It is commonplace for motorsport commentators to contrast with disdain modern Tilke-dromes, (Abu Dhabi and Korea), with venues with racing heritage such as Silverstone, Monza and Monaco. Certainly there is something about a venue with proper history – spectators may feel it and drivers certainly can. Driving Goodwood or Shelsey Walsh gives me a greater thrill than some modern venues such as Rockingham.

Forty years before the chequered flag first fell at Silverstone, Brighton hosted one of the first competitive motor sport events in the the UK – and one of the earliest in the world. The Speed Trials have continued in various forms, World Wars excepted, ever since. But that heritage is now under threat. Following the tragic death of Charlotte Tagg at the event in 2012 (see my blog below) the Green Party run Brighton and Hove City Council has announced that it is reviewing the future of the event. Whilst the Council say they are not motivated by ideology they have made it clear that they are no friends of the motor car. Indeed one of their spokesmen stated that such speed events had no place in “modern Brighton”.

The Beast at the Brighton Speed Trials in 2008

The Beast at the Brighton Speed Trials in 2008

I have been competing at Brighton for over 6 years. It is the only time I go to Brighton and when I do (often with my family) I have calculated I spend on average £300. Assuming similar levels of spending by the 150 or so other competitors (bearing in mind that many travelling from further away stay the night), not to mention what is spent by the 3000 or so spectators who come to watch, I would estimate that the event contributes at least £100,000 to the local economy. Given the economic climate that Brighton finds itself in, can the Council really afford to turn away such spending?

The Brighton and Hove Motor Club, the organisers of the Speed Trials, have started an e petition on the Council’s website urging the Council to support the continuation of the event. Nearly 9000 people have signed. If you are concerned about preserving one of the world’s oldest motorsport events, please add your name to the petition.

http://present.brighton-hove.gov.uk/mgEPetitionDisplay.aspx?ID=410&RPID=11443570

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