Brighton: Speed Trails – Right from the start


The Brighton Speed Trials was first held in 1905. Despite some testing tribulations, 114 years later, it’s still going on.

Words and photographs: Alan Turner

Local worthy Harry Preston was the catalyst who encouraged Brighton’s town council to establish Madeira Drive as Britain’s first dedicated motorsport venue.

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Could he have envisaged the Speed Trials first held in 1905 would still be taking place 114 years later?

The event was established as an annual occasion, but a variety of reasons have led to breaks in the sequence.

There were no problems this September though when the faithful were gathered on the sea-front course for another session of straight line competition, with spectators crammed into start-line enclosures and many more lining Marine Parade, getting a gull’s-eye view from the road that runs parallel to the course, but way above it.

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Brighton regular Richard Morgan gets tucked away on his 1930 Rudge, but it was not one of his better Speed Trials outings.

The motorcycle entry is traditionally courtesy of invitation by the Brighton & Hove Motor Club, the trials organiser for many years.

Class I is for pre-1972 machinery, the hunting ground for the vintage and classic wares.

The class award is for consistency, decided on achieving the narrowest of margins between the day’s two timed runs.

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Read more and view more images in the December 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now!

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