Engine setback for Speed Scotland12 | 08 | 2012

    SPEED SCOTLAND'S BID to break the 1000cc World Land Speed Record suffered a setback when it suffered a major engine problem at 230mph.

    The Lesmahagow-based team, led by ProMotorsport boss Derek Palmer, will replace the engine before running again later today on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

    "It's definitely not ideal," Palmer admitted after checking the car, Christened Flower of Scotland, "but these things happen. The car was accelerating through 230mph when the engine suffered a conrod failure in piston one.

    "Thankfully we have a spare engine, and we'll instal that into the car. Obviously it's a setback, but the team's strong and we remain committed that we can break the 313mph world record."

    The team's 22in-wide, methanol-powered Streamliner car — backed by EFG International and Swiss watchmaker Maurice de Mauriac — is driven by Rick Pearson.

    And Pearson, one of only two Brits licensed to drive at more than 300mph, at one stage found himself driving one-handed at over 150mph.

    "On our first run with the car I got a great launch and moved up through the first couple of gears," Pearson explained.

    "Everything was running well, but some smoke in the cockpit suddenly got very serious.

    See more photos of Speed Scotland at Bonneville

    "While I was quite relaxed at 200mph with limited visibility, once I got to the point that oxygen became rather limited I thought it was time to throw the chute and slow the car down.

    "In fact I was forced to open the canopy as quickly as possible, and to do this I had to undo the belts. I ended up doing around 150mph one-handed and unbelted!

    "Once we got the car back to the team, they checked it over and found it was nothing serious, just a seal that had failed. A couple of hours later, it was all fixed and we were ready to go again.

    "On arrival at the start, the weather turned and rain blew across the course, with lightning striking one of the timing beams, so the course was shut-down.

    "Eventually, having lined up to start at around 2.30, it was 6pm before we were able to head out on to the legendary long course.

    "I had worse launch than in the morning, but soon the Flower of Scotland was accelerating quickly up through the first two gears.

    Rain hits Speed Scotland bid

    "I was heading towards the two- mile marker at great pace in third gear when it sunder like 300 monkeys with hammers had broken loose behind my head: the sound of a major engine failure. I dipped the clutch and coasted off the course.
"After the Flower had run so well on the first run, the latest development was total heartbreak for the Speed Scotland crew.

    "Once we get the car back to the pits, it becomes obvious we’ve had a conrod failure in piston one.

    "It's nothing we’ve ever experienced before. It's just one of those things, sadly, when you try and stretch limits.

    "Thankfully we’ve got another engine and the crew will start changing it first thing tomorrow, and hopefully we'll be able to run again by last thing.

    "It's been a long hard hot day for everyone, and though we all feel a bit broken right now, we’ll fight on determined to bring the record back to Scotland."

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    Jim McGill

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