Huge campaign launched to save Brighton Speed Trials


A major campaign has been launched to save the Brighton Speed Trials following threats from the council to shut down the long-running event.

The Speed Trials have taken place on the historic seafront from more than 100 years and organiser the Brighton and Hove Motor Club fears that long tradition could end if the local council blocks its application to run the trials in 2014 at a meeting of its Economic Development and Culture Committee on 23 January.

Having started in 1905, the event now attracts some 200 classics, racers and motorbikes to the time shoot-outs on Madeira Drive. The top six run-off at the end of the day offers a dramatic conclusion to the Speed Trials.

Two petitions have been started to secure the event's future and are already attracting loads of support from concerned enthusiasts. You can sign them here and here.

You can also follow the campaign on Twitter @SaveBST and Facebook.

Ruth Reynolds of the 300-strong Brighton and Hove Motor Club said: "We urgently need the help of all motor sport fans and anyone interested in a fun family day out at the seaside to save the Brighton Speed Trials. The Speed Trials has been running in Brighton for over 100 years and the council is trying to block this historic event.

"Please support us by letting people know they can join the major campaign that is underway. We started a petition at the week end, it already has over 2,400 signatures – but we need more. The FaceBook page has gathered 2,700 likes in the same time frame. The council will make a decision on 23 January so we need to act fast."

Main image shows Joe Fry in the Freikaiserwagen at Brighton Speed Trials in 1948



This will be an uphill task with the loony Lib Dems running the council and with that unthinking MP Caroline Lucas. I wish you luck but it will be a real struggle with those inconsiderate selfish Lib Dems in charge.


"Economic Development and Culture Committee" ?

An event which is over 100 year old is not considered to be part of Brightons culture ? What a load of tosh.

I think that those little Hitlers in charge should remember that they are just Civil Servants at the end of the day and are therefore only there to serve us - the public.

Look at Brighton and Hove page for outdoor events. There's nothing there which is exclusive to Brighton, nothingr with any heritage whatsoever. Everything listed there could be an event in Newcastle, Cardiff or even Auchtermuchty.

Sorry Brighton, you are being run by a bunch of buffoons...


Councillors come and go and will be forgotten immediately after they have been voted out. They could of course achieve notoriety by closing the Brighton Speed Trials ….along with a reputation of gross stupidity and shortsightedness. I have had the privilege of participating at the event between 2000 and 2008 in a car that raced there from 1948 to 1955.
This represents history and there are many more such cars with greater provenance. The event plays such an important part of Brighton, rather like its pier (maybe they want to pull that down). One only has to look at past drivers such as Mike Hawthorn, Tommy Sopworth, Dennis Jenkinson ('Jenks' co-driver to Stirling Moss), Raymond Mays of ERA fame, Sidney Allard……. and countless more household names. The event attracts hoards of spectators and is well organised and attracts much publicity to the town. I can only assume that those that want to close the event down cannot see further than their small noses and probably suffer from 'short person syndrome'. The Brighton Speed Trials must be allowed to continue in the name of all that has been said and common sense. We need to show these councillors (who are meant to represent the best interest of Brighton but seem to be more akin to misguided 'loony lefties') that their actions to try to ban the Trials are verging on insanity.

Councillors come and go and will be forgotten immediately after they have been voted out. They could of course achieve notoriety by closing the Brighton Speed Trials ….along with a reputation of gross stupidity and shortsightedness. I have h


Has anyone ever done an economic assessment report on the event?  If not then I suggest one is done.   A couple of years ago I read a very interesting report on the ecoonomic impact of the 2010 London to Brighton run - produced by the University of Brighton and published by the FBHVC.  Worth reading as it could help your case.

I was also involved in running the Stratford (upon Avon) Festival of Motoring for the first time this year (2013).  I produced an economic assessment report  which calculated the benefit to the town was about £888k pounds over the Festival weekend.    I used the council's own published numbers on visitor spend and the data from the town footfall counters to calculate the vaue. 

This report has gone to the council along with a request for the road closures that we want for the 2014 Festival of Motoring.  We also had a meeting with the councillor in charge of the tourism portfolio.  Assuming there is one in Brighton, you need to egt him/her on your side.

