Brighton & Hove Motor Club

Entering the Brighton Speed Trials in your car; a beginners' guide.

So you have never done anything like this before, and you'd like to come and take part in the Brighton Speed Trials and zoom your car along the seafront in front of everyone. How do you go about it?

It's simple really, but the first time I did it I had to ask lots of questions of people who did it already, and I was lucky enough to know several. But say you don't know anyone; what do you do? Thats why I have written this guide, to try and make it easy for you to join in with the petrol-headed goodness.

Simple Checklist:

  1. Join the Brighton & Hove Motor Club
  2. Get a Speed National B Licence from the MSA
  3. Get the right clothing
  4. Get numbers and a timing strut for your car
  5. That's it!

So, lets get started:

1. Join the Brighton & Hove Motor Club

This is the easiest step! See our Membership page for joining information, it only costs £20 for a year.

BHMC licence


2. Get a Speed National B Licence from the MSA

The Speed Trials is a Sprint Event run under the rules of the MSA (Motor Sports Association). So you need a licence from them to take part.

Go to the MSA site at, click on Competitors at the top of the site, and run through the online application for a Speed Non-Race National B.


I haven't done this online thing; I had to download it and post it off (which you can still do). But I would advise doing it online as I assume it will not let you continue if you haven't ticked everything you should, whereas back when I did it by post and forgot to tick one single box, they sent the whole thing back! This added weeks to the process, so I'd recommend the online route.

Once done you wait a while (so don't leave it until the last minute; there's a reason its near the top of the list) and then you get your Competition Licence, accompanied by the all-important Blue Book. More on this later.

MSA licence


3. Get the right clothing

You also need a few other things, items of specific clothing.

You'll need approved overalls (a 'race suit') and an approved crash helmet. As of 2010 you will also need approved gloves.

'blue steel' or 'magnum'?

Do not assume that your crash helmet from your motorbike will be approved; most are not. As of 2010 the motorbike helmet I was using is no longer compliant, which means I needed to buy another helmet purely for car racing. I chose the cheapest I could find at the time, which was the open-face type 'V2 Tour' from here, £129 as I write this.

For the Race Suit and Gloves we've partnered with Demon Tweeks who will give 10% discount to anyone entering the Speed Trials. Ask for Craig Couzens, or his direct line is 01978 663029. The cheapest Race Suit available from them at the moment is the OMP Sport which is £225 with the discount, and the cheapest gloves are the OMP First S for £44.


4. Get numbers and a timing strut for your car

Your car will need to pass scrutineering for it's class. If your car is road legal and is taxed and MOT-ed then you ought to have no problems with scrutineering. Bring your MOT, though its unlikely you'll be asked for it if your car is in good condition and obviously roadworthy.

Normally for road cars, the only modification necessary is the fitment of a timing strut to the front. It breaks the beam of light at the start and the end of the run. Here is quite a nice one:

timing strut

You can make this from just about anything. My car sports a particularly classy version made from a used plasterer's tray, zip ties and gaffer tape.

Then you just need some numbers for the side of your car. You can get these from Demon Tweeks or elsewhere. Or you can make them on the day from electrical tape because you forgot them. I have nice magnetic white number boards which just stick to the side of the car; I stick the self-adhesive numbers on these. This saves getting sticky residue on the car doors.


5. That's it!

Well, almost. Next you just have to fill the forms in and apply. You'll be entering the Handicap class, with all sorts of other cars:

four different cars in handicap

You'll get one practice run, and one timed run. You'll be finished before lunchtime which actually makes a nice day as you can spend the afternoon wandering around looking at all the nice machinery and watching them complete their runs.


Doing all of the above will not guarantee you a place at the Speed Trials. You might want to confirm you've got in before you buy all of the clothing...