The quest for the Water Speed Record is one of the most dangerous, least forgiving and most unheralded of endeavours. Defined by the fatal crash of Donald Campbell in 1967 on Lake Coniston, it lacks some of the glamour of the land speed record, yet hundreds have made attempts over the years - many with spectacular and sometimes tragic results.
The first official record of 74 mph was set in 1920 in a boat elegantly called Miss America. Fifty-eight years later, the Spirit of Australia skimmed across the surface at over 317 mph, a speed still unsurpassed. That small 243 mph increase in just under six decades pays little testament to the trials and tribulations endured by the likes of Campbell Snr and Jnr, Segrave, Don and Warby. Whereas the land speed record has been beaten time and again by surprisingly large margins, the water version has been tougher and more pronounced, only being increased by percentages. This book captures the burning desire and incredible single-mindedness that is needed to take on the elements and propel a craft across water faster than anyone before ... and for what glory?
Roy Calley works for BBC Sport as a TV Producer. He is the author of Blackpool: The Complete Record (2011), Hunt for Glory (2011), Blackpool's 1953 FA Cup Final (2012), The Playboy and the Rat (2013) and The World Water Speed Record (2014). His passion is for speed records, both on land and water, and he hopes that one day he may be able to add a little bit of history of his own. He lives in Nice in the south of France and has an in-depth knowledge of the area, including the Principality of Monaco. He has been fascinated by Mary, Queen of Scots dramatic and ultimately tragic story for many years and has visited all the locations described in his book.