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The Campbells

No other sporting family has achieved so much success in their chosen field than the racing Campbells. Started by Sir Malcolm Campbell in 1911/12 and continued by his son, Donald, then Donald's daughter Gina and now Sir Malcolm's grandson Don Wales, the family has achieved over 30 Land and Water Speed Records since the Bluebird legend began.

But the Campbell/Bluebird story is about more than simply breaking records. Whether as sporting ambassadors for Britain, or tackling personal tragedy after the untimely death of Donald Campbell in 1967, the family has dealt with adversity and triumph in equal measure and kept the nation fascinated in the process.

More than any other sporting dynasty, the Campbells have also highlighted the UK's technical and engineering excellence, promoted British ingenuity and innovation and have combined British values of 'fair play' and 'honest endeavor' with passion and commitment.

Long may it continue.

Martin Rees
Bluebird Speed Records Project Director


Sir Malcolm Campbell MBE

11 March 1885 – 31 December 1948

Sir Malcolm Campbell was born into an age when the combustion engine was at its infancy. He was fascinated by its power and was quickly smitten with the speed bug. It started with push bikes, followed by motorcycles, cars planes and then boats.

He was the only man to double his world record speeds from the first Land Speed at Pendine Sands, Wales of 146mph to his lifelong ambition of 301mph on Bonneville Salt Flats, USA in 1935. He broke a total of nine World Land Speed Records. He then switched to boats and broke a further four World Water Speed Records. As soon as the second world was over, he was back to the old business. He converted the old Bluebird boat to a jet, but passed away on New Years eve 1948 before he could break another record.


Donald Campbell CBE

23 March 1921 – 4 January 1967

It was almost inevitable that Donald Campbell would pick up the family business after his father died. The American Henry Kaiser was after his fathers Water Speed Record and this was the catalyst that spurred Donald into action. However, it took a further seven years before he broke his first Water Speed Record at 202mph, six more followed.

His greatest achievement was breaking both the Land and Water Speed Records in 1964 in Australia. It is a great shame that he is best remembered for his fateful crash on Coniston Water 4 January 1967 when he was attempting to break his own record.


Gina Campbell QSO

Born 19 September 1949

Gina, Donald Campbell's daughter had a love for horses and became a very successful show jumper. It was not long before her attention was turned to water and powerboat racing. In 1984 – her first year of competing – she and partner Mike Standring won the UK Offshore Boating Association Championship and the Royal Yachting Association National Championship.

At Holme Pierrepont, Nottingham Gina broke her first Women's World Water Speed Record at 122.85mph. Attempting to increase the record on the same day she had a similar accident to her father Donald, fortunately she survived and went on to increase her World Water Speed Record to 156.49mph in New Zealand. She was awarded her Queens Service Order for promoting water and safety in New Zealand.


Don Wales

Born 23 September 1960

Don, grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell broke his first records at Elvington Airfield, Yorkshire with the Bluebird Electric in May 1998 breaking the UK National Record for an electric car at 116mph. With a new car the record was increased to first 128mph and then 137mph on Pendine Sands, Wales in August 2000.

In 2007 Don was invited to be part of the British Steam Car World Record attempt team. Two year later on Edwards Airforce Base, California he broke his first World Record with a speed of 148mph. In May 2010, he was back on Pendine Sands, Wales and broke the World Record for driving a lawn mower with a speed of 87mph.

This year Don will be attempting to increase the UK Speed Record and in 2013 will be attempting a World Speed Record at Bonneville Salt Flats, USA with a new Bluebird Electric capable of speeds in excess of 400mph.


Joseph Wales

Born 21 December 1991

Joe Wales, twin brother of Charlotte Wales and son of Don Wales is currently studying Business at Bournemouth University.

Proud of his family history, Joe inherited the 'speed' gene and has been racing on the Katt Track and working as a part time track marshall at Daytona in Sandown for nearly three years.

To qualify for his licence Joe went to Thruxton race circuit for a track day and drove a Porsche Cayman and a single seater. He was given a specific track session with good friend and race driving instructor, Lee Cunningham who is also an ARDS instructor.

Joe wanted to be reserve driver for the Lawn Mower speed record attempt that Don broke last year but dad said 'No' and promised him a drive in the next electric car attempt. So here we are now with that attempt nearly upon us.