Coniston Water is best known as the place Donald Campbell perished during a water speed record attempt in 1967. Campbell’s rocket-powered Bluebird K7 literally disintegrated at 320 mph, and the remains of the ill-fated craft and its driver were not recovered until 2001.
But in early November, the famed waterway, the third largest in England’s Lake District National Park, will be known for something else—and something far less grim. During Coniston Records Week, Nov. 5-9, the U-11 Peters & May-backed Unlimited hydroplane will attempt to set a United Kingdom National Water Speed Record. What’s more, it will be the first time an Unlimited hydro has run on United Kingdom waters.
The U-11 hydro will be piloted by its co-owner, J.W. Myers. Joining Myers in his efforts will be Peters & May-supported Aaron Salmon, who will attempt to break the O350 world record of 113.25 mph in his R102 hydro.
"We have a number of goals besides the records," said David Holley, the chief executive officer of Peters & May. "We want to remind the world of the strong presence and history of powerboat racing in the UK. We'd like the whole of Europe to get more familiar with the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane series, and we are always looking to strengthen the bond between two power boating strongholds like the UK and the USA."
The U-11 and R102 are scheduled to arrive in Southampton in late October. The boats will be trucked approximately five hours to Coniston and encounter winding country lanes not designed for something of the size and shape of a hydroplane.
"Our team is already working on the ground leg of the transport," Holley said, "And while there are a few challenges along the way, it's what we are in business to do."