Pendine Sands, Carmarthen Bay, Wales, United Kingdom



This was the scene of many Land Speed Record attempts by Thomas Parry and Captain Campbell in the 1930's.  The Sands at Pendine provides around 4 miles of firm, straight-line running, the condition of which is, unfortunately, determined by the preceding tide, sea state and wind direction.  For this reason it is a risky business planning to attempt a record at this location.









Pendine Sands is a 7 mile long 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.


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 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 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. At 180 mph (290 km/h) he lost control of Babs. The car rolled over and Parry-Thomas was killed. He 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 Mollinson, took off from Pendine Sands in a De Havilland Dragon Rapide to fly non-stop to the United States.


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 sometimes restricted.


In 1997 Nelson Kruschandl, designer of Bluebird Electric 1 and 2, traveled to Pendine sands to survey the course for his land speed record project.  He collected sand samples and drove a standard Ford Sierra to 90 mph across a representative stretch of the beach, without any strain on the car.


In June 2002 the grandson of Malcolm Campbell, Donald (Don) Wales, set a new UK kilometer record at Pendine Sands in an electric car named Bluebird, achieving a speed of 137 mph (220 km/h).





On 9th July 2004 all vehicles were banned from using Pendine due to safety concerns. Part of the beach is closed off because of MOD land and there are many warnings about bombs on the beach.


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.


On the 22nd of May 2010 a British lawnmower cut the world land speed record by reaching a new top speed of more than 86.069 mph. The previous lawnmower land speed record was 80.792mph (130.022km/h) set in America by Bob Cleveland at the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah. Bob was present at the 2010 record run. Mr Donald (Don) Wales was recorded as reaching 86.069mph.

Any motorised grass cutters taking part in this event must also be built primarily from lawnmower parts. The record attempt, named Project RunningBlade, has been led by the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire.



Pendine sands, Carmarthen, South Wales, United Kingdom


In August of 2011 Joseph (Joe) Wales (son of Donald Wales) attempted to raise his father's 137mph electric car record, but veered off course and damaged the suspension of his electrically powered Bluebird car at Pendine Sands.


In September of 2012, Nick Ponting, a 21 year old estate agent from Gloucestershire sponsored by Ecotricity, raised the British electric land speed record to 157 mph in a converted Lotus Exige, called Nemesis.


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.


John Campbell would however like to run BE3 on the sand just for the experience and to see exactly what racers of the past have been up against.  Perhaps a nostalgia event after completion of trials.





Museum of Speed
Carmarthenshire SA33 4NY

Tel: +44 (0)1994 453488 (Easter - September)

Tel: +44 (0)1267 228696 (October - Easter)





Map of Pendine Sands





Map sources for Pendine Sands

Carmarthenshire English education museums of speed






Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez

Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet

Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Brazil)

Bahrain International

Barcelona-Catalunya, Circuit de 

Bathurst (Australia)

Brands Hatch

Bremgarten Circuit


Donington Park

Fuji Speedway

Giles Villeneuve




Indianapolis (USA)


Korea International Circuit

Laguna Seca (CA, USA)

Le Mans

Mallory Park


Monte Carlo


Nurburgring [Nordschleife] (Germany)

Oulton Park


Santa Pod Raceway

Sebring International Raceway

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Silverstone (UK)


Spa Francorchamps (Belgium)

Suzuka Circuit (Japan)


Zandvoort, Circuit Park

Zeltweg (Austria - Red Bull)




Lands End to John O'Groats contender: Ecostar DC50


Team Speedace plan to run the Ecostar DC50 above from John O'Groats in Scotland to Lands End in Cornwall in an attempt to beat the current record set in a Tesla in 2013. Contact Chris or Terry for details.



Mobile phones keep Cannonballer's connected


Bluebird Wolrd Cup Trophy


The Bluebird World Cup Trophy challenge






Vehicle design inspired by Reid Railton and Sir Malcolm Campbell's spectacular record runs at Daytona Beach, the BE3 is probably the world's fastest electric car: 350mph + using energy from nature featuring patent built in battery cartridge exchange refueling. The name Bluebird™ and flying blue bird logo are registered trademarks concerning battery cartridge exchange recharging. This vehicle could run at historic venues such as Pendine, Daytona and Bonneville as part of your event. Contact Chris or Terry to discuss the possibilities.







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