal Automobile Club Chairman Ben Cussons said: ‘The Royal Automobile Club has always had a close association with the motorcycling world since the Club formed the Auto Cycle Club in 1903, which went on to become the Auto Cycle Union in 1947. I would like to extend a huge congratulations to our Torrens Trophy winners for the past three years and thank Peter, Emma and the Crescent Yamaha team for their outstanding achievements and contribution to the motorcycling scene – they are everything the Torrens Trophy represents; each of them providing a true showcase of British motorcycling skill and technical excellence’  
    In addition to Ben Cussons, the Club’s Torrens Trophy Nominations Committee consists of ex-motorbike and car racer Barrie Baxter, respected motorcycle journalist and TT winner Mat Oxley, commentator and former racer Steve Parrish, Club member Richard Bourne (son of Arthur Bourne), and ‘Queen of Bikers’ Maria Costello MBE, who has held the Guinness World Record for being the fastest woman to lap the Isle of Man TT course.
    The Torrens Trophy
    The Torrens Trophy recognises an individual or organisation considered to have made an outstanding contribution to the cause of safe and skilful motorcycling in the United Kingdom, or to have made an outstanding contribution of technical excellence to further the cause of motorcycling in the UK, or to have shown outstanding skill in international motorcycling sporting events.
    The Torrens Trophy was first awarded in 1978 in memory of Arthur Bourne, a motorcycling journalist who wrote a column under the name ‘Torrens’. Arthur Bourne was also a Vice-Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club. It is awarded only when the Club feels that the achievement justifies it. Previous winners of the Torrens Trophy include:
    2018 Tai Woffinden for being the most successful British speedway rider in history.
    2017 Jonathan Rea MBE for being the first rider to win three consecutive World Superbike Championships.
    2016 MotoGP racer Cal Crutchlow for being first British rider to win a premier class World Championship Motorcycle Grand Prix in 35 years.
    2015 Eleven-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson for his outstanding determination, courage and overcoming adversity to win multiple TTs.
    2014 Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne for becoming the first man in history to be crowned British Superbike Championship on four occasions (2003, 2008, 2012 and 2014).
    2013 Tom Sykes for being crowned the 15th World Superbike Champion, the fourth from Great Britain and only the second rider to win for Kawasaki in the series for 20 years.
    2008 World Superbike Champion James Toseland was awarded the Trophy for his immense contribution to raising the profile of motorcycle racing in this country.
    1998 Ian Kerr of the Metropolitan Police for 20 years of tireless work in promoting safe and responsible motorcycling.
    1989 BMW in recognition for its contribution to motorcycle safety through the development of its anti-lock braking system.
    1981 Dave Taylor MBE for his vast contribution to motorcycle road safety.
    1980 Transport and Road Laboratory.
    1979 Lieutenant-Colonel Fredrick Lovegrove OBE.

    The Royal Automobile Club
    The Royal Automobile Club was founded in 1897 and its distinguished history mirrors that of motoring itself. In 1907, the Club was awarded its Royal title by King Edward VII, sealing the Club’s status as Britain’s oldest and most influential motoring organisation.
    The Club’s early years were focused on promoting the motor car and its place in society, which developed into motoring events such as the 1000 Mile Trial, first held in 1900. In 1905, the Club held the first Tourist Trophy, which remains the oldest continuously competed-for motorsport event. The Club promoted the first pre-war and post-war Grands Prix at Brooklands in 1926 and Silverstone in 1948 respectively, while continuing to campaign for the rights of the motorist, including introducing the first driving licences.
    Today, the Club continues to develop and support automobilism through representation on the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and RAC Foundation while promoting its own motoring events including London Motor Week, which features the free-to-attend Regent Street Motor Show and the RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

    The Royal Automobile Club also awards a series of historic trophies and medals celebrating motoring achievements. These include the Segrave Trophy, the Tourist Trophy, the Dewar Trophy, the Simms Medal, the Torrens Trophy and the Diamond Jubilee Trophy.