‘It was pretty loose at the back end, and it threw up a lot of sand’

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - News -

Sir Henry Se­grave’s Sun­beam has re­turned to the Mersey­side beach where it broke the world land speed record 90 years ago.

The su­per­charged V12 sin­gle-seater was brought over to South­port from Utah, USA – where it is part of a col­lec­tion owned by Vi­jay Mallya, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of For­mula 1 team Sa­hara Force In­dia – for the reen­act­ment event last Wed­nes­day (16 March). It was joined by a re-cre­ation of an­other record breaker – Sir Mal­colm Camp­bell’s 1927 Napier Blue Bird – and 45 pre-WWII cars, which also took part in runs on the beach.

The Tiger was driven down the mile-long Ains­dale stretch by the Mallya col­lec­tion’s man­ager, Sus­sex-born Mal­colm Page, who says he was amazed by the num­ber of peo­ple who turned out to see the car.

‘It was pretty loose at the back end and it threw up a lot of sand. But if the car is still around and I’m still around in 10 years’ time, I’d love to bring it back over for a cen­te­nary run,’ says Mal­colm, a for­mer Fer­rari tech­ni­cian.

The run to com­mem­o­rate Se­grave’s 152mph record was part of the re­sort’s week-long South­port Fes­ti­val of Speed, or­gan­ised jointly by The Atkin­son art gallery and Ain­tree Cir­cuit Club. ‘It’s gone fan­tas­ti­cally well – the Tiger might have taken a while to start up but we had dry weather for the run and a huge amount of peo­ple who came to the beach to see it,’ says club chair­man Mike Ashcroft.

‘Even though it was a speed event – there were a lot of strict guide­lines with the run be­ing on one of Bri­tain’s most pro­tected stretches of coast­line – it was a big suc­cess.

‘The aim now is to fol­low it up with more an­nual events in South­port, in­clud­ing on the beach.’

There are also plans for the 306hp Tiger to ap­pear at Brook­lands and at this year’s Good­wood Fes­ti­val of Speed. It also won’t be the only land speed re-en­act­ment in 2016. Babs is brought back to Pen­dine on 28 April to mark John God­frey Parry Thomas’ 169mph run that broke Se­grave’s South­port record.

It took a while to get the methanol-fu­elled Sun­beam started up but it was worth the wait.

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