It May Be England's Bluebird vs. Slo-mo-shuns On B.C. Lake ln '52
Donald Campbell, 30-year-old son of the late Sir Malcolm Campbell, the British speed driver who broke most of the land and sea records with his automobiles and power boats during the 1930's, may bring his new Bluebird to the Pacific Coast during the coming year. The Briton hopes to surpass the record of 160.3235 miles an hour which was set by Stanley Sayres' Slo-mo-shun IV on Lake Washington in 1950, and he is preparing to make an early test run at Coniston Water in Cumberland, England.
If Campbell's time at Coniston Water confirms his optimism, he will consider plans for shipping his boat to the Pacific coast next year, and the Kelowna Board of Trade has urged him to challenge the Slo-mo-shuns to a race on Lake Okanagan in British Columbia.
His boat, an entirely rebuilt version of his father's Bluebird, is regarded as the fastest boat ever built in the United Kingdom. Sir Malcolm established a world's speedboat record of 141.74 miles an hour in 1939. He had intended to bring his vessel to British Columbia in 1948 to run on Okanagan Lake, but this was abandoned because of the flood conditions of the Fraser and throughout interior waterways in British Columbia.
Donald Campbell was with the Royal Air Force during the war and while not a wealthy man has spent some $35,000 on his new Bluebird.
Dispatches from London indicate that the British Admiralty is interested in the new techniques developed by Donald Campbell and that special arrangements have been made to conceal structural details of the propellers used. The propellers are shipped separately when the boat is shipped from one place to another and the public has not been permitted to inspect the engine.
Originally Donald had no intention of carrying on speedboat racing where his father left off and told inquirers that Bluebird was being kept for sentimental reasons. It was only when he learned of the challenge to his father's record that he made his decision to try to regain the speed honors for the family and Britain.
"I don't believe there is a limit to the speed man can travel on water," he said recently. "I believe there is no reason why speeds up to 230 miles an hour should not be achieved within the next twelve months."
(Reprinted from Pacific Motor Boat, November 1951, p.22)
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