Bluebird's electric car record hit by beach 'pothole'
- 14 August 2011
- From the section South West Wales
Sir Malcolm Campbell's great-grandson's attempt to smash the UK land speed record for an electric car was ended by a pothole on a beach.
Joe Wales veered off course and Bluebird Electric was damaged at Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire.
Mr Wales, 19, suffered mild whiplash in the attempt to break the 137mph record held by his father Don.
His great-grandfather Sir Malcolm and great uncle Donald Campbell have held world speed records on land and water.
He had been joined by his father Don Wales, 50, from Addlestone, Surrey, who was attempting to break his own record, set in 2000.
The record bid for the weekend was aborted after the car's suspension was damaged, says BBC Wales reporter Sarah Moore.
The team said they were "disappointed but relieved Joe was OK" after the accident, when the car veered off course into unprepared sand and the right front wheel upright sheered off - causing the suspension to fail.
Mr Wales, who spoke after being checked over, said he was "gutted" and was disappointed for the crowd of several hundred, who turned up to watch.
Pendine is the scene of notable speed record attempts over the decades, including Malcolm Campbell in 1924.
For the electric car attempt, Don Wales was optimistic he could exceed 150mph despite hitting technical problems on Saturday.
Before the attempt he said: "I think we've got to be confident. The guys behind us have worked so hard for the last six weeks or so - the mechanical team and the electrical team from Bristol University - so I've got to put my faith in them because they've done all the hard work up to now.
"Then it's up to me to drive the car and get it above 150."
Sir Malcolm Campbell himself set a record in a combustion engine on the same beach, Pendine Sands, with a speed of 146mph in 1924.
His son and Mr Wales' uncle, Donald Campbell, took the water speed record to 152 mph in 1950, but died in a further attempt in 1967.
Earlier this week, Mr 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 Bluebird team, which includes mechanics from Nelson in Lancashire, plans to test the super-fast car's technology this weekend and then to build a new electric vehicle for a further world record attempt.
They are hoping to eventually hit 500mph and pass the 307mph record set by the American Buckeye Bullet 2.5 team last year.
Mr Wales's son Joe Wales, 19, will also drive Bluebird to attempt the quarter-mile and 500-metre UK speed records.
"I am very proud to be representing my family and their heritage. Hopefully, this is the start of a world-record car."