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In May 1902, the first races in Great Britain took place along the seafront in Bexhill on Sea. The races, which had been the brainchild of the Eighth Earl De La Warr with the assistance of the Automobile Club, later known as the RAC, took place at speed, back and forth from the top of Galley Hill to the Sackville Hotel. Over 200 vehicles from all over the continent took part and brought thousands of people to Bexhill to watch vehicles reaching speeds, the like of which had never seen before on British soil.


Distinguished names appeared on the entry list including Lord Northcliffe, the founder of the Daily Mail newspaper in his Mercedes, Monsieur Leon Serpollet in his steam driven car the 'Easter Egg', with the fastest speed of 54mph - the first French victory on British soil, and the indefatigable Mr. S. F. Edge, who ran his Napier against a large entry of French-owned Darracqs. Many other well known personalities of the day were also present.

Original speed trials 2 small.jpg

The huge success of the meeting encouraged the 8th Earl De La Warr to make Bexhill the motoring centre for the British racing drivers of the early 20th century. By 1906, plans were drawn up for a circuit almost reaching Beachy Head, with garages, restaurants and hotel accommodation. The course unfortunately never came to fruition and in 1907, the motoring set moved to the new circuit at Brooklands.


A few attempts were made to resurrect the races, and the last competition was held in 1925 after which the Royal Automobile Club withdrew permits for speed competitions on public highways in Great Britain.

The Bexhill 100 Festival of Motoring

Between 1990 and 2002, The Bexhill 100 Festival of Motoring recreated the feel of past events in the form of seafront runs to Galley Hill, and were supported by a number of celebrities over the years.

In May 1995, Bexhill on Sea was recognised as the Birthplace of British Motor Racing

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