Does the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run really count as motorsport? It depends entirely on who you are riding with, as I discovered in 2014 when I joined ex-historics racer Irvine Laidlaw for the annual run, which takes place once more this Sunday.

Lord Laidlaw didn’t hang about (relatively speaking, of course) as we motored south from the start on Hyde Park’s Serpentine at 7.30am. His 15hp four-cylinder 1904 Panhard et Levassor didn’t miss a beat, and apart from the traditional breather at the George Hotel in Crawley, we didn’t stop until making it to Madeira Drive just before 11am on a crisp, autumnal morning. I hadn’t pushed anything and hadn’t even got wet. I felt like a bit of a fraud.

The run is supposedly non-competitive, but as we reached Brighton, I noticed Lord Laidlaw hunching a little lower over the steering wheel. How he cut past ‘moderns’ and jumped to the front of queues at traffic lights suggested the old racer’s instincts had kicked in. Turned out he was on for a PB. But no, it’s not competitive…