Beach Pothole Ruins Electric Car Speed Record

By: Susan Harris
Published: Aug 18, 2021

A sandy pothole on a beach has ruined an attempt at breaking the electric car speed record. Joe Wales, 19, said he veered of course after hitting the soft sand and became slightly airborne for a moment. Wales was making the attempt at the 137 mph record, trying to hit at least 150 mph, at Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire, West Wales.

The Bluebird Electric car received quite a bit of damage when the impact damaged the body shell, steering components and disconnected a bottom wishbone of the vehicle. Wales himself received a whiplash as a result. It is believed that he was up over the 100mph mark when the incident happened.

Though there was damage done organizers say it could have been worse. Saying it was only Joe’s natural talent for car control on soft sand and quick reactions meant the damage was minimal and that Joe was relatively un-harmed. The team said they were “disappointed but relieved Joe was OK” after the accident, when the car veered off course into unprepared sand and the right front wheel upright sheered off - causing the suspension to fail.

Present on Wales team was 50-year-old father Don Wales that holds that current 137 mph record. Don remains optimistic that Bluebird Electric will return to Pendine for another shot at record breaking: “We’ll take the car back to Pembroke Docks and see what need to be fixed and where we go from here.” He added, “We’re a small team with a lot of volunteer help and severely struggling with finance. Hopefully, we can secure sponsorship to ensure the project still has life in it. However, the important thing is that Joe is well.”

Breaking speed records is a family tradition as Joe is the great grand son of Sir Malcolm Campbell. He broke the LSR for the first time in 1924 at 146.16 mph at Pendine Sands near Carmarthen Bay in a 350HP V12 Sunbeam, now on display at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu. Malcolm broke nine land speed records between 1924 and 1935, with three at Pendine Sands and five at Daytona Beach.

He set his final land speed record at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah on 3 September 1935, and was the first person to drive an automobile over 300 miles per hour (301.337 mph).

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