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Monday, September 21, 1998 Published at 18:23 GMT 19:23 UK


Bluebird falls short

Don Wales and Bluebird Electric were dogged by problems

A bid to break the land speed record for an electric car has failed.

Driver Donald Wales, 37, clocked 126mph on one of three runs in his 400,000 Bluebird Electric before 2,000 spectators on Pendine Sands in South Wales.

But it was well short of the 215mph target.

[ image: Don Wales:
Don Wales: "gutted"
Further attempts were called off because of the incoming tide and continuing mechanical problems.

Now the team says it must find another 10,000 if it wants another try next weekend.

Mr Wales, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell and nephew of Donald Campbell - both of whom were holders of the record during their time - was breaking family tradition by driving a more environmentally friendly vehicle.

He said: "We just got beaten by an electronics problem which wouldn't go away. It's galling and I am gutted.

"Getting this event on the Sands has cost thousands and I just don't know if we can get the funds for another attempt next weekend, but we will try.

[ image: Sir Malcolm Campbell: Called on for inspiration]
Sir Malcolm Campbell: Called on for inspiration
"I don't know how to express my disappointment. At one point I was hoping my grandfather was watching from somewhere. We needed some divine inspiration, but in the end the electronics problem got us."

Sunday's drive had already been postponed for a day after a land mine from a nearby Ministry of Defence testing range was found on the beach.

Wales did go faster than his own British record of 116mph - but because the car cut out it did not count.

Team manager Martin Rees said: "It's terribly disappointing because everyone has worked so hard. But we have learnt a lot today and we hope to bring Bluebird Electric back to Pendine."

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