Speed by the sea

Poking round the pits at the 2016 Brighton Speed Trials

Speed by the sea

THE BRIGHTON National Speed trials first took place in 1905 and often considered to be the longest running motor event in the UK.

Held on Madeira Drive, the Brighton Speed Trials is always a good place to spot an eclectic mix of bikes of all ages; with everything from the classic Velocettes to forced-induction Hayabusas turning up to tear down the beachfront road.

We haven’t been for a few years and with the weather looking decent, we rode down to this year's event, held held last Saturday, to grab a coffee and a bacon sandwich before going for a mooch round the pits. Here’s some of what we saw.

Craig Mallabone, Suzuki Hayabusa turbo

‘This bike won in 2012, 2014 and 2015. It’s running a Garrett GT35 turbo with new pistons, a load of head work, lock-up clutch, Carillo rods and it’s got a Spondon swing arm. Mechanically, it’s nearly old school compared to the kind of turbo setups that are available now but it works well – my best time here is 8.85 seconds with a terminal speed of 172mph, which I set last year. It makes 510hp, but we can’t use all that power here because the course it too rough so I’ve got the boost dialed back today, otherwise it just spins up and as it is, it’s still painting a black line on the road as I cross the finish line.’

John Bottomly, 1939 Velocette MOV/MAC

‘This is a 350cc engine, with BSA Gold Star valve springs and a new Mikuni carb – purists might not like that but it just works so I’m happy. It’s got a hand-made oil tank a patrol tank from a Suzuki, which I picked it up at an auto jumble. The front brake is from an early Gold Star. My best time here last year was 15.8 seconds with a terminal speed of 78mph and this year I’m hoping to hit over 80mph.’

Roger Simmons, Suzuki Hayabusa turbo

‘This bike has the course record here and I’ve built it specifically to take part in street events. I live 30 minutes away so coming here is a chance to get up late, turn up and go fast. This is a bit of fun for me and I only do these street events. I like the Speed Trials because it’s a bit off the wall and really relaxed; where else can you get an ice cream and a beer in the pits? I used to be the chief mechanic at Suzuki GB and looked after all the press bikes, and I’ve built this myself. It makes 450hp and has a typical turbo setup with Carillo rods, lock-up clutch and internal work.’

Des Lindsey, Yamaha RD500

‘The bike is built around a heavily modified RD500 frame, with Yamaha R6 forks and swingarm. The fairing is off Barry Sheene’s original TZ500 and is the reason I built the bike; after I bought these fairings, it seemed a shame to leave them hanging on a wall. It was fun to build – by day I’m an engineer with McLaren working on the road side of things and working on bikes is my hobby.’

Richard Albans, supercharged Suzuki Hayabusa

‘This bike makes 530hp and has been bored and stroked out to 1550cc, with new internals and clutch. I run TTS Performance and this is my supercharger system. The bike is wild and still spinning up as I’m crossing the line in sixth gear.’

'Turbo' Tim Boutle, Honda CX650 Turbo

'I’ve owned this since 1998. I’ve owned a lot of these, peaking with eight at one time. I like the performance and I like twin-cylinder bikes. It’s also got some history and when it first came out is was such a fast bike. I also prefer bikes with turbos, which is why I’ve also got a Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo. I’ve put a dump valve on this bike, it’s from a Ford RS2000. It’s also got NOS injection, but I’m not running that today. The nitrous system adds another 30hp. I’m also able to adjust the fuel pressure. Normally at Brighton I’m running about 12.5 second quarters at 110mph, but with NOS I can do 11.1 seconds and 135mph.’

Nigel Spencer, Harris Suzuki F1

'I’ve had this since 1991. The only time I get it out is to ride it here. The bike was built by Ian King, the top fuel drag racer, in 1987. Since he built it it’s changed colour. It’s 1080cc, with Cosworth pistons, Mikuni flat-sides, with a gas-flowed head and Yoshimura high-lift cams. It makes 140hp at the rear wheel.’

Elsewhere in the paddock

Roy Robertson's Egli-Vincent Rapide

David Harvery and his Kawasaki ZX-9R and David Hall with his Suzuki GSX-R1100

Herve Saigne and his Triumph Bonneville T140 Sprinter

Yamaha RD400, owned by Bernard Watson

Charles Boulanger and his Honda RC163

Alex and Richard Morgan on their Rudge Sprinters

Alan Randall on his Ducati 250 Mark 3

Colin Stannard's Bandit 1200 turbo

Ian Pollard's Ducati Desmosedici drew its fair share of attention

Andy Forward's race face, on board his 500cc Triumph 'Morado'

Tony Madgwick kickstarts his trick Weslake

Chris Payne inspects his Honda CBX1000 before his second run of the day

Roger Turner's Suzuki Katana was indeed very quick

Sadly, this wasn't competing...