Good news, despite the best efforts of the Green leadership of Brighton Council, the Conservative and Labour opposition members united (strange bed fellows) to approve the continuation of the historic Brighton Speed Trials. Members were impressed by the amount of support the organisers received in opposing the Green’s plans and were also swayed by the potentially adverse impact that ending of the Speed Trials would have had on the economy of Brighton. This years event will now go ahead on the 13th September and I will be driving the MG SV and trying to better the time I set in 2012. Do come and support the Brighton and Hove Motor Club who put on a terrific show.

Advertisements

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

Today I should have been taking part in the last event of my season, a sprint at Castle Coombe Race Circuit. Unfortunately I left my application too late and did not get an entry for what is always an oversubscribed event.  Its a real shame as the SV is perfectly suited to fast circuits like Coombe and I am sure I would have done quite well.

Looking back over the season I can see some improvement in my driving as I slowly got use to the car. Sprints and hill climbs are not like circuit racing – you get far less track time and as such it takes longer to learn the peculiarities of car.  Whilst I had two coaching sessions at Bruntingthorpe proving ground I suspect I should have done some track days – there is no substitute for track time. Still, any improvement is good and if I can get a couple of track days in before next season begins I should do a lot better in the championship that I race in, the MG Car Club Luffield Speed Championship.  Below are some photos from the season.

Image

On the start line at the Farnborough and District Motor Club’s Rushmoor Sprint, Aldershot, April.

Crystal Palace Sprint - May 2013 -1

At the splendid Sevenoaks and District Motor Club Crystal Palace Sprint, London’s only competitive motor sport event.

Image

At the Brighton and Hove Motor Club’s Goodwood Sprint, August. The mocked up Earl’s Court building was being prepared for the Goodwood Revival Meeting in September.

Image

Exiting the chicane at Goodwood.Image

Fast grey British engineering genius, and the Harrier isn’t too bad either. Bruntingthorpre Proving Ground, September.

Prescott c 2013

At speed at Prescott Hillclimb

Image

In the paddock at Prescott Hillclimb, October. The Beast is parked next to a new works MG3.