Festival of Speed – A celebration of Southport’s significance to the pioneers of motor racing

Festival of Speed – A celebration of Southport’s significance to the pioneers of motor racing

Saturday 12-Sunday 20 March 2016

The Atkinson and Southport beach


Featuring the 90th anniversary return of Sir Henry Segrave’s landspeed record-breaking Sunbeam Tiger

A record-breaking classic car that has been out of public view since 2007 is to return to the Merseyside beach where it entered the record books.

In March 1926, Sir Henry drove his Sunbeam Tiger on Southport beach, reaching a top speed of 152.33 mph. The contemporary and racing rival of Sir Malcolm Campbell captured the world record and became the fastest man on earth.

To commemorate the occasion, his record-breaking four-litre engined car will return to the northern resort for the first time.

The bright red super car will complete a triumphant sprint along the beach on the morning of Wednesday 16 March – 90 years to the day after the world record was recorded. It will be joined on the sands by at least 20 vehicles driven by members of the Sunbeam Talbot Darracq Register vintage car club. All were built before 1935.

A vintage motorcade will then wend its way through the town, before parking up outside museum and cultural centre The Atkinson.

Segrave’s ‘Tiger’ will there be joined by a Sunbeam Cub, a 1924 racing car with a smaller two-litre engine, which was also driven by Segrave. The historic pair will be reunited for one week only and will be on display in the foyer of The Atkinson from Saturday 12 until Sunday 20 March as part of the Festival of Speed.

The week-long event, organised by The Atkinson and partners including the Aintree Circuit Club, celebrates Southport’s pivotal role in racing history.

Emma Anderson, director The Atkinson said:

The 1920s were a time of intense rivalry in motor racing. Technology and engineering rapidly evolved to match to remarkable bravery and ambition of racing drivers across Europe and America, battling to break speed records on land and water. The rivalry between Sir Malcolm Campbell, father of Donald, and Sir Henry Segrave is the stuff of legend.

“With the Festival of Speed, we will celebrate these remarkable achievements and remember the glamour of motor racing and the heyday of Southport in the 1920s.”

An afternoon of talks and an anniversary dinner in The Atkinson Studio will follow the morning’s activities on the beach.

Other events at The Atkinson include an interactive Meet Sir Henry Segrave performance (Sun 12-Sat 19 March, excluding Wed 16, free), car-themed arts activities for children (Sat 12, Sun 13, Sat 19 and Sun 20 March, 11am-4pm, free), racing and 1920s-themed film screenings, a vintage fair (Sat 12 March, 11am-4pm) and a period murder mystery (Sat 12 March, 7.30pm).

Segrave artefacts and memorabilia, including many exclusive loan items, will be on display at The Atkinson throughout the festival week.

Tickets are available online at theatkinson.co.uk or by calling the Box Office on 01704 533333. They are also available over the counter during The Atkinson opening hours.

Please be advised there is a £1 booking fee for telephone and online sales and a 2% fee for credit cards at the Box Office.




Please be advised there is a £1 booking fee for telephone and online sales and a 2% fee for credit cards at the Box Office.


The Atkinson
Lord Street


In person: Visit The Atkinson box office on Lord Street

For tickets: visit the website theatkinson.co.uk or call box office on 01704 533333



About The Atkinson

The Atkinson is Southport’s beautiful new home for music, theatre, art, poetry, literature and history, right in the middle of Lord Street in Southport. Significant investment has been made in refurbishing the stunning 19th century buildings, to create a really welcoming multi art-form venue with a strong contemporary feel.

The Atkinson offers an exciting and varied destination for families, cultural tourists and arts enthusiasts alike, with a full day and night time offer. Wile the day away visiting the new shop, that sells gifts and contemporary crafts from regional makers and then relax in the Bakery, choosing from a selection of artisan bread sandwiches, cakes and sharing platters. You can even take little bit of The Atkinson home with you from the delicatessen. Wonder through the major exhibitions and see performances from some of the UK’s foremost musicians, actors, performers and companies, films, family activities and much more.

Posted on 2 February 2016 under General news

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