Motorbikes will not be able to take part in this year’s Brighton Speed Trials on Madeira Drive

Motorbikes will not be able to take part in this year’s Brighton Speed Trials, organisers have said.

Brighton Speed Trials on Madeira Drive
Brighton Speed Trials on Madeira Drive

The annual event usually sees more than 200 cars and motorbikes line up to take a timed run down Madeira Drive, reaching high speeds, in front of thousands of spectators.

But this year there will be no bikes, after the Auto Cycle Union (ACU) – the body which grants a track certificate and permit for the event – decided it could not be issued on safety grounds.

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In a post on social media, an event spokesman said: “The ACU inspected the track and have decided that on the grounds of safety, a track certificate and permit cannot be issued this year.

“Some of the reasons given were the green painted cycle lane the red painted pedestrian crossings.

“There are projections which have been moved during recent works and are a cause for concern, to name a few, however, they have promised to proactively be in contact with the City Council to try to resolve these issues as they are keen to help us run in 2022.”

Len Wooler, chairman of Brighton and Hove Motor Club, which runs the event, said it was ‘very much a shame’ but the situation was ‘out of our control really as a club’.

Cars are still permitted to take part as their permit is granted by a different body, Motorsport UK. In order to satisfy the organisation, Len said the club had to put in place extra security measures – including hiring 48 concrete blocks to act as a barrier at a cost of £6,000.

Overall this year, he estimates the event will run at a loss of £8,000 to £10,000.

However he said: “We are prepared to do that. If we didn’t run this year, I don’t think we would ever run again. This event has been running since 1905 on and off. We really need to keep it running.”

He hopes the issues with respect to bikes will be resolved ahead of next year’s event.

A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman said it was aware that the ACU had refused a licence for motorcycles and said it had ‘every right to err on the side of caution when making such decisions’. “We have provided licensing bodies with expert evidence on Madeira Drive road surfaces and we have not been informed of the detail relating to the decision of the Auto Cycle Union,” the spokesman said. “We hope to welcome motorcycles back to the Speed Trials in 2022.”