Bluebird to fly again as Campbell men endeavour to live up to their heritage

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The Independent Online

Like father, like son" is an expression which has a fair bit of weight when it comes to the Campbell family. This weekend, the great-grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell will make his the fourth generation of the family to pursue record-breaking speeds, 100 years on from when the family's legacy in speed first began.

Joe Wales, 19, will race Bluebird Electric alongside his father Don, 50, with both men hoping to break the 137mph UK electric land speed record which Don set in 2000.

Both of the speedsters follow in the footsteps of Don's grandfather Sir Malcolm and his son Donald (Don's uncle) who hold world speed records on land and water.

The Campbell family hold more than 30 speed records from across the last century, since the first Bluebird racing car was built in 1911.

Sir Malcolm Campbell himself broke the land speed record nine times between 1924 and 1935, while Donald held land records and set a water speed record in 1950. Donald is the only person to have set both world land and water speed records in the same year, which he did in 1964. He died in a water record attempt in 1967.

Though this weekend Bluebird is focused on Don's attempt to break his own record, with the team pushing for speeds of more than 150mph, his son admitted he may well compete with his father when he gets a turn at the wheel on his maiden run.

"We'll see how it goes. I might try and go for the outright speed and I'll have a crack at it," he said. "I am very proud to be representing my family and their heritage. Hopefully, this is the start of a world record car."

Following in the footsteps of their forefathers, the two men aren't timid in their ambitions. The Bluebird team is hoping to also use the weekend to test the technology behind the car in order to build a new electric vehicle for an attempt on the world speed record in two years' time.

They want to pass the 307mph record set by the Buckeye Bullet 2.5 team last year and are aiming for the dizzying heights of 500mph, which would also beat the wheel-driven record, which stands from 2001 at 458mph.

Don Wales said: "Ten years ago we set a UK record of 137mph at Pendine Sands and we are going back there this weekend to hopefully increase that speed to somewhere around 150mph or 160mph.

"This really is the start of a two or three-year campaign with a target of 500mph. The team has been working really hard. I am looking forward to Saturday and Sunday and being back on the beach and increase our records.

"More importantly, we want to increase the profile of the project and go forward to a 500mph car."