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From the Archives, 1964: Bluebird breaks land world speed record

“We can be thankful that we completed this record with the car still intact.”

“My first reaction is a prayer of thanksgiving,” Campbell said after the record breaking run.

“This is the end of a long hard road. We have achieved what we set out to try to achieve.

Donald Campbell seated in the cockpit of Bluebird prior to his record breaking run on Lake Eyre, 17 July 1964.

Donald Campbell seated in the cockpit of Bluebird prior to his record breaking run on Lake Eyre, 17 July 1964.

“My second thought is one of tremendous admiration for the machine that it was controllable and the tyres that they stood up to this terrifying treatment.

“Thirdly, I feel disappointment that the length of the track and perhaps even more the condition of the track took 40 m.p.h. off what this machine would achieve on a surface that was hard and firm.

“None of us are in any doubt what the machine will achieve given the right conditions on which to achieve it.

“Fourthly, I feel gratitude to Australia for the tremendous sportsmanship and support that has been given to us.

“Finally, I offer my thanks to all concerned with the Bluebird team who are delighted that the two Bluebirds now hold the official world land and water speed records.

Campbell’s record-breaking drive today followed six years of work and four months of trials this year.

Campbell’s Firsts

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This is what Donald Campbell accomplished during his two runs on Lake Eyre yesterday.

• Set an official outright world land speed record of 403.1 m.p.h., breaking John Cobb’s record of 394.196 m.p.h.. set in 1947.

• Bettered Cobb’s official world kilometer mark of 393.8 m.p.h. by averaging 394.5 m.p.h. over two runs. Campbell cannot claim the kilometer record because his average speed did not better Cobb’s mark by the required one per cent.

• Became the first man to beat 400 m.p.h. in a vehicle of any type in two consecutive runs.

• Became only the third man to hold both world land and water speed records at the same time. The two others were the late Sir Henry Seagrave and Campbell’s father, the late Sir Malcolm Campbell.

• Became the first man to set a world speed record in Australia.

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