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Petrol-head beats land speed record - in a Smart car

A motor-sport enthusiast has set three new British land speed records – in the car he uses to do the shopping.

A motor-sport enthusiast has set three new British land speed records – in the car he uses to do the shopping.

Petrol-head Graeme Smith, 40, from Macclesfield, achieved the feats in a tiny one litre Smart car, on the ground where Sir Malcolm Campbell set the world land speed record in 1927.

A research scientist at Astra Zeneca in Alderley Edge, Graeme races small sports cars as a hobby and has won the Caterham Graduates championship four times.

He said he had been determined to set a land speed record after idolising Campbell and his son Donald as a youngster.

Graeme is now set to be confirmed as the speed record holder in a Class G diesel car – with an engine capacity of between 750 and 1100cc. He noticed no one had ever attempted the record in that class, so decided to travel up to Pendine Sands in South Wales to give it a go.

He tagged along with the Bluebird Electric team which was attempting to set a new record for an electric car, driven by Malcolm Campbell’s great-grandson Joe Wales.

He said: "Malcolm and all those sorts of people are real heroes of mine so it’s been a life-long ambition to set a land speed record.

"No one has attempted records in the class in over a century of British speed records." He reached a top speed of 80mph, with the car only capable of doing 85mph. His fastest record was 70.1 mph across a quarter of a mile, which is subject to ratification by the Motor Sports Association. "I wouldn’t say it was particularly difficult or a feat of engineering," he said. "It’s just my normal, day-to-day car which I do the shopping and go to work in.

"I think I drove faster on the drive down to South Wales – but a record is a record. Hopefully it will inspire other people to have a go." Graeme says he plans to defend the record if needed and is setting his sights on other classes.

THE Bluebird team’s bid ended in disaster when the car hit a pothole and smashed its suspension.

 
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