Almost exactly 60 years since Donald Campbell broke the 200mph barrier, the Speed Record Club is gathering on Ullswater to mark this anniversary
Donald Campbell’s water speed heroics will be remembered in the Lake District this weekend (July 18) by a group of local enthusiasts.
The Speed Record Club was set up in 1992 to celebrate the achievements of Donald Campbell, who set seven outright waterspeed records from 1955 until his death in 1967.
This month marks a particularly poignant milestone, as it is 60 years since Donald’s first record run on July 23 1955.
Piloting his jet-powered hydroplane Bluebird K7, he achieved what many thought was impossible by breaking through the 200mph barrier on water for the first time.
Previous attempts had seen both John Cobb and Mario Verga lose their lives, which goes some way to explaining the expression on Donald’s face (above) before his first run.
But hitting 202.32mph wasn’t enough for the intrepid Brit, who went on to repeatedly break his own record in the following years, including the sensational success of 1964 when he set both the landspeed and the waterspeed record in the same calendar year.
Donald’s need for speed would eventually claim his life in 1967, so the Speed Record Club is keen to commemorate his achievements.
The club will be taking a full-lake cruise on the Ullswater Steamer this Saturday at 1115 from Glenridding Pier, including retracing the measure kilometer course that was using during the speed record run, albeit at a more leisurely pace.
Bluebird K7 is currently undergoing an extensive restoration, but waterspeed fans in the South of England can also pay their respects to the Campbell family at the Thames Traditional Boat Festival.
This event at Fawley Meadows in Henley will be exhibiting Bluebird K3, Donald’s father Sir Malcolm Campbell’s 1937 waterspeed record craft, from July 18-19.