Brighton Coach Rally 2008

Posted on: 19th Apr 2008

The 54th Brighton Coach Rally provides a chance for manufacturers, dealers, operators and drivers to meet together informally and promote the vibrant coaching industry.

The weekend is over two day's and drivers and operators are tested on their driving skills and vehicle presentation.

Saturday starts with a 80 mile route which is only disclosed to the driver 5 minutes before departure. Each coach and driver is then monitored on average speed and timing at three points along the course. The top ten drivers then go through to Sunday's advanced test.

On Sunday morning the Concours d'Elegance takes place, after which the second driving test takes place.

Once this is completed the driver then takes part in a driving test on Brighton seafront. This element is a course designed to test the drivers maneuvering abilities

How we got on...

The Vehicle we entered into the rally was our latest Prestige Class coach which is a three axle coach which is 14 metres long (2metres longer than a standard coach).

On Saturday we started at 09:00 from Preston Park, having been given our driving instruction card 5 minutes prior to our departure. With 2 minute intervals between each coach we made our way along the course which saw us travel as far north as Crawly.

We stopped at each of the check points as directed, which we later learned we arrived 4 minutes early at the 1st, exactly on time at the 2nd and 20 minutes late at the 3rd and final.

Having completed the driving stage we made our way to the seafront in Brighton to take part in maneuverability test. The course starts at a set of narrow cones which follows into a curve, from here we had to turn right and park the front of the coach so that the front axle is in-line with a yellow box marked on the floor. As the front axle is 6ft behind the driver's position it is difficult to tell when the axle is over the box.

From here the coach then had to be reversed into another small box and stopped so that the rear of the coach is as close to the back of the box as possible. The box allows approximately 3" at each side. We stopped 21" from the rear of the box. This manoeuvre has to be performed using the mirrors on the coach only, despite the coach being fitted with a reversing camera. Moving out of this box the coach then has to turn 180 degrees to finally stop between two cones; which we stopped exactly on.

Over all we accrued 250 penalty points, which unfortunately was not enough to get us through to the Sunday round, but was a very enjoyable experience.

On Sunday we took place in the concourse d' elegance. We were awarded the Boon Cup for best co-ordinated interior and a second Cup for best dressed staff and crew. Both awards have been won by large coach operators in the past, and were a real achievement for us to win.