VETERANS of the road are preparing for their annual challenge on testing rural routes round the North Pennines.

The 135 entrants in tomorrow’s 42nd Beamish Run could also be tackling unseasonally wet conditions on the 150-mile round trip through County Durham and into North Yorkshire in their vintage cars.

A recreation of the reliability runs of the pioneering motoring era, the event has now become a regular fixture in the calendar of vintage vehicle owners across the North.

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All forms of transport setting off from the Beamish Museum exhibition field tomorrow morning date from pre- 1955, with some from as far back as the early 1920s.

Museum director Richard Evans is getting into the spirit of the event, in a 1933 Morris Commercial van from the Beamish collection.

The cavalcade will head to Lanchester and Wolsingham, then on to Teesdale, stopping for a checkpoint at Bowes Museum, before the traditional lunch break at Bainbridge village green.

The afternoon stages involve a severe test on Silver Hill, near Keld, checkpoints at Romaldkirk, Bollihope Quarry, Stanhope, near the now closed ford, and in Waskerley.

Among the features of the closing stages are another testing hill stretch at Iveston, near Leadgate, before the return to Beamish.

Along the route, 85 marshals will monitor the standard of driving and pose questions on the rules of the road at the nine checkpoints, as well as ensuring the run passes as smoothly as possible.

Organiser George Jolley thanked Mr Evans for opening the museum half-an-hour earlier than usual, at 9.30am, and keeping it open an extra 30 minutes, until 5.30pm, as the stragglers make it back to the finish line.

Throughout the day there will also be a static show of vintage vehicles supplied by members of the North-East Club for Pre-War Austins on the Beamish events field.

“There should be plenty to see for motoring enthusiasts and the public at large, both out along the route and back at Beamish,” said Mr Jolley.

“I just hope the weather doesn’t dampen things too much. It’s a tough enough course anyway.”

A total of 14 trophies are up for grabs in various categories, although the one no one wants is the Jolly Hard Luck award, for the first vehicle to break down on the day.