Claimed to be the oldest running motor race, the Brighton Speed Trials were first held in 1905 after Sir Harry Preston persuaded Brighton town council to tarmac the surface of the road adjacent to the beach between the Palace Pier and Black Rock in order to hold motor racing events. This stretch was renamed Madeira Drive in 1909 and the event has been held there since, normally on the second Saturday of September each year. In 1936 Motor Sport described the event as, “undoubtedly the most important speed-trials on the British Calendar.”
The event is currently run as a quarter mile sprint for both cars and motorcycles, held under the auspices of the Motor Sports Association. The event is organised by the Brighton and Hove Motor Club, with the Sprint Section of the Vintage Motorcycle Club in charge of the Motorcycles. Entrants run individually, although in earlier days vehicles would race side by side. This practice was stopped following a number of accidents. The course length has varied over the years, generally becoming shorter to keep terminal speeds manageable as cars have got faster. The speed trials form a unique event, where vintage and exotic classics meet the latest in street and racing cars. Public access is allowed to the paddock and start line ‘funnel’ allowing visitors to get much closer to the action than at most events.
Photographer Tim Scott of Fluid Images documented the 2010 edition of the Brighton Speed Trials. He offers the following 145+ images that capture the varied selection of cars that raced down Madeira Drive in Brighton, including a Jaguar C-Type; Dodge Viper; Ferrari F40; Bugatti Type 35 GP; Panhard Levasso; Allard, among many others. To see more of Tim’s work, visit fluidimages.co.uk.
Brighton Speed Trials 2010 – Photo Gallery