land speed record

Steve Walton, 54, of Latchingdon, smashed three British Land Speed records at the weekend. The record-breaking rides took place at the British Land Speed Records meeting at Pendine Sands, a seven mile beach in South Wales.

Steve broke two BLS records for the 1.5-mile sprint in the 1000cc and 1350cc classes, reaching the incredible top speeds of 171.235 and 183.395 miles per hour.

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Steve has competed in motorcycle speed events for several years, and works for Jack Lilley Motorcycles in Romford. For these sprints Steve entered in his Suzuki GSX-R1000, which he now only uses for occasional sprint events.

Previous records made on the sands include British actor Idris Elba from BBC’s Luther, who last year eclipsed a 90 year old record, the ‘Flying Mile’ by reaching 180.361 miles per hour in his Bentley Continental, smashing Sir Malcolm Campbell’s 174.8mph record in 1927.

The Pendine Sands have only recently begun to be used for land speed records, as in the 1920s Welsh motor racer J. G. Parry Thomas was killed in a crash while trying to break Malcolm Campbell’s record.

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land speed 2

Steve said: “I have always been very interested in land speed records in the past and they were very famous in that area.

“The place has a great feel to it when you’re on the sands, I can’t really explain it.

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“Traction on the sand is minimal and trying to open the throttle even further when the speedo is reading 180mph and still then getting wheel spin gets the adrenaline well and truly flowing!”

As well as this achievement, Steve also won the Brighton Speed Trials in 2010 and 2011, the oldest motor race still operating, first beginning in 1905.

Steve added: “The meeting ran very smoothly and conditions were excellent, it seemed all too soon before we had to leave the sand as the tide was rapidly advancing back on to the ‘track’.

“Throughout competing I have had varying levels of success on race tracks and on record chasing.

“Going to the sands felt like a natural progression, and gaining another land speed record felt wonderful.”

Tony Carter

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