Cavalcade celebrates 40 years of Quadrophenia

Brighton Marathon

As in previous years, the Brighton Marathon elite field will be preceded by a Cavalcade of vehicles.

This is a special year for the Cavalcade, as it is 40 years since the rock opera Quadrophenia was premiered.

Set in London and Brighton the opera reflects the 1960s confrontations between sharp dressing Mods and leather-jacketed Rockers.

In an echo of the opera as well as the London Olympic closing ceremony, 10 Vespas will be whipping up the atmosphere for the runners who follow shortly after.

The Marathon route goes past the locations that the 1979 film used such as the Old Steine, East St, the Grand Hotel and the race finish just past Brighton Pier where the riot starts between the Mods and Rockers.

“It’s an absolutely amazing experience,” says leader of the pack Neil Allen of the New World Gallery.  “People are cheering like crazy all the way round.”

Once the phalanx of Mods is spotted, the crowds that line the course know the runners are imminent.

The Vespas that Neil and his crew are manning will be lined up in twos travelling at a steady 12 miles an hour, the pace of the race: “It is very difficult to ride a bike that slowly for such a long time,” says Allen.

Not as difficult as in year one, however, when on a gloriously warm day the riders kept stopping at drink stations to slake their thirst before realising toilet stops were not factored into the race.   

“This year we’ll only be drinking after the race,” vows Allen who is Brighton born and bred.

With an expected 100,000 spectators lining the route, the cavalcade will be led out by vehicle sponsor Rossett’s Commercials’ Mercedes-Benz Citan Traveliner.

Complementing the Vespas will be 10 Harley Davidsons, 12 Minis, two Citroens, a black super-mini DS3 as well as a white luxury model DS4 from the company that sponsors the Brighton Fringe Festival.

Iconiq Managing Director, Gary Barnshaw, will be behind the wheel of a Ferrari with the Iconiq Shlurp! cow milking the adulation of the crowds from the back seat.

The rearguard is brought up by Brighton and Hove shirt sponsor, the local hub for all the city’s jobs and employment challenges.