The World Water Speed Record: The Fast and The Forgotten

The World Water Speed Record: The Fast and The Forgotten

by Roy Calley


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The World Water Speed Record: The Fast and The Forgotten by Roy Calley

The quest for the Water Speed Record is one of the most dangerous, least forgiving and most unheralded of endeavors. Defined by the fatal crash of Donald Campbell in 1967 on Lake Coniston, it lacks some of the glamour of the land speed record, yet hundreds have made attempts over the years – many with spectacular and sometimes tragic results.

The first official record of 74 mph was set in 1920 in a boat elegantly called Miss America. Fifty-eight years later, the Spirit of Australia skimmed across the surface at over 317 mph, a speed still unsurpassed. That small 243 mph increase in just under six decades pays little testament to the trials and tribulations endured by the likes of Campbell Snr and Jnr, Segrave, Don and Warby. Whereas the land speed record has been beaten time and again by surprisingly large margins, the water version has been tougher and more pronounced, only being increased by percentages. This book captures the burning desire and incredible single-mindedness that is needed to take on the elements and propel a craft across water faster than anyone before … and for what glory?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781445655345
Publisher: Amberley Publishing
Publication date: 05/31/2016
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 4.88(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Roy Calley works for BBC Sport as a TV Producer. He is the author of Blackpool: The Complete Record (2011), Hunt for Glory (2011), Blackpool’s 1953 FA Cup Final (2012) and The Playboy and the Rat (2013). His passion is for speed records, both on land and water, and he hopes that one day he may be able to add a little bit of history of his own…

Table of Contents

Foreword 7

Introduction 9

1 The Steam-Powered Battle 11

2 The Harmsworth Trophy 18

3 The Hydroplane 25

4 Gar Wood 31

5 Is it a Boat or is it a Plane? 37

6 Boats and Planes Again 38

7 1928: Ratification and Drama 40

8 Henry Segrave 44

9 Segrave's Grand Prix Dreams 49

10 Segrave Breaks the Land Speed Record 55

11 Wood Against Don 65

12 The Campbell Dynasty 73

13 Campbell the Hero and Then to Zero 81

14 Campbell Dominates 84

15 From Land to Water 89

16 The Race for 200 mph and Another Campbell 94

17 Slo-Mo-Shun 100

18 Sayres, Cobb and Verga: A Tragic Time 107

19 Donald Campbell Dominates 115

20 Campbell and Butlin: All About the Money 122

21 Land and Water in the Same Year, But Only Just! 129

22 1967: The Defining Year 138

23 The Aftermath 149

24 America Grabs the Record Back 153

25 Australia Enter the Race 159

26 Australia's Lost Spirit 168

27 'Three will Die Before the Record's Broken' 174

28 The Aftermath 181

Statistics 185

Acknowledgements 188

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