Tony Merrygold

The Open Road


I see lots of enthusiasm for the continuation of the time trials and rightly so, what I don't see is any information as to why the council want to carry out their course of action.
To discontinue an event that is attended by motoring enthusiast from all over the world is to me short sighted at the very least. The name of Brighton gets free publicity each time the trials are run, this publicity entices the public to visit this wonderful seaside town and to spend their hard earned money .
The time trials are of great benefit to the local economy and should be whole heartedly encouraged by the town and county councils indeed they should be looking at ways of building on the time trials fame, that is their duty, to fail to do so would be to neglect those duties  and probably break the promises they made to their constituents to improve Brighton by attracting more visitors to the town, prohibiting and event that has run for over 100 years is a very large step in the wrong direction.
perhaps the council have another event planned to replace the cash spent by the motoring enthusiasts attending the time trials, well instead of cancelling one and replacing it with another why don't the council have both events and double their money, I say this because I do not believe that any politician of whatever persuasion would simply stop one means of income for politicaly expediant reasons without having something else equally exciting lined up to replace it. We should not only think of the financial benefits, no matter how significant, but think of the future generations who would be denied the chance to see these wonderful machines in all their glory and doing what they where built to do RACING.


Like most councils in the UK this is about money. The roads that are closed for this event are among the highest income earning roads for parking and other traffic infractions in the UK. The income generated is incredible. To save this event you are going to have to generate an equal or better income for the council for the period of the event. This is nothing to do with any possible benefit to the City or its traders. They are not interested in historical importance or any other 'value'. These sort of analyses won't help. It is only to do with the cash income to the council itself. Good luck.


I do not know the Brighton area well at all but saying that, are their no members of the landed gentry who are strugling with their estates revenue or perhaps even hoteliers that now own such estates that would benefit from the time trials being run on their land thereby taking the revenue from the streets of Brighton and and away from the parking enforcement officers , this would hit the council where it hurts most (on their balance sheets) save visiting motorists from being fined and help to maintain a magnificent property or commercialy run hotel and the word of mouth publicity that would be generated by enusiast both here in Britain and abroad could result in an ever increasing income for whoever is brave enough to make that first step, there are enough examples of estates doing this sort of thing, from motor cars to grand opera's, show jumping and orchestrial concerts.

I hope that those who help organise the time trials can manage to find another venue, a venue that will benefit bothe the users and the owners and very firmly (but politely) stick two fingers up at the penny pinching council.


IMofM makes a valid point about councils wanting parking income. When we setup the 2013 Stratford Festival of Motoring we applied for use of one car park for two days, and a portion of one car park for the two mornings. They charged us over £1,000 for the privilege. That is part of the reason we did an economic impact report.

For 2014 we would expect the charges to be higher as we are asking for more road closures. But we are also talking to another part of the council about giving us a grant. Not sure if this will come off yet though. But if it does, the council dept responsible for parking revenue can still stick to their rules about charging for use of space, but another department can be seen to help out the tourism initiative.

Sounds crazy but it may work.

Tony Merrygold

The Open Road

MisteR Tee

If you read all the info & links, you will see that this stems from an accident in 2012 when a passenger on a sidecar was killed. Following this the event was cancelled in 2013 due to the inquest not having been held at that time, I'm not sure whether it has taken place yet either. The council seem to be using this as a reason for their actions for next year, despite there being many assurances from the BHMC that safety is paramount at this event. This event is the premiere fund-raising one for them & to have it stopped would be a bitter & potentially catastrophic tragedy. Motor racing has always been dangerous, we know that, the competitors know that & so do the spectators. You can only do so much to minimise the dangers & to make it as safe as is humanly possible, after that it's down to luck & sadly for one, that luck ran out.

As others have said, this event is one of the longest running motor sport events in the country, if not the world & deserves all our efforts to ensure it's continuance. I'm sure the Brighton business community will once more feel the effect if it is cancelled, from cafes & restaurants to B & Bs & hotels, as well as all the usual holiday/visitor dependant ones, who must benefit from the huge influx of visitors on race day.

There have been problems in the past due to poor road surfaces & these were overcome, this will always be a problem because it is a public road & therefore subject to far harder abuse than a few race cars can inflict. There's probably not a lot that can be done about this, but nevertheless we must persevere with our efforts to ensure it's continuing history.

MisteR Tee

You're never too old to go straight (for a 1/4 mile!).


Yes, as stated above, there was a motorcycle crash in 2012 that left the 64 year old rider in a critical condition and killed his 38 year old lady pillion passenger. It would appear that the commentators above, blaming the 'loony left' council (do people really still use that term!), clearly don't attend this event regularly, if at all, otherwise they would be well aware of this fact.

Obviously 'motor racing is dangerous', but this tired phrase seems to be glibly rolled out when there is any fatal accident, avoidable or not. Whilst I grew up watching this event annually, I think running a 1/4 mile at full chat in cars possibly 50+ years old that maybe only get used once or twice a year on a normal street lined with spectators is sadly a recipe for more disasters and the whole concept needs a rethink to avoid more tragedies, rather than the knee-jerk 'health and safety gone mad' or 'loony left'-council-stealing-our-money responses above.

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