On Sunday 7th November, the RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run 2021 will celebrate its 125th anniversary. But, for a while there had been some scepticism around whether Brighton would continue to host motoring events at all.
After the restrictions of Covid-19 and the changes it brought in, some were suggesting that motoring events would be unlikely to take place in future. Thankfully, however, Brighton & Hove City Council decided that special events would still go ahead.
“Madeira Drive has a long history of hosting key events in the city including the Brighton Marathon, the London to Brighton Bike Ride and the Veteran Car Run, and we fully support those events returning stronger than ever before,” said Gary Wilkinson, deputy chair of the Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee. “They are an iconic part of the city’s culture and success and we look forward to them being part of our city’s future for years to come.”
Brighton is privileged to be the finishing line for a number of the highest profile driving events in the country. Whether you’re a classic car enthusiast or you love seeing what the future has to hold for electric vehicles, there are some incredible motoring events to enjoy in Brighton during the year.
RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run
Undoubtedly one of the most iconic events on the South Coast, RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton Veteran Car Run celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2021 – making it the world’s longest running motoring event.
Taking place on the first Sunday in November, the run starts off at London’s Hyde Park and snakes its way down the A23 before officially finishing at Brighton’s Preston Park. However, the cars then head to Madeira Drive on the seafront.
The run is only open to cars that were built before 1905. It certainly makes for a unique and interesting sight.
London to Brighton Modern Classic Car Run
Another London to Brighton event that is rising enormously in popularity is the Modern Classic Car Run which takes place annually in June.
“We are often asked to refurbish cars specifically for the modern classic car run,” says Simon Haynes of John Haynes Mercedes, a specialist in repairs and refurbishment for pre and post 1995 Mercedes-Benz models, “it’s a really fantastic event that attracts some truly spectacular modern-classic-era cars”.
This summer event attracts more and more visitors each year, especially as these showcase cars are becoming rarer on the roads.
Speed Trials on Madeira Drive
Another city institution, the Brighton National Speed Trials is commonly celebrated as the oldest running motor race in the world. First held back in 1905, it has always taken place on the stretch of road in Brighton known as Madeira Drive. The Speed Trials generally take place on the second Saturday of September.
The trials take place across a number of categories including road cars and modified production models, through to high powered sports cars and purebred racers. After a day of timed runs, the event ends with top six run offs.
Sussex-based company QS Tuning were big winners at this year’s event, picking up Fastest Car in Class. “It’s such a historic event,” said Alex Collins, the driver for QS Tuning, “I remember as an eight or nine year old going to it with my Grandad and looking round all the cars and thinking ‘wow, this is amazing’”.
London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally
The popularity of the RM Sotheby’s London to Brighton rally has naturally attracted imitators and those looking to use the same format for their event. It is in that same spirit the London to Brighton Electric Vehicle Rally takes place in the summer. The next event is scheduled for early July 2022.
Electric vehicle enthusiasts and those simply interested in seeing the best eco-cars on the market can have a great time at this event. It is a different kind of showcase – promoting cars powered on eco-friendly energy and looking to the possibilities of the future.
Goodwood Festival of Speed
While not technically in Brighton, the Goodwood Festival of Speed takes place at the estate of Goodwood House in West Sussex around an hour’s drive away. This makes it a lovely day trip from the beaches of Brighton and an unforgettable day out if you have any kind of interest in cars or motor racing.
The main event of the festival is a hillclimb that sees historic racing cars in action, but there are also various showcases for different types of car, and even a rally stage.