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Chasing a 90-Year-Old Record at the Brighton Speed Trials

by Sam Jemielity

Britain has amassed more than three times the F1 prizes than its nearest rival, and ten different British drivers have taken 15 world championships. But it wasn’t always so. The Brits had to overcome red tape, political obstacles, a road-racing ban, draconian speed limits and apathy to become a motorsports giant.

In 1902, at Bexhill-on-Sea, British motor racing was born thanks to Gilbert Sackville, the 8th Earl De La Warr. The chairman of the Dunlop Tire company hosted a road race on the private cycle path along the Bexhill sea front, and private land was exempt from Britain’s speed limits. Fans flocked to the event to see cars tearing up and down the sea shore. At the time, French dominated road racing and a Frenchman set the fastest time of the day, when Monsieur Leon Serpollet drove his steam-powered Easter Egg above 54 miles per hour.

In July 1905, the Brighton Speed Trials debuted, and still exists today, the oldest running motorsports event in the world. In this video, the Carfection team goes to the Brighton Speed Trials in a Morgan three-wheeler, and attempts to break the 90-year-old course record for the (then) fasting standing quarter mile: 16.4 seconds. See if they can top the record in the video.

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