Speed record attempt smothered
BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME: The Bluebird Electric failed in its attempt to break the battery-powered land speed record.
SWANSEA, Wales - The Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire, Wales, has been the Campbell family's speed playground for more than 85 years but their descendant's latest land speed record attempt was smothered by the sand.
Don Wales, grandson of land speed record legend Sir Malcolm Campbell, and his son Joseph tried their luck on the 11km stretch of beach in a Bluebird Electric.
The vehicle was powered by 300 nickel-cadmium vented batteries channelled into two brushless magnetic motors, each producing 200kW of power
The Bluebird was built by Bluebird Electric with assistance from the
University of Bristol, Swansea Metropolitan University and Tirius. Don was hoping that Joseph would break the 223km/h record he set in August 2000 and ultimately go past the 250km/h set by his grandfather in 1925.
QUICK REACTIONS MINIMISED DAMAGE
They attempted the record run over the weekend of August 13/14, 2011, but bad weather hampered practice runs on the Saturday, giving the inexperienced Joseph little time to prepare. The following day dawned with perfect conditions.
On the return leg of a fast outward run, the Bluebird bounced heavily on a patch of uneven sand, damaging the bodyshell and steering components, then hit a soft pothole at close to 160km/h, disconnecting a suspension wishbone. Limited visibility from the cockpit and a slide towards the sea were factors but Joseph's quick reactions saved the vehicle from further damage.
The incoming tide put paid to any hope of quick repairs but Don was not disappointed by the failure, citing limited visibility as a major factor.
“When you can't see the ground in front of you for 60 or 70 metres you're in trouble before you've seen it.”
Don was optimistic of a another shot but said financial help was needed.
“We’ll take the car back to Pembroke Docks and see what needs to be fixed
and where we go from here. We’re a small team with a lot of volunteer
help and severely struggling with finance. I hope we can secure
sponsorship to ensure the project still has life in it."
The Bluebird will be on show at the EcoVelocity show in London in September, 2011.