The future is looking much brighter for Brighton car events, with Brighton and Hove City Council pledging that motoring events like the Brighton Speed Trials, London to Brighton Veteran Car Run and various others will continue to take place on the historic Madeira Drive seafront road.
There had been fears that motoring events would be a thing of the past following the closure of the road to motorised traffic to give people more space to run and cycle during lockdown. Thanks to the efforts of Brighton & Hove Motor Club and the backing of car and bike enthusiasts nationwide, a petition calling for the drive to reopen had gained around 10,250 signatures. It was due to be debated by councillors just as we went to press, together with an opposing petition to keep it closed to traffic, which has attracted fewer than 3300 signatures.
Thankfully, it looks like good news regardless. After Brighton and Hove’s Conservatives raised concerns about the future of the many motoring events that take place on Madeira Drive, the Labour administration said they would be reviewed in the autumn. However, it has since pledged that they will return “stronger than ever before” even if the road were not otherwise reopened.
On July 15, Gary Wilkinson, deputy chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee said: “They are an iconic part of the city’s culture and success and we look forward to them being part of our city’s future for years to come.
“While the temporary road closure remains in place, Madeira Drive will be open and available when necessary to host these events in both the short and long term. We will continue to work with event organisers to ensure a full programme can return to Madeira Drive in a healthier, stronger and safer city.”
A programme of events is set to be brought to committee in September, but Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth is already claiming victory for his motion to keep historic motoring events going at the location. “It’s a win for the Old Crocks, the Speed Trials, the Mods, The Rockers, the Minis and all of the other loved motoring events that take place on Madeira Drive,” he said.
Sadly, it could take some time for normality to return, with the Speed Trails scheduled for September this year no longer taking place. After consultation with Brighton & Hove City Council’s Outdoor Events Office, organiser Brighton and Hove Motor Club has decided to put it on a one-year hiatus.
Steeped in history, the event first ran in 1905 and is one of the oldest motorsport events in the world. Thankfully, it’s set to take return on September 4, 2021, subject to confirmation.