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The long stretches of Pendine Sands have been used for land speed record attempts over and over again - the Museum of Speed at Pendine pays tribute to this history.
The Museum of Speed in Pendine, Carmarthenshire
Museum of Speed Pendine Carmarthenshire SA33 4NY
Tel: 01994 453488
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.
One bad link in the chain
Acoustic lap steel instrumental dedicated to Parry Thomas who died trying to break the land speed record at Pendine sands on 3rd March 1927 - posted on YouTube by lapslider
In the early 1900s the Pendine 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 both straighter and smoother than many major roads at 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 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 Bluebird.
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 barrier was decisively broken, and Campbell raised the record to 174.22 mph (280.38 km/h) in February 1927.
On March 3, 1927 Parry-Thomas attempted to beat Campbell's record. On his final run at circa 170 mph (280 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.
Opening Times: Easter - 30th September: 10.00am -1.00pm and 1.30pm - 5.00pm with last entry at 4.55pm
For more information call 01994 453488. If you contact the Museum of Speed please mention that you found this information in www.carmarthenshire-pages.co.uk