Brighton Speed Trial petition signed by 8,000

Brighton Speed Trials
Image caption Brighton Speed Trials have been held on Marine Drive since 1905

Nearly 8,000 people have signed an online petition calling for one of the longest-running motorsport events in the UK to be allowed to continue.

Organisers of Brighton Speed Trials, first held in 1905, fear it could be scrapped because the city council has not yet approved it for this year.

Last year's speed trials were cancelled following the death in 2012 of co-rider Charlotte Tagg.

Brighton and Hove City Council said a decision had yet to be made for 2014.

Ms Tagg, 38, from Suffolk, was fatally injured when her motorcycle sidecar hit a wall at 100mph. Rider Roger Hollingshead suffered serious injuries.

A verdict of accidental death was returned at a jury inquest last year.

'Disastrous for community'

The event, held on the second weekend in September, sees thousands of people turn out to watch more than 200 cars and motorbikes take a timed run over a quarter of a mile course in Madeira Drive on the seafront.

Motor club committee member Ruth Reynolds said: "It would be disastrous for our community, for the heritage of motorsport and for local traders if it didn't go ahead.

"The council's official line has been that the event doesn't fit in with modern Brighton, but we would say that more than 7,000 people beg to differ."

The epetition, signed by 7,927 people, claims the end of the speed trials would be "the end of an era" for Brighton.

Mike Weatherley, Conservative MP for Hove and Portslade, said the speed trials were a local institution.

"I hope that the Green administration will take note of calls from residents to allow the event to continue," he said.

A spokesman for Green Party-led Brighton and Hove City Council said: "No decision has been made on this yet.

"Our economic development and culture committee will consider the matter on 23 January."

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