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Curtain Down on Brighton Speed Trials

Brighton Speed Trials, thought to be the world’s longest running motorsport event, has finally come to an end, with no events planned in the foreseeable future. Organised by the Brighton & Hove Motor Club, with the motorcycle entry run by the Sprint Section of the VMCC, it was first held in 1905 and soon became an annual fixture in Britain’s motorsport calendar, with cars and bikes measured over a standing start sprint along Madeira Drive on Brighton seafront.

Many well known names have competed on the famous quarter-mile – Sir Malcolm Campbell, Stirling Moss, Noel Pope and Trevor Nation all sprinted cars or bikes here, against the unforgettable backdrop of Madeira Drive’s ornate terraces on one side, and Brighton beach on the other.

In a statement, Brighton & Hove Motor Club made its disappointment clear: “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 decision 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.”

The VMCC Sprint Section announced in May 2023 that with regret it would no longer be organising the motorcycle entry for the Speed Trial, also citing the cost of extra safety measures needed, but added that it will carry on organising other motorcycle sprint events across the UK.

Jim Freeman, Chair of the BMF, was saddened by the news: “This isn’t news to the BMF, we were fighting this from 2020 onwards. The writing was on the wall and there’s only so much to do. We’d like to thank our fellow NMC members, formerly in CoMorg, for joining us: VMCC, TRF, ACU, IAM Roadsmart, and NMDA.”

Written by Peter Henshaw

Top image courtesy of The Sprint Section of the Vintage Motorcycle Club (VMCC)