Page last updated at 14:00 GMT, Wednesday, 20 May 2009 15:00 UK

Bluebird wins 100mph speed bid


Campbell's world record attempt

Donald Campbell's iconic Bluebird K7 will be allowed to breach the 10mph speed limit on the lake where he died, national park officials have decided.

Campbell was killed on Coniston Water in Cumbria in 1967 while trying to break a world speed record.

The boat was recovered from the lake in 2001 and is currently being restored.

On Wednesday, the Lake District National Park Authority said it would permit Bluebird to reach 100mph in a one-off "seaworthiness" trial.

The current lake byelaws do not allow any speed in excess of 10mph, except in a legitimate bid for a national or world speed record.

I am euphoric at the prospect of having the final objective in sight
Bill Smith, Bluebird project leader

The park authority's chief executive Richard Leafe said: "It was a majority vote in favour of running Bluebird K7 on Coniston Water for a one-off proving trial.

"But members were against the regular running of Bluebird K7 on the lake. They felt that would be a step too far."

Bluebird's wreckage was salvaged from Coniston by diver Bill Smith.

Mr Smith and his team have been working to restore the craft to full working order at his North Tyneside workshop.

Once complete it will go on display at Coniston's Ruskin Museum, but not before it is tested on the lake.

Following the park authority's decision, Mr Smith said: "I am euphoric at the prospect of having the final objective in sight.

Formal consultation

"We now need to prove that it works and is in the condition that it was just before the crash all those years ago.

"We hope to have Bluebird ready for its trial at the end of next year or the beginning of 2011."

He added: "This means so much to me personally because I started looking for the wreck in 1996 and to my mind it is obvious that Coniston is the right place to attempt to get it back in the water."

"Gina [Donald Campbell's daughter] will be thrilled. She wants to see her father's memory brought to the fore. She sees this as a fitting memorial."

The recommendation will now be submitted to the government for approval.

A formal consultation will take place and a public inquiry could be ordered if there are any objections.

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