While Cobb was getting set to take on the speed record by boat, so was Campbell. But Campbell had already burned bridges with Vospers, and they built a boat for Cobb instead, due to their experiences with him before WW2.
if you drive south from Inverness on the A82(T) along the north western shore of Loch Ness, and before you reach the sleepy village of Drumnadrochit near Urquhart Bay, there is a stone cairn on the left side of the road.
It overlooks the measured mile upon which he perished 40 years ago, and commemorates his fated attempt on the record on September 29 1952.
Cobb made his first run, at around 100mph, on September 3, following up with 140 the following day. Minor modifications were made to the hull, to prevent Crusader shipping gallons of water. On September 10 and 11 he believed he had broken the record unofficially, hitting speeds over 180 mph. Then, on the 19th, a Friday, he achieved 185.57mph running north to south, exactly the same as Stanley Sayres' one-way best but well above his fresh American mark of 178.497 in Slo-Mo-Shun IV.
A combination of poor weather and the usual difficulty of getting Crusader up on to the plane slowed the return run to 160.71 so that the average speed fell to 173.10, just below the record. "No, I don't think I did it," said Cobb as he stood back at base on the ageing Temple Pier in Glenurqhuart before the official speeds came through. "There was too much wind and she was tending to become unmanageable. I had to hold her back a bit."
After a larger rudder had been fitted, there were two more high-speed runs on the 27th, a Saturday, but Cobb did not exceed 150 this time. The Queen Mother paid a visit that day. "You have my best wishes - good luck," she said to Cobb, telling Vicki: "I feel sure your husband is going to break the record." Hers was not the first royal interest the project had attracted; Prine William of Gloucester and his younger brother Richard had been shown round the boat on the 2nd.
On the 29th, a Monday, they were ready to try again. According to Michael Radford, Cobb told his mother and Vicki that he had a premonition about the last run in Crusader. The boat was constructed from birch ply and a stressed skin of double diagonal plywood, but the front planing point was aluminium. Constructor Peter Dy Cane, of Vosper, had considered wood since he believed it to be inherently stronger, but finally opted for metal through convenience. After the series of test runs there was a clear evidence that the planing shoe was distorting. He offered to revise the craft at Vosper's expense, but Cobb preferred not to postpone the attempt, aware that he was keeping a lot of people waiting. There was what Du Cane described as a 'high-powered' meeting at the Drumnadrochit Hotel, in which his was a lone voice against Cobb's, Railton's and Eyston's. They all favoured continuing, to attempt to bear the record by a small margin and to return subsequently for another attempt the following year once the offending shoe had been modified. Thoughtfully, Cobb wrote a letter which absolved Du Cane of any responsibility. In the meantime, they strengthened the planing surface as much as possible.
That morning Crusader was taken out early on to the black waters of the lock as the overnight wind had dropped. To begin with it was oily calm, but as is the way with record breaking, a light breeze sprang up just when everythign was ready and the team was forced to abandon the effort. By noon, a little low in spirits, they repaired for coffee in the lounge of the Drumnadrochit Hotel to discuss the next step. Then came word that the loch was flat once more, and hurriedly everyone departed again for their stations. The support boats had been left in position, but as Vicki took up station with Du Cane in the radio car at a site overlooking the midpoint of the measured mile, Cobb returned to the loch and found the timekeepers' 40ft boat Maureen returning to base against orders. He was angered by the wake that was created. Time was of the essence on the fickle black water, however, and he could not afford to wait any longer.
William Rees, the radio/intercom organiser, was the last person to speak to John Cobb. "I adjusted his helmet and said, 'Are you all set?'. He replied: 'Yes, here goes. Conditions seem to be quite favourable at the moment. Let's take advantage of it.' I wished him 'Good Luck'. He gave me the thumbs up sign and set off."
Moments later Cobb sped southwards at astonishing speed, close in to the west bank, but as he cleared the measured mile it could be seen that Crusader was porpoising dramatically. While conceiving Donald Campbell's Bluebird K7, designed Ken Norris would late analyse cine film recorded for 15 seconds immediately before and after the accident. It was shot at 16 frames per second, and the 248 frames revealed just how badly Cobb and Crusader were trapped in the dreaded aero/hydrodynamic problem. Cobb was being pitched up and down through an 18 inch arc five times a second. Just before the final dive the bows could be seen to be raised, with daylight visible beneath the hull as far aft as the sponsons.
