Outside Edge (06/12/2009)

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The Independent Online

British engineers have started work on Bloodhound, a 135,000 horse-power car which they hope will achieve 1,000mph, beating the land speed record of 763mph the same team set in 1997.

Even more excitingly, Don Wales, nephew of Donald Campbell, is trying to break the speed record for a lawnmower, which stands at 80.793mph. In fact he wants to reach 100mph with a 26hp mower engine modified to run on high-octane fuel, and will attempt the feat in Carmarthen Bay in February. But he has to bear in mind that the vehicle must actually be able to cut grass. Still more tricky will be getting those lines straight. And not mowing down any pedestrians. It's verging on lunacy.


Visitors to St George's Church in Chichester in four days after Rev Stuart Cradduck installed a skating rink inside. But Wembley cancelled a 350m rink around the pitch due to poor sales. Business was snow, and the project is on ice.

Soap boxing of the week

All-conquering boxer Manny Pacquiao has decided to throw his hat into the political ring again. He is putting himself forward as a candidate for Congress in his native Philippines for the second time, his first attempt in 2007 having ended in failure. He will stand in Alabel under the banner of the People's Champ Movement, but it's a good job he isn't up against the ambitious Rigoberto Madera, who is running for the highest office. "According to God's will, I will start as President of the Philippines, then Secretary-General of the United Nations, then President of the US, until I will be crowned as Earth emperor on Mount Sinai," Madera said. He's punching far above his weight.

Good week for

Murray Walker, voted greatest commentator of all time... Matt King, paralysed after 20 seconds of his rugby league debut for London Broncos in 2004, awarded a training contract at top law firm Stewarts... and Chris Innes of St Mirren, sent off for a second yellow card against Celtic but returned after officials realised he had only been booked once.

Bad week for

Rammie The Ram, Derby County mascot apologised to Reading's Brian Howard after goading him for faking injury when the player had a fractured jaw...New Jersey Nets, recorded worst-ever start to NBA season, 18 defeats in a row, after losing to Dallas... and Piotr Skiba, Farsley Celtic goalkeeper, threw the ball into his own net against Telford United in the Blue Square North.

Universal appeal of the week

If your hero is Arnold Schwarzenegger, it must be a treat to get the chance to say "I'll be back". For Neale Cranwell, it's all the more gratifying since he has recovered from a major back injury to be crowned Mr Universe. The 33-year-old from Kings Langley, Herts, won the heavyweight title in Campobasso, Italy, just eight months after he suffered two slipped discs and a "snapped spine" while taking part in a Strong Man event he organised at his own gym, after which doctors said he would never lift weights again. He is no stranger to incredible comebacks, having suffered a motorbike accident six years ago which left him paralysed for 48 hours. He certainly knows how to lift himself.