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06-01-2014 Motorcycle Action Group (MAG) investigates the case for defending annual Brighton Speed Trials against potential cancellation.

Local motorcycling campaigners MAG have entered the fray over the contentious proposals to ban the Brighton Speed trials. The trials, held in the month of September, are amongst the longest running such events in the United Kingdom. First held in 1905, they have now been threatened with cancellation on the basis of the dangers the festival is said to present to participants and spectators. It is also claimed officials feel that the trials are not particularly good for the local economy, on account of businesses which must remain shut along the promenade while the trials take place.

MAG’s Political Officer for the South East, Joe Greening, has been watching the debate closely. ‘At first sight, it seems wrong to ban such a long running and traditional part of the annual Brighton sporting calendar. However, we accept that some other factors also need to be taken into account. The safety aspects and financial ones are clearly relevant. But there’s actually an underlying reason why all of this is a problem.

‘Essentially, the road surface and surrounding infrastructure have been allowed to fall into disrepair, making parts of the viewing areas unsafe for spectators. It’s a great pity that so much of Brighton’s historical past has been allowed to decay like this – and, in truth, I believe the threat to the trials is a direct result of that. I’m following developments, and at present I tend to feel that, balancing up the factors, the best thing to do is to allow the event to continue, with the Council administering an immediate improvement to the road surface.’

Joe has been recommending that those who feel strongly about the matter should contact members of the committee. ‘I think that, by the time this appears in The Road (MAG's members' magazine), the decision will have been made. If people would like to know the outcome, they can find out by getting in touch with me. As things stand, it’s vexing to see another celebration of motor related sport suffering due to the lack of maintenance which has created a patchy road surface and unsafe buildings. It does make it seem unjust to punish the trials for other people’s sins of omission. In a very literal sense, you could say it’s the un-level playing field which is at the centre of the problem here.’

MAG’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs, Lembit Öpik, has echoed Joe’s commentary. ‘Joe’s taken a very informed look at the issues surrounding the trials. He’s totally right to advise local members and others who support the event to make their views known to the committee. Personally, I don’t like seeing events like this being lost to a lack of maintenance and cold economic calculations. There are other historic and cultural reasons for this kind of festival. I know Joe and his colleagues will make a lucid and sensible contribution to the debate – and MAG (UK), which takes local decision-making very seriously, is here to support their judgement.’


Contact: 
Joe Greening on 01926 844 064
markjgreening7@virginmedia.com

Lembit Öpik on 01926 844 064 
public-affairs@mag-uk.org

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