Photographer's Note

This is not just a beach ,in the early 1900's this beach streching from Saltburn passing Marske and ending up at Redcar was used as a race track and also as speed trials .In the early part of the 20th century, there were 5 miles of hard and smooth sands here, which were several hundred feet wide at low tide.

It was in July 1904 that they were first considered for use for motor racing and the following year the first run on the sands was made by L.R. Anderson. On July 14th 1906, the Yorkshire Automobile Club organised the first Motor Races and Speed Trials and attracted over 60,000 spectators. Several famous motor racing drivers took part including Lee Guiness in a Darracq. The First World War interrupted the events and it wasn't till July 1920 that the events recommenced.

In 1922 Malcolm Campbell raced here in an Austro Daimler and won the event for cars up to 2,500cc. More importantly, Campbell also borrowed the Louis Coatalen 350hp Sunbeam and brought it to Saltburn determined to set his first land speed record. This same car then held the current record at 133.75mph when Lee Guiness drove it at Brooklands on 17th May 1922. Campbell believed that without the restrictions of the banking that was at Brooklands he could set a faster speed on the sands. On his first run on 17th June 1922 he roared down the two mile run up before entering the measured mile and achieved 130.6mph. The return run achieved a faster speed at 134.76mph despite being into the wind and having narrowly to miss a dog that suddenly appeared on the beach. Campbell went on to complete six runs, ending the day with a record of 138.08mph and his first land speed record. However, this was not recognised by the international body, The Commission Sportive, in Paris, could not approve the figures as the Yorkshire Automobile Club timekeepers had used hand-held stopwatches instead of the electrical timing apparatus required by the official rules. This was the first time the authorities failed to accept one of Campbell's records and unfortunately it was not to be the last.

By 1938 the Saltburn sands were no longer considered suitable for racing and the sands further to the north at Redcar and Coatham were used instead although they were not as good as there were wet and dry patches. The Second World War interrupted the racing and it wasn't till 1946 when the beaches were completely cleared of barbed wire and mines that racing could begin again.

In 1948 Bob Berry raced here with his motorcycles and 1955 saw the last mixed motorcycle and car race meeting at Redcar. In 1962, some local bike racers formed the Tees-Tyne Motor Cycle Sand Racing Club with special permission to race obtained from the Local Authority and the first event was held on 8th September 1962. There was a further event in 1963 but this was only followed by a few more. The sands had deteriorated and there was no suitable stretch of flat, hard sand to use for high speed racing, a condition, which still remains today.

- "The BP Book of the Racing Campbells" by Richard Hough
- "A Dash between the Tides" by Ernie Crust
- "The Land Speed Record 1898 to 1999" compiled by R M Clarke

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Additional Photos by ollie oliver (ollie59) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 197 W: 0 N: 172] (796)
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