For the past few months, Don Wales and the Bluebird Electric Team have been preparing to break the existing land speed record for an electric car. Ultimately, fate would play other games on the team as the attempt came to a premature end.

With the team primed and ready for the record attempt at the Pendine Sands in Carmarthenshire, Wales, on August 13th and 14th, 2011, Don’s son, Joseph, got the opportunity to enter the record books, continuing a family legacy that went all the way back to the patriarch, Malcolm Campbell. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be as limited visibility within the cockpit of the Bluebird and an alarming slide towards the sea at speeds in excess of 100 mph caused the Bluebird to bounce severely on the uneven surface and hit a soft pothole of sand. The impact caused by the accident severely damaged the vehicle’s bodyshell, steering components, and the bottom wishbone.

“When you can’t see the ground in front of you for 60 meters or 70 meters you’re in trouble before you’ve seen it,” Don Wales said just after the accident.

The only good thing that came out of this doomed attempt was that Joe Wales was able to control the car enough that the damage it incurred was as minimal as it could have been given the circumstances surrounding the entire debacle. Nevertheless, the team is understandably dismayed about the failed record attempt, but they know more than anybody else the extenuating circumstances that can torpedo their record-setting quests. As for the future, the Bluebird Team is optimistic that another attempt is in the oven, although the time frame has yet to be determined.

“We’ll take the car back to Pembroke Docks and see what need to be fixed and see where we go from here," said Wales.


Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert -
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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  (630) posted on 09.9.2011

Well, I have to say that I’m really impressed with his determination to set a world record. However, the performance of an electric vehicle is not powerful. I would love to see his next attempt. 

  (599) posted on 09.9.2011

Too sad that the Bluebird Electric Team doesn’t get the record that he is dreaming of. Well, I guess he needs to boost the performance of his ride and attempt for next time.

  (526) posted on 08.24.2011

Hope that their next attempt to enter the record book. There’s nothing harm in trying. At least they tried. Good thing, Joe Whales is a good driver.

  (347) posted on 08.17.2011

Well, I feel sorry for the whole team. Even if they did not make it, it is still a good opportunity to break the world record. Hopefully, they can still fix the damaged car. Hmm. I wonder why they are making the record on a soft land.

  (342) posted on 08.17.2011

I really don’t think that electric cars are reliable! Most probably the figure performance of electric vehicle is not the same with gasoline-powered car.

  (517) posted on 08.17.2011

Well, I truly believe that there’s always a next time. I guess the should customized a bit the speed performance of the car.

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