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Posted by : Ray Wakefield - Date: 9 Nov 2004 at 13:29

Although the news page has been looking a little neglected over the past few months, thatís not to say that nothing has happened.

Firstly, the Campbell event had to be cancelled.

It will achieve nothing to go into the details of why and wherefore now, it's water under the bridge, but let's just say that a certain very large sponsor, having secured the rights to use their equipment on the Bluebird Campbell car, together with naming rights, got cold feet when they realised what the ramifications for them would be if their product failed.

At about the same time, the Primetime Landspeed Engineering team decided that they would make their bid for the World Electrically Powered Record in Tunisia . This dealt a mortal blow to the Campbell Celebration, and subsequently their own plans for World honours for, having taken e=motion to North Africa, unseasonable rain meant that they were faced with a totally unusable track, which completely scuttled any chances of them becoming record holders, at least in 2004.

They then turned their sights once again to South Africa , only for a few weeks later to change their minds once again in favour of another Northern Hemisphere venue for a future attempt.

In the meantime, the Ohio State University 's contender, Buckeye Bullet, has hit a top speed of 316 mph at the recent Bonneville Speed Week, several mph above what is thought to be the present top whack of the British vehicle. Although not an official World Record, it has shown the American team's capability, and the next eight or nine months will be an interesting period for the battery powered crowd.

Regrettable as it is, the cancellation of the Campbell event is in no way seen as a total loss, rather as a valuable "pathfinding" exercise. Experience gained in trying to arrange the running of both Bluebird/Vampire and e=motion has added to our fund of knowledge and raised the awareness among a number of organisations in South Africa, and not just those connected with motorsport, which has to be a good thing. All of this will undoubtedly stand us in good stead next time around.

Whilst all this has been going on, a number of teams have been in contact with us with a view to running for World Land Speed Records here. Their personnel who have visited the venues in the Northern Cape have gone away delighted with what they have found, and have resolved to come here.

Two of these teams are experienced campaigners that have previously run at Bonneville Salt Flats .

What more need one say?

As none of the teams have made their plans public at this stage, it would not be appropriate for Speedrecord SA to divulge their identity, however when they are ready to 'go public' you can be sure that this site will carry the announcement. So for now it is literally a case of 'Watch this space."

I guess we were all devastated to learn of the disastrous fire at the National Motorcycle Museum, England, last September.

Among the literally hundreds of motorcycles that were destroyed were several record breakers of the past. One of these was the Johnny Allen streamliner The Texas Ceegar. This Triumph engined streamliner took the motorcycle LSR to 214 mph back in 1956, and led to the most Triumph's famous production motorcycle being called the Bonneville.

A team of enthusiasts in Texas accepted the challenge of rebuilding this, and their remarkable effort is chronicled on their website www.saveourstreamliner.com so I will not enlarge upon it here.

I felt that this was a cause well worthy of support by South African Classic Motorcycle enthusiasts - particularly Triumph owners - and those with a respect for the history of two-wheeled record breaking.

To that end, a collection was arranged among the local Old Bike crowd. We were not able to raise a great deal, especially as the national Triumph Owner's Club refused to participate, however between SpeedrecordSA and the Kickstart Club of Port Elizabeth, a small sum was gathered and donated in the name of the latter.

We decided that, as our contribution would be insignificant in the cost of the complete restoration, we would rather express our admiration for what the team was doing by buying them a few beers when the machine finally ran.

The streamliner was completed in a restoration that must rank among one of the most authentic ever undertaken. Not only did they use the original mould for the body shell, but even some of the original tools!

The rebuilt Texas Ceegar ran again at Bonnevile at this year's BUB meeting, exactly 48 years to the day after it had set the record, and The Kickstart Club (together with Speedrecord SA) were pleased to duly foot the bill for the team's celebratory beers.


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