My Week; Colin Fallows, New British Land Speed Record Holder

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The Independent Culture

Spend most of the day making preparations for my British land speed record attempt. This involves loading spares and fuel into the trailer, checking the crew's equipment and making calls to check that paramedics will be available. I do all the engineering, so if the cars don't work, it's down to me.

There are eight people in the Primetime team. We all meet at my house in Heartwell, Nottingham, and go for a Chinese. The atmosphere is good. I try to relax and not worry; it's too late to change anything. I've been planning this since my last attempt in October. I'm anxious about the weather and have spent a fortune calling every weather centre in the UK.


Drive up to Elvington Airport, near York, to find brilliant sunshine. Set up the cars and check everything is perfect. Meet with RAC officials, the paramedics and fire and crash recovery crew. The 30 of us have practically taken over an entire guesthouse. I'm feeling a bit apprehensive, as the weather starts to look grim.


The word "bollocks" comes to mind as I wake up to pouring rain. I eat my breakfast feeling less than happy. It stops raining but the course is still very wet. I do the first run in Vampire at 233mph, but the car is aquaplaning. I pack it in and go to the Yorkshire air museum for lunch. I'm starting to think it's going to be like last year again, when things brighten up. Unfortunately we now have 30mph winds. The track has dried out, though, and I complete the first run at 249mph. On the return a bird smashes through the windscreen and hits my shoulder, and it feels as if I've broken my collar bone. But I managed to break the record at 269mph. I'm feeling highly elated and thinking it's about time really.


Didn't hear the alarm, so wake up late. I have standing and start records to attempt. Manage to beat both by several seconds on the first attempt. Vampire is going on display at the air museum. Spend afternoon cleaning her and repairing the windscreen.


Start work on the new car we are racing. Then drive home to make the arrangements for the British Air Show in Dunsfold tomorrow. Spend the rest of the afternoon thinking about breaking the record again next year.