50 years of London-Sydney Marathon this Sunday at Gaydon!

The Historic Marathon Rally Group will be presenting a celebration to mark 50 years of the London-Sydney rally at Gaydon’s Motoring Museum tomorrow. Here’s a sneak peek

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Celebrating half a century of the famous London to Sydney Marathon Rally, Gaydon’s Motor Museum will host a showcase of period rally cars and offer enthusiasts a chance to speak with original drivers of the famous rally event.

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What was the London-Sydney Marathon?

While there had been motoring rallies and challenges long before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, these events had been more of a gentleman’s outing than a sheer out-and-out competitive event. However, all this changed in November 1968 with the staging of the 10,000 mile London-Sydney Marathon.

In searing heat and blinding dust, across Italy, Bulgaria, Iran and India before arriving in Sydney, the original event was won by Scots Andrew Cowan, Colin Malkin and Brian Coyle driving a Hillman Hunter.

Three events bearing the London-Sydney name took place, the first in 1968 with the second event in 1977 and a commemorative 25th anniversary run in 1993.

What to expect

Alongside a presentation of vehicles, a vast selection of memorabilia, video and model displays will bring the Marathon’s history to life.

Furthermore, you’ll get to see past rally heroes in action with a parade of historic cars. Featured are a replica of the winning Hillman Hunter that Andy Cowan drove to victory, four BMC 1800 "Landcrabs", Bill Bengry's Ford Cortina and a Triumph 2000.

Jean Denton’s MGB and Bron Burrell and Tina Kerridge’s 1969 Austin Maxi – known affectionately as ‘Puff’ will also form part of the convoy, following a run from the Rootes Archive Centre in Wroxton to the British Motor Museum at Gaydon.

The 15 Marathon rally cars will be driving down the approach road at 11.00am as a Show Opener, the show itself hailed as a significant event in preserving ‘genuine motoring history’.

‘It [London-Sydney] was the first serious modern marathon of its kind, of 102 starters only 56 crossed the finish line. Organisers were surprised that any cars made it!’, rally ace Bron Burrell explained.

‘The racers and the cars are a dying breed. The rally cars are being restored, proving that with a bit of care they will go on far further than people give them credit for. Some are even competing again!’

This includes Burrell and Kerridge’s Austin Maxi, which has been seen at various sporting events including 2018’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. There are some big plans coming up for ‘Puff’, of which we aren’t yet quite allowed to tell you. But we will say this – it’s pretty special.

‘It’s important to get youngsters interested in older cars, and celebrating the London-Sydney marathon is a great way to do so.’ Bron concluded.

You can find out more about the event here

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