Category:Brighton Speed Trials

From The Brighton Toy and Model Index

The Brighton Speed Trials, held at Madeira Drive, Brighton, are supposed to be the oldest and longest-running motor speed trial event in the world, and consist of a "quarter-mile sprint" along the seafront road.

The Motor Sports Association (MSA) are responsible for the event, Brighton and Hove Motor Club (BHMC) organise the main car section of the trials, and entering motorbikes into the "two-wheeler" part of the event is done via the Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC)

The Speed Trials usually take place on the second Saturday of September, but not always: in 2018 they took place on Saturday September 1st.


Madeira Drive was considered a perfect venue in 1905 for speed trials – as an entirely artificial surface, built on stone, to prevent the sea from reaching and undermining the seawall, it was long, flat, straight, ultra-stable, it could be sealed off from general traffic without causing any trouble, there were no adjacent houses and few adjacent businesses ... and as it was owned by the Council rather than being a public highway, it was arguably a private road, and therefore immune to the 20mph speed limits imposed by the Motor Car Act 1903.

The idea that anyone else would spend a substantial amount of money to build a long, straight section of stone-foundationed private road that wasn't actually needed for traffic, and was also conveniently overlooked by terraces capable of holding thousands of onlookers was highly improbable, all that was needed was for the road to be coated with the exciting new new "tarmacadam" or "tarmac" road-surface material (patented by Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1902), and it would be ideal for speed trials.

Sir Harry Preston made the case to the town council that tarmac-ing the road (not called Maderira Drive until ~1909) would make it suitable for public road-racing events, they agreed, and the first Speed Trials took place in July 1905.

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Media in category ‘Brighton Speed Trials’

The following 4 files are in this category, out of 4 total.