A quarter of a second later the bow had dipped again, throwing up a cloud of spray.
"When on station we waited, straining ears amd eyes for the evidence which would tell that Crusader was on her way towards us," recalled Eyston in his book, Safety Last. "At last, we could just spot a plume of spray in the far distance - the great moment had arrived! The speeding boat was still perhaps six miles away but I could hold her in my glasses. Gradually the plume got more and more pronounced and could be picked up against the shoreline. Then - suddenly - it vanished."
"Crusader simply went into smithereens," said George Nicholson, manager of the Drumnadrochit Hotel. "I thought it must have dug its nose into the water."
Du Cane observed that Cobb was in trouble well before the end of the mile, and that he had already backed off when he came out of it and met three ripples, thought to have been the remnants of the wash created by the errant support boat. The impacts with the first two were serious. The third was fatal. The porpoising boat exploded into fragments. Cobb was thrown 50 yards ahead, and died instantly.
Harry Cole and Hugh Jones of Vosper raced their support boat to the spot where they had seen Cobb strike the water, and found him floating in a standing position, a foot below the surface. Somehow, they pulled his body aboard.
He had covered the measured mile in 17.4s, at an average speed of 206.89mph and with a peak of a phenomenal 240. But, because he had not achieved a return run, no record could officially be ratified.
"From the fact that he averaged more than 205mph over the whole measured mile and that he was in trouble before the halfway point it is not difficult to realize he must have been going very fast indeed initially," said Du Cane. "It would be difficult for him to keep an eye on the air speed indicator and he was undoubtedly going faster than he had meant to."
The I-80/I-35 Challenge, Border-to-Border Traffic Safety initiative covers 4,400 miles of roadway from California to New Jersey and Minnesota to Texas and was planned to coincide with the “You Drink You Drive You Lose” (YDYDYL), national enforcement campaign.
Four guys who hang out at a curbside bar owned by ‘Joe’ and their often hilarious antics and adventures give a glimpse into French cafe’ racer culture of the 70’s and provide more than a few laughs along the way. Chased by cops, taunting each other into overstepping their riding ability, happily tearing down a stranded rider’s Guzzi (even though it only ran out of gas), and experimenting with Joe’s cocktail mix in their fuel are just some examples of the hijinks they live through
Despite only having small motors and generally only being capable of speeds of around 15mph, the bikes are still legally classed as powered two-wheelers and in the same classification as mopeds.
Throughout the rest of the UK, legislation was passed in 1995 that ruled the Electrical Assisted Pedal Bicycles – or EAPCs – exempt from that ‘moped equivalent’ law, but it’s come to light that Northern Ireland didn’t implement the same exemption.
So far, they aren't wasting time ticketing the very, very few people that might be in violation... but it's on the books
On August 26, 1967, Munro set a record that still stands.
He had an average speed for two runs of 183.586 miles per hour (later corrected to 184.087 mph). Munro, who was 68 at the time, set the record on the above 1920 Indian Scout he bought new.
Burt first visited Bonneville in 1957.
He wouldn’t return until 1962, bootstrapping his way across the Pacific as a cook on a cargo ship and flat towing the Indian behind a $90 Nash station wagon from Long Beach to Bonneville.
That year, he pushed the streamlined Indian to a record of 179 MPH in the 850cc class, and due in no small part to the encouragement he received from fellow racers, he continued to return to Bonneville throughout the Sixties.
In 1967, the last year he would race at Bonneville, Munro had enlarged the Indian’s V-twin to 950cc and entered it in Class S-A 1,000cc.
His top speed of 191 MPH and his average speed of 183.586 MPH at that year’s Bonneville Speed Week not only set the class record, but also established Munro’s then-47-year-old bike as the fastest Indian motorcycle.
That record went on to stand until 2014 when Munro’s son John convinced the American Motorcycle Association to correct a calculation error, bumping Munro’s record to 184.087 MPH.