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Peter James backs Brighton Speed Trials
Top-selling crime author Peter James is among thousands of people backing a bid to retain the world's oldest motorsports event.
More than 10,000 people have now signed a petition to Brighton and Hove City Council to restore the Brighton Speed Trials.
The event, which was first held in Madeira Drive, Brighton in 1905, did not take place last year after the death of a competitor in 2012.
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But with the local authority yet to approve an application to host the event in 2014, thousands have backed the bid to bring it back.
Among the supporters are international best-selling author Peter James and.Formula One legend Sir Stirling Moss and Peter James, who is a member of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club and a self-confessed petrolhead, said he would do “whatever he could” to support the campaign.
He said: “It's wonderful that Brighton has this great heritage of doing things first much to the envy of other towns and cities in the UK.
“Providing the crowd is safe, they should keep it.
“There are numerous examples of motoring events in urban areas, such as the Monaco grand prix and the Isle of Man TT race.”
In a letter to the council, Sir Stirling said: “For a town which prides itself in its history I find it difficult to understand how the council are considering abandoning one of the most prestigious autosport events in Europe.
“The speed trials are the longest running motorsport event in the UK and complement the equally prestigious London to Brighton Veteran Car Run. Both events are the envy of many countries lacking our traditions.
“The speed trials represent a rare opportunity for enthusiasts of all ages and their families to gather socially to enjoy a rare spectacle in a carefully managed environment.
“The setting in Brighton, with the beach and sea on one side and the splendid Victorian arches on the other, presents a unique backdrop which is very hard to beat for such an occasion.”
A council spokesman said the local authority could not comment any further until a decision was made by the council's economic development and culture committee at a meeting on January 23.
But speaking at a recent council meeting where the subject was debated, Green councillor Geoffrey Bowden, who is chairman of the committee, said: “Let's be clear, this has absolutely nothing to do with the ideology of this administration.
“It is for personal safety grounds that the officers have made this recommendation. “Businesses on the seafront also have to close and we are inundated with complaints from people who cannot access the beach [on that weekend].”
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