A sombre decision has been made by the organizers of the famed Brighton Speed Trials as they announce the cancellation of the event due to safety measures and increasing financial losses. The revelation came from the Brighton and Hove Motor Club Chairman, who cited the loss of the Madeira Terrace as a viewing platform in 2016, the exclusion of motorbike trials in 2021, and the rising costs of meeting safety standards as the driving factors behind this unfortunate decision.
The Chairman revealed that the decision was taken to safeguard other events organized by the club, such as the Classic Car Show and the Goodwood Sprints. According to the Chairman, “We lost the terraces, the viewing gallery, and we lost the bikes just after covid. It’s more down to safety than anything else – the requirements of the council and Motorsport UK for concrete motorway barriers.” The Chairman emphasized that the event had experienced financial losses in the past few years, making it unsustainable, forcing the difficult decision to discontinue the Brighton Speed Trials.
A member of the Madeira Terrace Advisory Panel and a devoted follower of the speed trials expressed disappointment at the news. Recalling the excitement and historical significance of the event, the enthusiast stated, “I love the speed trials – I have been going to them as long as I can remember. It is because of the speed trials that Madeira Drive became the road that it is.”
Expressing regret over the closure of the terraces and the exclusion of motorbikes, the enthusiast attributed these changes to decisions made by the council. Criticizing the delayed reopening of the terraces and the creation of a wide cycle lane, which led to the exclusion of bikes from the trials, the individual remarked, “I, and many others, despair. This, the ending of the speed trials, such a historical event, really is the final straw.”
The Brighton Speed Trials, which began in July 1905, played a pivotal role in the city’s history. Initiated by a key figure, the event received approval from Brighton Town Council to tarmac the road adjacent to the beach between the Palace Pier and Black Rock for motor racing. The road, later named Madeira Drive in 1909, hosted the speed trials almost every year since, usually on the second Saturday of September.
The cancellation of the event marks a departure from tradition. The trials only skipped a year in 2020 due to the global pandemic. The following year, when it resumed, concerns were raised by the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU) about the safety of the newly installed cycle lane for motorbikes. Despite overcoming challenges, including a fatal motorbike crash in 2012, the Brighton Speed Trials continued, with city councillors voting in favour of its continuation in 2014.
However, a crash in 2022 resulted in damage to the newly constructed Sea Lanes units, adding to the challenges faced by the event. Regarded by many as the world’s longest-running motor race, the Brighton Speed Trials have been an integral part of automotive history for over a century.
As the news of the cancellation reverberates through the motoring community, questions arise about the future of historical events in the face of evolving safety standards and changing urban landscapes. The end of the Brighton Speed Trials serves as a poignant reminder of the delicate balance between tradition, safety, and financial viability in the realm of motorsports.