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Brighton Speed Trials End of an Era

Updated: Jan 23

Tens of thousands of people watched the trials from the famous arches and terraces each year

Sprint Section VMCC

Press release: Brighton Speed Trials End of an Era

It is with great sadness that the VMCC Sprint Section Committee share news from Brighton and Hove Motor Club that the Brighton Speed Trials, the world's longest running Motorsport event, will not run again for the foreseeable future.

Father & son Chris and Mark Illman at the 2009 Trials

The VMCC Sprint Section had the honour of providing the motorcycle entry for the Brighton Speed Trails for over 40 years and while we take in the sadness of the news, our thoughts are with Brighton & Hove Motor Club, who had to make the tough decision to 'call it a day' on this iconic and historic event.

Phil Manzano (left) and son Juan (not pictured) organised the bikes for many years.Pictured also Bill Dent (M) and Ken Halls (R)

Famous riders from the past such as George Brown, Ernie Woods, George Brough and Francis Williams, Trevor Nation and generations of our fraternity have been involved in the speed trials, often organising (or riding together) in the same event.

Countless more, took on the unique challenge of the Madeira Drive course.

On behalf of the VMCC Sprint Section Committee, and former participants we extend our sincere thanks for the memories to members of Brighton & Hove Motor Club, MS UK, the ACU, the various officers who assisted each event (including Clerks of the Course, track and paddock Marshals, Medics, Fire and Breakdown crews), Timekeepers, Announcers, Photographers and Members of the public who supported the event for well over 100 years. Thanks too to Brighton and Hove City Council and Frosts Cars who continued to support this historic and one of a kind event over many years.

Brighton today may be a lesser place for the loss of this unique and culturally significant event, but in the formidable words of Dr Seuss “Don't cry because it's over. Smile because it happened”

Copied below are some image memories as well as the full BHMC Press Release

Daughter and Son, Jayne and Steve accompanied father Paul Standing as passengers at the trials

Father and Daughter Ozzie and Sheelagh Neal both rode at the Brighton Speed Trials (Ozzie pictured at Ramsgate)

Bob Anderson (riding) alongside Paul and Alex Champion at the start line of the 2007 Brighton Speed Trials

Alan and Richard Morgan campaigned fast Rudges at Brighton for years

George Brown and unknown rider riding in a twin lane Brighton Speed Trials in the 1960’s

Announcement - Brighton Speed Trials

End of an Era

In 1905 the first motor race was held on Madeira Drive in Brighton, since then it has been an annual event enjoyed by generations of those of us who love motor sport. Every year the committee and members of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club have worked hard to make the event a success. They succeeded, The Brighton National Speed Trial has been enjoyed and loved by thousands of entrants and spectators.

For some it was the only event they participated in, entering a loved road car, for others, it was a focal part of their motoring year, entering high powered vehicles which roared along the seafront to the enjoyment of the crowds watching from the paddock or up on the terraces. Its’ appeal to young and old alike was the intimacy of the event, spectators could get up close to the cars waiting in the paddock, talk to the drivers, take wonderful pictures and feel very involved in the whole event.

Unfortunately, times have changed, despite Brighton & Hove Council’s help, the new road layouts, the closing of the terraces, and the enormous cost involved in providing required safety measures, additional security and many other additional costs, the committee of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club have had to make the heartbreaking descion that the 2023 event was the last one. The Club has been running the event at a loss for a number of years and cannot continue to do so.

2024 will see Brighton and Hove Motor Club involved in many other events, including our two annual sprints at Goodwood, Concourse and hopefully a hill climb. But the Speed Trials will not run again for the foreseeable future.

The family of Brighton and Hove Motor Club wish to thank all those who have entered the event over the years, Brighton & Hove Council, Motorsport UK, the Marshalls and the hundreds of volunteers who have helped us set up the course and return the road to the public after the events. It was not easy task and we thank every single person who has been involved and given us their support over the years.

Thank you for the fun

The Brighton and Hove Motor Club

January 2024.

One of our favourite Brighton shots - The bikes returning back down the course from the Black Rock holding area

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1 Comment

It's with fond and sad memories that this news comes... As a competitor and someone who lost a friend at this event I can honestly say I'm proud to have been part of this.

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