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‘Bluebird Electric’ Aims for UK – and World – Speed Records

Don Wales on Pendine Sands in 2000
Don Wales on Pendine Sands in 2000

Don Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell MBE, will be attempting to set speed records in his car Bluebird Electric at Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire, UK this summer.

Wales is planning to mount his world land speed record attempt for an electric car in 2013, aiming for more than 500mph. As preparation for this, Wales and his team will conduct speed trials at Pendine Sands on the weekend of 2/3 July 2011 – with the additional aim of establishing new UK electric car records.

He is following in the footsteps of not only his grandfather Sir Malcolm Campbell MBE but his uncle Donald Campbell CBE too, both of whom are previous land speed record holders. In honour of this lineage, Wales’ speed record cars are all named Bluebird.

Malcolm Campbell achieved his first World Land Speed Record of 146.16mph at Pendine Sands in 1924 beginning a long history of record breaking by the Campbell family. Sir Malcolm went on to break the speed record nine times in various Bluebird cars powered by both Napier and Rolls Royce engines. His fastest speed at Pendine Sands was 174.88mph set on the 4th February 1927 followed by 301.12mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA, eight years later.

His son, Donald Campbell, continued the record breaking tradition and broke the 400mph barrier in a turbine powered Bluebird.

Don Wales started his record-breaking career in 1998 when he broke the UK Land Speed Record for an electric car. He subsequently raised the electric record to 137mph at Pendine Sands in 2000 and in 2009 he broke the world speed record for a steam car at 148mph.

Project Director Martin Rees said “Don’s ambition to be the fastest in the world is a goal we are all working hard to achieve and his recent speed record breaking exploits, and those we achieved in the electric Bluebird ten years ago, are testament to his undoubted dedication and commitment to excellence”.

The years 2011 and 2012 will see a series of events to celebrate the centenary of Malcolm Campbell painting his record cars and boats blue and naming them Bluebird – after he saw Maurice Maeterlinck’s play The Blue Bird at the Haymarket Theatre, London. Don Wales and the Bluebird Electric team will be speaking at a number of events throughout the year with the climax to the year in June 2012 with a big celebration at the Haymarket Theatre including a display of past Bluebirds outside.

Don Wales is now appealing for support during the weekend of 2/3 July 2011. He says: “I have a team of up to 30 people requiring accommodation and feeding and volunteers are needed to help as course marshals and fodders (people who remove debris from the sands)”.

“Without a principal sponsor as yet, the development of the car is taking all of what limited budget we have. I hope people will revive the spirit of the 1920s and volunteer to help.”

Those who are able to assist with this are encouraged to get in touch with Rebecca Nicholls by emailing rebecca@bluebirdspeedrecords.com.

About Carlton Boyce

Carlton Boyce
Carlton Boyce is a freelance journalist and photographer covering all aspects of the motoring industry.

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