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Wednesday, June 2, 1999 Published at 16:50 GMT 17:50 UK


Grandfather lands speed record

The Vampire dragster's areo engine cost just £500

A 49-year-old grandfather has bettered the British land-speed record broken by him earlier in the day.

James Helm reports: "It was third time lucky for Colin Fallows"
Colin Fallows, an engineer from Northampton, beat the record at Elvington Airfield near York.

He then went on to break his own record, clocking 269mph - 5mph faster than his first successful attempt.

'Over the moon'

Mr Fallows hit a bird that smashed the windscreen and then hit his shoulder, but that was not enough to dent his pride.

[ image: The record was beaten at an airfield near York]
The record was beaten at an airfield near York
"I'm over the moon. We would have liked to have done it by a few more miles per hour, but having the broken screen slowed me down," he said. "We've got the record, that's the main thing."

This new speed beats by 10mph the former record set 18 years ago by Richard Noble, the man who was also behind the team that broke the world land-speed record in October 1997 with the Thrust SSC car.

Mr Fallows broke the record twice in his Vampire dragster, powered by an aero engine he had bought for just £500 19 years ago from the Red Arrows.

[ image:  ]
Mr Fallows spent years upgrading the engine, which produces 12 times more power than a Formula One car, after he bought in 1980.

He plans to try and beat his own record again next year.

"The next car is already on the drawing board and we'll be going for it again next year," he said. "But now I'm ready for a pint."

Hopes dampened

Attempts on Wednesday morning were postponed because of heavy rain on the track.

In his first run he clocked 232mph, 27mph short of the record.

And he was unable to accelerate fast enough a second time, reaching a speed of just over 200mph.

An attempt by Mark Newby, 41, of Sittingbourne, Kent, was also abandoned due to the weather.

A drag racer and qualified pilot, he was due to drive Split Second, capable of reaching speeds of 300mph.

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29 Nov 97†|†UK
Thrust breaks up under mountain of debt

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