I was fascinated, as a kid, by Donald Campbell’s land speed record attempt on Lake Eyre, Australia, in July, 1964.
At the time, his record seemed to be unimaginably fast. And it was – as David Tremayne recalls in his excellent book, Donald Campbell: the man behind the mask. (I recommend, too, John Pearson’s The Bluebird and the Dead Lake.)
That, however, was then. The last wheel-driven land speed record.
Craig Breedlove, the first man to break 600 mph, for me was up there with Superman. Art Arfons, meanwhile, could have been his sidekick. Then came Andy Green – the first man to break the sound barrier and the current world record holder at 763.035mph.
To me, Andy is a hero – and I suspect this becomes obvious in the adjoining interviews. Visiting him at the Bloodhound base in Bristol is to re-visit an F1 team as they used to hum along in the 1990s. The right size with the right people. An atmosphere of passion and detail. Goals that broaden the brain.
I know some of you will think that these videos are over-length. My producers thought long and hard about editing them down…before we decided to stick with it. Andy is a compelling speaker as well as a compelling person. His words, his knowledge, his experiences and his thought processes are addictive and emphatically not conducive to summary. I had to be torn away from the Bloodhound base and I’ll be first in the queue when the car turns a wheel.