With track racing all by halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races October 3-4 dates on the calendar are something unique to look forward to.
The event sits squarely at the intersection of vintage vehicles and speed. On Pendine Sands, it’s about hitting top speed rather than a short sprint.
At the event over 150 pre-1949 modified American cars meet on the beach to compete for class records and entry to the 100 mph club. One participant will be crowned “King of the Beach”.
Crowds surrounding Sir Malcolm Campbell (1885 – 1948) on July 21, 1925 in his Sunbeam after he had broken the world record for the mile and kilometer at a speed of 150.368 mph on Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire.
Photo by Getty Images
TheSands have a rich history when it comes to auto racing. The seven miles of shoreline that meets Carmarthen Bay in Southern Wales served as the host of the annual Welsh TT motorcycle event starting in 1922. Its firm, flat surface was considered straighter and smoother than most any major road at the time, making it an ideal setting for car racing.
Malcom Campbell, a British speed racing enthusiast, set the world land speed record of 146.16 mpg on the beach in his Sunbeam 350HP car nicknamed Blue Bird in 1924. That car now sits in the National Motor Museum in Beaulieu, Hampshire, England. Campbell would go on to set nine records through 1934 culminating in a run at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, which saw him become the first person to surpass 300 mph in a car.
The Vintage Hot Rod Association (VHRA) brought speed back to the sands starting in 2013 with their annual Hot Rod Races. Ahead of the races, several of the models will be shown off at the London Concours, slated for August 19-20, 2020.
According to a release, Matt Farrant, the three-time King of the Beach will be bringing his 1929 Ford Model A Roadster pick-up to display. The car is an early 1960s style street roadster. His goal is to run a 12-second quarter mile on a dragstrip. He’s already clocked 119 mph on the sand. Despite being race-ready, the car serves valiantly during the year as a daily driver, often taking Farrant and his family on road trips.
Rebecca Dunn has piloted this 1930 Ford Model A on the sand.Photo by James Mitchell
Rebecca Dunn, will bring her 1930 Ford Model A Coupe to the London Concours. The Model A is a mishmash of brands underneath. It has a Desoto Hemi 330 cu-in engine at its heart with Lincoln brakes, Buick finned drums, and other parts from Ford and Plymouth. According to a release, “On the sand, there are only two women who have managed to break the 100 mph barrier in their own cars and Rebecca is one of them.”
Chris Rawlins has a 1932 Ford Streamliner that takes its styling cues from 1940s-era California dry lakes modified hot rods. It gets its power from a Ford Flathead V8 and has a Ford gearbox and rear axle. It features a modified canopy from a WW2 T6 Texan aircraft. For a number of years, Rawlins has pushed the limits of his hot rod, entering the 100 mph club and securing a number of class wins.
Tickets for the London Concours are now available and start at £40. The Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races are free to spectators.