Page last updated at 00:19 GMT, Friday, 12 September 2008 01:19 UK

Wind power speed record bid fails


The Greenbird team's Richard Jenkins and Dennis Bassano testing the craft across a salt lake.

A team that had hoped to break the world land-speed record for a wind-powered vehicle is blaming climate change for its failure.

Uncharacteristic heavy rain over Lake LeFroy in Western Australia has left the attempt high and dry.

Britons Dale Vince and Richard Jenkins had hoped to see their carbon-neutral vehicle, Greenbird, beat the record of 116mph (187kmph).

They say they will now attempt the world ice yacht speed record in 2009.

Lake LeFroy - a 500 sq km (193 sq miles) salt lake - is normally dry at this time of year.

But the Greenbird team faced constant delays caused by rain and no wind - and eventually had to give up.

Mr Vince, writing on the Greenbird website blog, said they were disappointed not to have even got out of the starting blocks.

The Greenbird
The Greenbird is a land yacht which relies on solid sails like an aircraft wing

"It's an irony not lost on us while that while Greenbird is intended to show how the world might be getting around when fossil fuels run out - the changes that fossil fuels are causing to our climate right now appears to be the very thing that has stopped us," he said.

"In the next 20 years, I firmly believe that wind power will be our main energy source and wind-powered cars will no longer be the stuff of dreams."

The Greenbird team is now preparing for ice practice runs early next year in Canyon Ferry Reservoir, Montana, US, followed by a run at the world record for a wind-powered ice craft which is currently 84mph (135km/h).

The Greenbird is a land yacht which relies on solid sails like an aircraft wing.

The Britons have taken their inspiration from Bluebird - the car of land-speed record holder Donald Campbell.

Bid for world land-speed record
20 Aug 08 |  Gloucestershire
Blind man sets land speed record
11 Oct 05 |  Manchester
Land speed record bid abandoned
08 May 05 |  Science/Nature

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