SEGRAVE’S SUNBEAM RETURNS
‘It was pretty loose at the back end, and it threw up a lot of sand’
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.