Donald Campbell on Lake
Lake, Canandaigua, N.Y., August 1957
Campbell to End Record Attempts
Promotion of Britain's Speed Trials on Upstate Lake Is Financial Failure
Canandaigua, New York, August 15  (AP) -- Tomorrow is probably the last day Donald Campbell will have on Canandaigua Lake to try to break his own water speed record of 225.63 mph.
Promoters of his appearance here said the venture was a financial failure. To pay the bills, they are taking Campbell and his boat to the Canadian National Exposition in Toronto Monday for a two-week stand.
The British speed failed today in his fourth attempt this summer.
He rocketed the Bluebird to 201 and 207 mph, but a slight swell on the glassy surface of the Lake prevented him from pushing it all the way.
Howard J. Samuels, president of Canandaigua Lake Promotions, said: "people are simply not coming into Bluebird Park to see Don and his boat. It's as simple as that."
"We were wrong in our estimates of attendance. We probably will draw only 35,000 and many of these are complimentary."
Campbell's contract with the promoters expires September 7th. Samuels said it was doubtful Campbell would make any record runs after tomorrow.
He said he also doubted that investors would get anything back on their original investment of $30,000. That amount would just about cover Campbell's expenses. Profits were to have gone to a YMCA building fund.
Local businessmen were also counting on crowds of visitors spending money in shops, restaurants and hotels.
Campbell made to round trips on Canandaigua Lake today, the first at 175 and 195 mph, and the second at 201 and 207 mph. It was his first attempt since August second to crack his record, set at Lake Coniston, England, last year.
He said the swell said the Bluebird into violent pitching motion with a force of four times the pull of gravity.
(Reprinted from the New York Times, August 16th 1957)
* * *
Campbell Fails in Last Attempt
Bluebird Leaves Water for 200 Feet When It Strikes Swell at 240 Mph
Canandaigua, New York, August 16  (U. P.) -- Donald Campbell, a 37-year-old British speed boat racer, narrowly avoided tragedy today in his fifth and final unsuccessful attempt on Canandaigua Lake to smash his own world record.
"I was lucky to come through alive," Campbell said.
He then left for Toronto for a two-week appearance at the Canadian National Exposition.
Though Campbell average 209.25 mph on the combined morning runs, he said he was "afraid I was going to flip" midway through the south run. His 26 foot jet propelled hydroplane, Bluebird II, had reached 240 mph when he hit a swell that lifted the 2 1/2 ton craft out of the water for 200 feet.
Campbell blamed the swell on a small pleasure craft which across the lake before his run.
Campbell slowed as rapidly as possible to avoid over turning it still finished the run and average speed of 220.83 mph on return run, he averaged only 198.67 mph because of rough water caused by north headwind.
Today's average speed fell short of his record of 225 mph established last year over Lake Coniston in England. Campbell said it was possible he would make further record attempts this year on Lake Coniston, Lake Mead, Nevada, or Lake Picton, Ontario. He ruled out chop the Lake Ontario, which borders on the Canadian Exposition grounds.
Campbell had hoped to make further runs today and tomorrow. First, all Saturday attempts were declared out because too many pleasure boats would be on the lake in this Central New York State resort area. Then Leo Villa, Campbell's chief engineer, said that changing damage would prevent another try later today.
Villa said the damage, partly the result of so many high-speed record runs, would cost $40,000 to repair. He explained that the engine must be torn down an completely rebuilt.
(Reprinted from the New York Times, August 17th 1957)
History Home Page
This page was last revised Thursday, April 01, 2010 .
Your comments and suggestions are appreciated. Email us at email@example.com
© Leslie Field, 2000