Quick Land-Rovers

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Sir,

I pen the following with the dual purpose of adding humour as requested and affording further information on the subject of quick Land-Rovers.

There have been, it would seem, Land-Rovers even quicker than the 101 observed by John Britten on the M3 and, having suggested that, I must of course elaborate.

Some few months ago there was serialised in one of our Cumbrian newspapers an account of the life of our late friend Donald Campbell, well-written by an obviously enthusiastic young man. Somewhat flattered by the amount of material apparently researched from my own two books about Campbell, I read the serial with great interest. From it I gained a distinct impression that my own research prior to the writing of those books had been less than meticulous, for in the young man’s description of Donald’s exploits with the car at Lake Eyre I learned that “Bluebird had attained a speed of 300 m.p.h. by the time the support cars caught up with it”. Now, what about that? Those Land-Rovers were really motoring, were they not?

One of the Rovers was with the Campbell team at Coniston during the nine weeks I was privileged to be with it, and had I at the time suspected its capabilities I should have begged a drive.

On the subject of that last project at Coniston, the same scribe told of the hydroplane being “powered by two Beryl jet-engines”. The combined thrust of these would of course have been sufficient, not only to cause Bluebird to become airborne as did the one with which she was powered, but also to send her to the summit of Coniston Old Man.

Donald really would have appreciated this interpretation of his activities.

Arthur Knowles – Ambleside, Cumbria

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