The future of the country’s oldest motorsports event is set to be secured thanks to the support of thousands of people.
Brighton Speed Trials was first held in Madeira Drive, Brighton in 1905 but was cancelled last year after the death of a competitor in 2012.
With safety concerns putting its future at risk, more than 12,000 people signed a petition calling on Brighton and Hove City Council to reinstate the event.
The final decision will be made at a key town hall meeting on Wednesday (Jan 23), when opposition councillors are set to join forces to give Brighton and Hove Motor Club permission to use the seafront strip.
This is despite town hall officials admitting there are still safety concerns about holding an event where vehicles travel at speeds of more than 120mph on a public highway.
Green councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chairman of the council’s economic development committee, said: “This is not anti-car or anti-internal combustion engine, it’s purely safety concerns raised by the city’s Safety Advisory Group.”
Coun Bowden, who used to work in PR for a motorcycling organisation, added there was an issue with the council being liable for damages if there are any future incidents and the surface is found to be faulty.
But both Conservative and Labour councillors on the committee said they would listen to the pleas of the 12,262 who signed an online petition supporting the event.
Among the backers are international best-selling author Peter James and Formula One legend Sir Stirling Moss.
Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown said: “The huge number of signatures just goes to show what a big mistake the Greens have made in trying to scrap this much-loved historic event.
“The safety argument they are trying to use to discredit the event is just a smokescreen.”
Labour councillor Brian Fitch said: “It’s important that decisions are made for the good of the city.
“I think it’s an amazing petition.
“They certainly deserve the credit for the effort they have made but, more importantly, it has shown us as politicians the interest there is in this particular event and it makes sense that it continues.”
Officials added even if an event receives initial landlord’s consent, it does not mean it will necessarily take place as it also needs licenses from relevant safety bodies.
One of the steps it could recommend is resurfacing the road, which would cost the local taxpayer £100,000.