Pendine Sands, Wales


Pendine Sands

Pendine Sands

Pendine Sands

Pendine Sands

Pendine Sands

Pendine Sands
15 August 2011 - The Bluebird electric car, driven by Sir Malcolm Campbell's great-grandson Joe Wales, in a failed attempt to set a British speed record in an electric car

Pendine Sands
Photo taken in 1924, Malcolm Campbell is pictured at Pendine Sands, South Wales, Great Britain in his new Sunbeam which had 550 Horse Power. He set a new record by driving his new Blue Bird at 146.2 MPH (233.86 KPH).

Pendine Sands
On February 4, 1927, once again at Pendine Sands in England, Sir Malcolm set another International land speed record. This time he achieved 174.88 MPH (279.81 KPH), in his Bluebird Napier-Lion which had 12 cylinders and 450 Horse Power.

Pendine Sands
The attempt by Guilio Foresti on the Land Speed Record at Pendine Sands on 26th November 1927. Miraculously, Foresti survived.

Pendine Sands
This book is an illustrated account of Bob Berry's attempts at breaking the World Land Speed Record on Pendine Sands, 1946-60

Pendine Sands
on the sands between 1924 and 1927 the worlds land speed record was broken 5 times
1924, Malcom Campbell, Sunbeam, 146.16 mph
1926, Malcolm Campbell, Sunbeam, 150.87 mph
1926, J.G.P. Thomas, Thomas (BABS), 169.30 mph
1926, J.G.P. Thomas, Thomas (BABS), 171.02 mph
1927, Malcolm Campbell, Napier Campbell, 174.88 mph
Parry Thomas was killed at Pendine on March 3rd 1927 whilst attempting to regain the record. His friends then buried the car in the sand dunes. (photo 2003)

Pendine Sands is a 7-mile (11 km) length of beach on the shores of Carmarthen Bay on the south coast of Wales. It stretches from Gilman Point in the west to Laugharne Sands in the east. The village of Pendine is situated near the western end of Pendine Sands.

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In the early 1900s the sands were used as a venue for car and motor cycle races. From 1922 the annual Welsh TT motor cycle event was held at Pendine Sands. The firm flat surface of the beach created a race track that was straighter and smoother than many major roads of the time. Motor Cycle magazine described the sands as "The finest natural speedway imaginable".

In the 1920s it became clear that roads and race tracks were no longer adequate venues for attempts on the world land speed record. As record breaking speeds approached 150 mph (240 km/h), the requirements for acceleration to top speed before the measured mile and safe braking distance afterwards meant that a smooth, flat, straight surface of at least 5 miles (8.0 km) in length was needed. The first person to use Pendine Sands for a world land speed record attempt was Malcolm Campbell. On September 25, 1924 he set a world land speed record of 146.16 mph (235.22 km/h) on Pendine Sands in his Sunbeam 350HP car Blue Bird.

Four other record breaking runs were made on Pendine Sands between 1924 and 1927; two more by Campbell, and two by Welshman J. G. Parry-Thomas in his car Babs. The 150 mph (240 km/h) barrier was decisively broken, and Campbell raised the record to 174.22 mph (280.38 km/h) in February 1927 with his second Blue Bird.

On March 3, 1927 Parry-Thomas attempted to beat Campbell's record. On his final run while travelling at about 170 mph (270 km/h) the exposed drive chain broke and partially decapitated him; Babs went out of control and rolled over. Parry-Thomas was the first driver to be killed during a world land speed record attempt. This was the final world land speed record attempt made at Pendine Sands.

Parry-Thomas' car Babs was buried in the sand dunes near the village of Pendine. In 1969 Owen Wyn Owen, an engineering lecturer from Bangor Technical College, sought and received permission to excavate Babs. Over the next 15 years he restored the car, which is now housed in the Museum of Speed in Pendine village.

In 1933 Amy Johnson and her husband, Jim Mollison, took off from Pendine Sands in De Havilland DH.84 Dragon G-ACCV 'Seafarer' to fly non-stop to New York. Blown off course, they landed down-wind in the dark at Bridgeport, Connecticut after flying for 39 hours over a distance of 3,300 miles at an average speed of 85 mph, overshot, and were both seriously injured in the crash.

During the Second World War the Ministry of Defence acquired Pendine Sands and used it as a firing range. The beach is still owned by the Ministry of Defence; prominent signs warn of the dangers of unexploded munitions and public access is restricted. Monday to Friday part of the beach is closed off because of MOD operations.

In June 2000 Don Wales, grandson of Malcolm Campbell and nephew of Donald Campbell, set the United Kingdom electric land speed record at Pendine Sands in Bluebird Electric 2, achieving a speed of 137 mph (220 km/h).

Top Gear filmed a review as part of the fifth episode of their fourth season, and returned to film a second review for the first episode of the fifth season. Scrapheap Challenge used the beach as the venue for the challenge in Season 10, Episode 1, aired in 2008.

Today Pendine Sands is sometimes used as a stage in rally car events, although spectator access is limited for safety reasons. It is also a popular venue for kite buggying and homebuilt hovercraft.

Between 9 July 2004 and May 2010 all vehicles were banned from using Pendine due to safety concerns, however since May 2010 cars have again been allowed access.

Records Set at Pendine Sands

Date Location Driver Driver Country Vehicle Power Speed over
1 Km
Speed over
1 Mile
September 25, 1924 Pendine Sands, Wales Sir Malcolm Campbell Great Britain 350hp Sunbeam Blue Bird
IC 146.15 mph (235.21 km/h) 146.16 mph (235.22 km/h)  
July 21, 1925 Pendine Sands, Wales Sir Malcolm Campbell Great Britain 350hp Sunbeam Blue Bird
IC 150.86 mph (242.79 km/h) 150.76 mph (242.62 km/h) First person ever officially to go over, and set record in excess of 150 mph
April 27, 1926 Pendine Sands, Wales J. G. Parry-Thomas Great Britain Higham-Thomas Special Babs
45 degree V-12
IC 169.29 mph (272.45 km/h) 168.07 mph (270.48 km/h)  
April 28, 1926 Pendine Sands, Wales J. G. Parry-Thomas Great Britain Higham-Thomas Special Babs
45 degree V-12
IC 171.01 mph (273.60 km/h) 170.62 mph (274.59 km/h)  
February 4, 1927 Pendine Sands, Wales Sir Malcolm Campbell Great Britain Campbell Napier Blue Bird
Napier W-12 Cylinder
IC 174.88 mph (281.44 km/h) 174.22 mph (280.38 km/h) Last record set in Europe

External links


The Museum of Speed in Pendine, Carmarthenshire

The Museum of Speed in Pendine was opened in 1996. The museum focuses on the use of the sands at Pendine for land speed attempts and racing.

The main exhibit for the summer season is 'Babs', the motor car used by Parry Thomas on his fatal attempt at the record in 1927. Other record breaking and fast vehicles can be seen at other times.