Not many people know this but Lewes used to havs its own Downland Motor Speed Trials.
The first meeting took place on July 27, 1924, on ‘a private road near Lewes’, leading to the racecourse.
The event was organised by the Brighton & Hove Motor Cycle and Light Car Club, on a quarter-mile course. Fastest time of the day was set by J.A. Hall, Frazer Nash-GN, in a time of 16.6 secs.
Speed trials were held on the Race Hill at Lewes three or four times a year from 1924 to 1939, at the instance of the Brighton & Hove MC, the Kent & Sussex LCC, the Bugatti Owners’ Club and the Vintage Sports Car Club.
In 1933 The Autocar reported: ‘The course bends slightly to the left,
is one-third of a mile long, narrow, none too smooth, and slightly uphill. It leads directly off the London-Newhaven road just before reaching Lewes.’
This picture, taken on August 20, 1938, shows an Austin 7 and an MG preparing to leave the start. Note the attendants, happily smoking their fags.