L-R: Steve Wells (competitor), Malcolm Smith (Isle of Wight Car Club), and Joseph Keele-Toms (Solent)


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A brand new motorsport event, one of the first of its type to be held on public roads in England, is heading to Sandown on the Isle of Wight next year, it has been announced today (Friday).

Up to 120 competitors in a variety of vehicles are expected to descend on the Island over the weekend of 28th-29th March 2020 for ‘Sandown Sprint’ – set to be the first closed-road motorsport event held on the Isle of Wight in decades.

The concept of the Sandown Sprint was first put forward by Solent to the Isle of Wight Car Club in December 2017 after a change in national legislation to allow racing on public roads. The 2 bodies have since been working together to develop the idea with input from a number of motor racing experts.

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Competitors will aim to set the fastest run time along Culver Parade, between Fort Street and Yaverland Car Park, to take the Isle of Wight Speed Trials title for 2020. The event will be part of the ACSMC Speed Championship.

Tim Addison from Solent, Promoter of the event, comments:

“It has been a long road, but after many months of talks with local businesses and organisations, we have successfully submitted our application to Motorsport UK (the sport’s governing body). A team recently visited the Island for a full inspection of the proposed track and has now given our plans a green light.”

As part of its overall evaluation, Motorsport UK also undertook a formal consultation process which included the Isle of Wight Council, Island Roads, Sandown Town Council and the Island’s Safety Advisory Group.

Sandown Bay will play host to the Isle of Wight Speed Trials

Malcolm Smith, Chairman of the well-established Isle of Wight Car Club, says:

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“Our members are very excited at the prospect of being able to host the Sandown Sprint. The approval of the Highways Authority is vital to the process and we are most grateful to both the Council and Island Roads for the support they have demonstrated.

“Many of our members will be looking forward to competing alongside those that we expect to join us from the mainland. There are very few races of this type in the UK.”

An aspect that makes the Sandown Sprint unusual is that it will be open to spectators, as the seawall along Culver Parade provides an elevated vantage point.

Tim adds:

“Our aim is to run a safe and enjoyable sprint for the competitors, that is also great fun to watch. Sandown not only provides a spectacular backdrop for the racing, but the enormous advantage of being able to allow visitors to safely enjoy the action”.

Local businesses alongside the track in Sandown have been involved at various stages of planning, but now the organisers are looking to widen the net and get more of them involved.

Malcolm continues:

“There’s a few areas where we still need some help. For example, we require a quantity of large straw bales to complete the track at a time of the year when there’s not too many about. Hopefully we can encourage a number of local farmers to set some aside for us to borrow for the weekend.

“We will also need a number of track and spectator marshals, so anyone who would like to be involved should get in touch, as we’d love to hear from them.”

The course will run from The Bandstand at Fort Street to Yaverland Car Park near the Isle of Wight Zoo

Pathe Newsreels still provide a record of motor rallies and sprints being held on public roads on the Isle of Wight in the 1950s, in places like The Cascade in Ventnor and the Esplanade in Sandown. Once the national speed limits were introduced in the 1960s all of this was inadvertently outlawed until a recent change in the legislation.

Tim concludes:

“There’s been a campaign to bring back motorsport like this for the past 50 years and now we could see the Island leading the way. It’s a bit like the Isle of Man, where the UK speed limits were never introduced and motor racing flourishes, but on a much smaller scale to start with.

“The format of the Sandown Sprint is similar in style to the Goodwood Festival of Speed, but it really needs to work for everyone, especially local residents and businesses.

“If successful it would be great to see how we can build on it in the future”.

More information will be made available as the weeks and months progress at https://isleofwightspeedtrials.co.uk/.

If you are interested in competing or marshalling contact the IW Car Club via the event website or https://iowcc.co.uk/. Businesses wishing to get involved can contact David Brooks at Solent on 01983 556844 or [email protected].

Island Echo is proud to be supporting this event in 2020.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Don't tell him pike.

Brilliant news .Can’t wait .


Should be brilliant…. as long as no one complains….. again!

Martin Ryde

Who’s going to be first say “more bad driving on the isle of wight” lol .. This should be good, I’m definitely going..


Great stuff


Not the first public closed road event for 50 years though, I remember hill climb events up Ventnor cascade when I was younger (I’m not close to 50 yet!)
Good news though I’m looking forward to it, IOWTT next then?

Andy Forman

Definitely late 70s. Possibly very early 80s


Finally something that will actually be worth watching/going to on the island!

John Dixon

I’m looking forward to watching this. I have one concern only. Has there been any form of consultation or impact study regarding the noise disturbing the animals in the zoo? These events can be pretty loud…

Nigel Tuck

Brilliant, well done Tim what a great idea! There will, of course, be complaints from the usual sources but ignore them. I will be there to watch.


Halleluliah! .Hopefully thats one good road surface to be garuanteed!


Will there be public consultation regarding this event, I am also assuming permission is require from the council to close the road.


This is great news i am cleaning my Reliant Robin as we speak.

Snowy Rowe

Hi, it would be nice if island roads finished the road surface. Rather than stopping at browns golf course. The rest of the road is enough to shake these cars to bits. What is reasoning in only doing half a job.

Sam Allpass

Most important the surface is a sound stretch of tarmac if decent cars are to be attracted


What about Browns,golf are they closed


Probably and the Zoo, no one will be able to get there. That’s if it goes ahead, if it’s windy they will be sand blasted! Happy Days

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