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Brighton is home to a number of interesting car and motorbike events every year, most of them based around Madeira Drive on the seafront just east of the pier and only a few minutes walk from our B&B. Usually used for parking, part or all of the Drive is closed off to host these and many other events including pop concerts and circuses.
Britain's oldest motor racing event, the Speed Trials started in 1905. It turns Madeira Drive in to a drag strip and everything from the latest and greatest supercars, modern race cars and classic racers come to Brighton to set their time, flashing past the Regency arches holding up the promenade. It's loud, smelly, and great for anyone interested in fast cars.
You have to pay to see the Trials properly. While you can look down on what's happening from the main road above, fencing is put up to stop anyone hanging over the normal railings, and you can see very little from there and you'll be surrounded by a crowd of other frustrated speed fans. Best to buy a ticket and experience it with a good view.
Find out more about the Trials at the Brighton and Hove Motor Club website.
Stunt shows, live music, trade stands, and boasting over 5,000 visitors, Brightona is a huge free motorbike festival that started in 2007. Supporting the Sussex Heart Charity, this is a great event for bike lovers and brings a great cross section of riders and fans to the coast. They hold various events through the year so check the Brightona website to see if they have something on when you're planning to visit.
Most famous because of the London to Brighton bike ride, many other groups take the 50-odd mile journey from our capital down to Brighton through the spring, summer and autumn. A full list can be found on the local council's website, these are some of the motoring ones:
Started in 1896, the 'Emancipation Run' from London to Brighton celebrated the raising of the speed limit on roads from 4 mph to 14, and abolished the requirement to have a man with a red flag walk before your car on foot. The entries for the run must be pre-1905 vehicles and are a real mixture, including steam and electric cars (yes, electric cars are not a new invention!)
Far from being a race, this run is about fun and survival. All cars that reach the end before 4.30pm receive a Finisher's Medal, there are no other prizes. Frankly, it's amazing some of them manage to leave their garages, let alone make a 50+ mile hike down to the coast!
This is a wonderful, friendly event and it's free to watch. You can mix with the finishers, who are always ready to give information about their cars and tell a story or three. Many wear period dress for the journey. It's a little bit of living history, and very family friendly. More info here.
Starting from Brooklands Museum and ending on Madeira Drive, this run is for any car over 25 years old. Some are much, much older than this and you get a huge range on the day, so you can see classic Bentley, a Volkswagen Beetle, an E-type Jaguar, and an Austin Allegro, all finishing after each other.
This is a must for any car fan, and is excellent for any buffs who really want to stretch their knowledge of spotting unusual cars. You can find out more on the Classic Car Run website.
Celebrating historic vehicles of all shapes and sizes, this shows off how cars and vans have been re-shaped to fulfil all manner of needs and requirements. Another excellent rally for people who enjoy history being kept alive.
There are London to Brighton runs for Jaguars (April), Austin Seven's (April), 2CVs (May) Minis (May), MG cars of all ages (May), Landrovers (October), and Volkswagen vans (and Beetles and other aircooled VWs) (October.)
If you're a car fan, there's a lot to see on Madeira Drive throughout the year. If you're only in to a particular make of car, or era, there's probably still something for you. As well as the official runs, many owners clubs use the area as a finish point for their own drives, thanks to it's motoring history.
If you want to come to Brighton and see one of these runs, please come and stay with us. We're a few minutes easy walk away, and we'd love to be your hosts for the trip. Please check out our range of standard, superior and deluxe rooms.
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