Motoring Events in Brighton

Brighton, on the south coast of the UK, holds a range of interesting car and motorbike events each year. The home for most of them is Madeira Drive, which leads from the Pier towards the Marina along the top of the beach. This area is used for parking during the week, and for holding events like pop concerts, circuses, and being the destination for bike rides and many car based rallys during many weekends.

The National Speed Trials

The Speed Trials started in 1905, making it Brighton's oldest motoring event. It creates a drag strip on Madeira Drive and features the latest supercars, modern race cars - including modified road cars - and classic racers from bygone eras. Young and old drivers come to set a time, racing past the Regency arches holding up the promenade. It's loud, smelly, and great for anyone with an interest in cars.

Most recent trials have seen only one car race at a time, against the clock. Earlier events had two cars racing side by side, which was much more dramatic, but worries about the safety of racing near the Regency architecture, both for drivers and for the arches, has restricted the number of racers so everything is a little more safe.

The Trials are a pay-to-view event. You can try to see what's happening from the main road above the Promenade, but barriers are placed there to stop people hanging over the railings, which greatly restricts the view. Your view is also blocked by other people trying to see what's going on, and it can all be a bit disappointing. If you enjoy cars, pay and get an excellent view from much closer to them. You won't regret it.

Brightona Motorcycle Festival

A huge, free motorbike festival that started in 2007, featuring stunt shows, live music, trade stands and over 5,000 visitors. The event supports the Sussex Heart Charity, and is a great day for bike lovers and brings a wide cross section of riders and fans to the coast. As well as the big festival, Brightona hold various smaller events throughout the year.

London to Brighton Runs

The most famous London to Brighton is the annual bike ride, but many other groups also take the 50 mile journey from our capital down to it's favourite tourist destination. Different groups come through the spring, summer and autumn, including Jaguars, Minis, Land Rovers, old Volkswagens, and MG cars. The best known are the Veteran and Classic car runs.

Veteran Car Run

In 1896 the 'Emancipation Run' from London to Brighton celebrated the raising of the speed limit on roads from 4 to 14 mph, and removed the requirement to have a man with a red flag walk before your car. In 1927 the first formal re-enactment was held and since then every year a run from London to Brighton has commemorated the Emancipation Run. The vehicles entering the run must have been made before 1905, which means some are steam or electric driven (yes, electric cars are not a new invention!) The Veteran Run is held on the first Sunday of November.

The event is not a race, it's all about fun and survival, with many entrants dressing in period costume for the drive. All cars that reach Madeira Drive before 4.30pm receive a Finisher's Medal, and there are no other prizes. On the journey many drivers will help out others who have broken down, and this feels very much like a community event rather than a competition.

This is a very friendly event and is free to watch. Finishers are generally happy to talk you through the interesting aspects of their cars and tell a story or three. It's a little bit of living history and very family friendly.

Classic Car Run

A run for any car over 25 years old (so much more 'modern' than the Veteran cars), this run starts at Brooklands Museum and ends on Maderia Drive. You can see a huge range of cars and this is a must for any car buff who thinks they know their motors. Sharing the road and finish line are original Austin Healeys, MGs, E-type Jags, VW Beetles, Bentleys, even Austin Allegros.

If you like all sorts of historic cars, not just the expensive models, this is the event for you. This year the run is happening on Sunday June 10th.

Find out more about the London to Brighton runs on the Brighton & Hove council website.

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