A PROCESSION of vintage vehicles motored round a challenging annual test of reliability and endurance yesterday.

Conditions proved less favourable than usual, but most competitors managed to complete the 44th Beamish Run, taking in a spectacular route through the upper Wear and Tees valleys, and the dales of North Yorkshire.

The testing 150-mile run saw 155 vintage and classic vehicles setting off from the events field at Beamish Museum, County Durham, in the morning and returning in the late afternoon.

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The Beamish Safety and Reliability Trial, to give its original title, was devised as a re-creation of the early road trials staged by the region’s motoring pioneers in the inter-war years.

The revived version has now developed a history of its own since it was first run by North-East auto enthusiasts in 1971.

Participants this year came from as far afield as as Kent, Wiltshire, Sussex, Hampshire and Dorset.

Organiser George Jolley said the annual lunch stop at the village green in Bainbridge, North Yorkshire, again proved popular, with onlookers admiring the array of well-preserved cars and commercial vehicles, all dating from pre-1956, plus a selection of pre-1960 motor bikes.

He said: ''We had a very good turnout. There were 155 vehicles on the road. One or two had to drop out due to mechanical problems.

“It has been a damp day with mist over the tops. But in true British style most people don’t care about the wet and they were very happy.

“The wettest place was Tan Hill which is Britain’s highest pub. There weren’t as many spectators along the route, but that was mainly due to the weather.”

Many also turned out in impressive period costumes - first prize went to a pinstripe-suited Douglas Martin, who drove a 1928 Graham Paige 610 sedan once used by a US gangster.