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Record attempt foiled by jellyfish

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Rachael Garside Rachael Garside | 09:18 UK time, Tuesday, 16 August 2011

It's not every day you go to the beach and stumble across a world record attempt...

On Sunday I visited Pendine sands for the annual beach meeting of the Carmarthenshire Karate Club (as you do) but at the other end of the beach, father and son team, Don and Joe Wales were attempting to smash the UK electric land speed record.

Crowds of spectators, press and news camera crews had gathered, all watching and waiting to see if Joe could break the previous record set by his father of 137 mph in 2000.

As we watched, the team was returning to the starting point. It was quite a dramatic sight as several trucks and support vehicles shimmered along the sand with their headlights on. But as they drew nearer it became clear that the record attempt had failed.

Joe Wales and father Don explain to the crowd why the record attempt failed.

Joe Wales and father Don explain to the crowd why the record attempt failed.

A very despondent looking Joe and his team came to update the crowds and explain what had gone wrong. Pendine has too many potholes, it seems, which they think may be caused by jellyfish, burying themselves in the sand, waiting for the tide to return.

19-year-old Joe had an excellent first run apparently and would have reached a speed of around 120 mph had he not hit potholes but unfortunately he veered off course and didn't make it through the timing lights.

The young driver injured his neck and the car broke its wishbone (I won't pretend to understand what part of a car that is) and would be taken to Pembroke Dock for repairs.

The electric car is towed off the sands for repairs. Image by Rachael Garside.

The electric car is towed off the sands for repairs.

The crowds however applauded his valiant attempt and the team said they hoped (sponsorship permitting) to be back for another attempt in the not-too-distant future.

'Team Wales' has an impressive pedigree when it comes to setting records. Joe's great-grandfather was Sir Malcolm Campbell who beat the UK land speed record at Pendine in 1924 with a top speed of 146 mph.

Things have moved on a bit since then in the world of speed, but it seems that Pendine, with its six miles of hard flat sands which are hundreds of yards wide at low tide, is still useful for record breaking attempts.

World record attempt on BBC News

The official Bluebird website

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