A longstanding seafront event that draws thousands each year has been axed.

Brighton and Hove Motor Club said it has made the difficult decision to cancel Brighton Speed Trials to “protect” the club.

Chairman Brian Dyer said a mix of factors including the restoration of Madeira Terrace and safety concerns which sparked the loss of the motorbike aspect of the trials had meant the club had been running the event at a loss for years.

The popular event, held in Madeira Drive in Brighton, sees racing drivers battle it out to be the fastest.

Madeira Drive has hosted the Speed Trials since 1905 after resident Sir Harry Preston convinced the then town council to tarmac the road for motoring events.

“It’s been a hard decision but it’s an accumulation of things, mainly safety reasons,” said Mr Dyer.

“We’re quite restricted with the amount of people we can have in the paddock area because Madeira Terrace has been closed for quite a few years.

“We lost the motorbike part because we weren’t allowed to run them any more because of safety.

“It’s got to the stage where the club can’t afford to make any further losses.

“To prolong the longevity of the Brighton and Hove Motor Club we’ve had to make this decision to stop the speed trials.

“The committee of the club is very disappointed and upset with what has happened but it is unavoidable.”

Mr Dyer said the club would have had to put in place “very costly” concrete barriers this year to protect the new Sea Lanes swimming pool and the 19th century seafront arches.

“Those are huge additional costs which together with losing the motorbikes, amongst other things, has led to this decision,” he said.

“But mainly it’s the safety aspect. There’s no scope for error.”

The event was cancelled for a year after tragedy in 2012.

Charlotte Tagg, 38, was “ejected” from her motorbike sidecar and was killed.

In 2022, 88-year-old racer Jim Tiller lost control of his 1950 J2 Allard almost as soon as he left the starting line on Brighton’s Madeira Drive.

One of the wheels flew off and the car was wrecked when it ploughed into a lamp post in Madeira Drive.

Miraculously, the retired art teacher from Ringmer walked away without a scratch.

Mr Dyer did not rule out the event returning in the future in another location.

“We currently hold two successful sprints at Goodwood and a classic car show,” he said.

“We are looking at an additional event but we need to find locations.”