Bluebird Land Speed Record Team Need You

In Driving in the UK by Jonathan Humphrey

Get involved, be part of history in the making. . . New Blue Bird Electric Vehicle Speed Record attempts this summer 2/3 July

bluebird 2011 driven by don wales a legend in the making

Still for me a legendary tale, the land and water speed record breaking attempts by the Campbells using the striking Bluebird cars and boats. This summer history will repeat itself on the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd July at Pendine Sands, Carmarthenshire when Don Wales the grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell MBE, will attempt to set speed records in his electric Bluebird car. Going back to 1924, Malcolm Campbell achieved his first World Land Speed Record of 146.16mph at Pendine Sands. This started the long history and the Campbell family ‘business’. The list of record breaking by the Campbell family is endless and In every decade since the Campbells have attempted land or water speed record breaking in some form except the seventies.

Don Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell MBE and nephew of Donald Campbell CBE, started his record-breaking career in 1998 when he broke the UK Land Speed Record for an electric car. Wales 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.

Wales says: “The latest plans are a world land speed record attempt for an EV to take place in 2013 and aiming for a speed in excess of more than 500mph”.

The EV BlueBird Record Breaker launched in 2000

Over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd July Wales and his team will conduct initial speed trials at Pendine Sands – combined with the additional aim of establishing new UK electric car records. Wales’ speed record cars are all named Bluebird in recognition of all the family achievements. The story began sometime in 1911/12 when Sir Malcolm Campbell saw the Maurice Maeterlinck play ‘The Blue Bird’ at the Haymarket Theatre in London. Being so inspired by the play, returning home he woke the local ironmonger and bought all the blue paint in the shop. that night he painted his race car naming it ‘Blue Bird’ and with the paint still wet won his first race the next day at the Brooklands in Surrey, now part of the M3/M25! but we won’t go into that.

When Malcolm Campbell broke records at Pendine Sands, he was helped considerably by local volunteers – including with accommodation and marshaling. Without this local community support and generosity record attempts would not ever have been possible.

the existing blue bird record breaking car

Don Wales is now appealing for similar support during the weekend of 2/3 July 2011.

Wales 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.”

This electric vehicle land speed record is truly something great and needing support, there will more news to come as these EV cars become more capable of these ultra high speeds before their batteries run out.

Supporters and enthusiasts can follow the progress of Don Wales and Bluebird by signing up on the great new website to receive the latest news. The team can also be followed on Twitter at @bluebirdspeed and Facebook

Sir Malcolm Campbell broke the speed record nine times in various Bluebird cars powered by both Napier and Rolls Royce engines. His records set at Pendine Sands were:

  • 25 September 1924 – 146.16 mph
  • 21 July 1925 – 150.766mph
  • 4 February 1927 – 174.88mph

He achieved 301.12mph in 1935 on the Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.

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

Don Wales holds a World Land Speed Record, two American National Records and eight UK records.