Driving Hastings forward 01424 205481
Posted by: In: Economy, events, Tourism 30 Jul 2014 Comments: 0 Tags: , ,

BEXHILL MotoFest brought a much needed boost to the local economy when over 3,000 motorcycles cavalcaded into town for the return of motorsport to its birthplace.

bexhill motofest 2014

Along other events in the area including the annual Mayday Run into Hastings which this year attracted over 41,000 bikes BEXHILL MotoFest showed that motorcycle tourism is a real asset to the area and can be a driver for regeneration. The influx of bikers into BEXHILL didn’t only fill the cafes and shops of the main Devonshire Road but also gave an opportunity for companies such as Hastings Print to benefit through sponsorship of the Moto Gymkhana arena.

Motorcycle tourism is a one of the few growth areas in leisure lifestyle travel and 1066 Country has fantastic business opportunities to benefit from the boom. The area is already well known globally for its niche motorcycle engineering base with companies like Jake Robins Vintage of Ponswood building bikes for the likes of Hollywood Chat show host Jay Leno, Bexhill based Oset  being the innovators of the first all electric trials bikes to win National Championships and Hastings based moped importers Tomos all benefitting from the mini boom .

Bike 1066, the founders of BEXHILL MotoFest are a local company that was established by former TV producer Howard Martin to build motorcycle tourism in the area. Howard says; “The real benefit of motorcycle tourism to the area is that the  woefully neglected local transport links can be turned to a business advantage with bikers actually appreciating the narrow twisty roads and lack of motorways. Poole in Dorset, that is of similar size and demographic to Hastings and Bexhill, estimates that motorcycle visitors are worth £7m to the local economy annually.”

Businesses in Hastings should build on this local asset and embrace the Round Pound as a potential driver for leisure lifestyle regeneration.


The Hastings May Day Run which has been going for over 35 years is a much loved and great day out for locals and visitors from all over as well, even more so if you have a passion for motorbike.

We have some statistics from the organisers of the event and they gave us some insights in to what this one day event does for the local economy.

Hastings May Day Run 2

96,000 people attended the Hastings May Day Run in 2014

The first thing that may surprise you is that the amount of people who came specifically for the event hit a record 41,000 motorcycles in the town on the day based on Police camera records which is a 30% increase from last year. That’s a lot of people and for some it might seem hard to imagine that the towns population goes up by nearly 50%.

To truly understand these numbers we recommend (next year, of course) that you stand near the castle on the West Hill which will give you a commanding view down toward the Stade all you will see is a sea of bikes and people and then it out in to perspective.

Overall 96,000 people entered the town centre between 0900 and 1700 when the BSB live from Oulton Park was on the big screen which is more than the entire population of Hastings itself!

The event has now surpassed the world famous Isle of Man TT as well in numbers of bikers who attend. the seafront stretch had bikes taking up every available space for two miles.

The organisers estimate that the Spring Run is worth over £2m to the local economy with traders enjoying a bumper day in fast food sales and incidentals as well as fuel and associated products.

There were stalls throughout the event selling anything from £10 bike gloves to £900 custom helmets as well as more dealers offering test rides etc than any other one day coastal show in the country.

While the great weather obviously helped it was also noticed that Spring Opener has now blossomed from being a regional event into a major national motorcycle festival with bikers now travelling from all over the country including large contingents from the West Midlands and Newcastle Upon Tyne.

The event itself does attract locals but they now only make up 20% of the visitors on the day this means that most of the money generated on the day has come from sources outside the area which provides a great financial boost for the town.

If you missed the event, don’t worry as there will be a new event on the 27th July at the Bexhill Motofest which you can find out about here including details on sponsorship.

Hastings May Day Run

The Hastings May Day Run had 41,000 bikes spread over two miles of the seafront