THOUSANDS gathered to watch cars and motorbikes blitz up and down the seafront for the annual Brighton Speed Trials.

Spectators were treated to the sight of dozens of vintage muscle cars and motorcycles glistening in the Saturday sunshine as they waited to burn rubber along Madeira Drive.

The historic event, which has been a part of Brighton’s makeup since 1905, was a family-friendly affair, with many bringing their children along for the day out.

Tim Sanpher brought his son Johnny along to watch the mean machines hit speeds of up to 120mph in the 400-metre sprint.

Tim, 52, said: “Since we moved to Brighton ten years ago we always try to get down.

“It is a fun boys’ day out, and we mainly come for the motorbikes.

“We’re by the sea for it as well - it’s just perfect, especially when the weather holds out like this.”

Young Johnny, 11, got behind the wheel of one of the muscle cars on display, much to his delight.

He said: “I thought I was going to set off when I revved the engine - it made an amazing noise. My favourite thing about coming here is seeing all the cool cars, as it would be for any boy.”

Johnny is also looking at making motorsport a hobby of his, too.

“I already feel like I’m ready to drive,” he said.

There was a range of cars on show at Madeira Drive, from vintage muscle cars such as Dodge Polaras to a souped-up Skoda Fabia.

Spectators were in awe of what was on offer at the event, which is run by Brighton and Hove Motor Club.

Nikki Hooper, from Storrington, watched on as her son, William Mace, rode the oldest motorcycle on the race cards, a 1921 Sunbeam Sprint.

She said: “It’s so exciting, but I get quite nervous. As it’s an old bike, you wonder if it’s going to take off at the same time as the rest.

“I think the brilliant thing about this event is it can inspire young people to get involved in motorsports. It’s great fun.”

After his race, William, 30, said: “You get a good buzz when you race in a sprint. I usually do hill climbing which is very different, so this was fun. The Brighton Speed Trial is a good event for the community, and it is cool of the council to let it go on down here each year.”

William said his father got him involved in racing in his early 20s, and he has not looked back.

He gave advice to young people looking to get started in the sport, saying: “Just get out there and give it a go. Find yourself an old bike and somewhere to practice.”

l See more pictures of the action on pages 16 and 17.