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Author Topic: Farewell Charles Burnett III - Steam Car World Record Holder  (Read 331 times)
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« on: July 24, 2018, 08:25:31 PM »

Farewell Charles Burnett III - Steam Car World Record Holder

In early June I joined the family, friends and other motorsports pals for a celebration of this man's fine, but tragic, cut-short life at Newtown Park Estate in England's idyllic New Forest, a couple miles from the southern coastline. The great majority of you will never know this man's unending generosity, thoughtfulness and behind-the-scenes helpfulness that extended far beyond land speed racing and covered the globe. I will admit this publicly for the first time: he had repeatedly assured me that when we were ready to implement the engineering plan to restore the salt crust that all I need do was ask and funding would have been covered. I have no doubt whatsoever that this was anything but sincere as my experience working with Charles was always exemplary.

My heart is so heavy writing this, but I must share the tribute we unveiled in the garden of his estate. The family thought a headstone was useless and we all agreed with their option. This monument carries on his achievement, and the lady posing with me is Pam Swanston, widow of Frank Swanston, the man who made this race car a working reality along with Jerry Bliss (the ThrustSSC big engineering brain).

We ended our evening with fireworks, Charles most favorite plaything in the whole wide world. Of course, it paled in comparison to his 60th birthday display that included not only a 30 minute sky spectacular, but 3 strafing runs using a 'Nam era Huey, all organized by his Special Forces pals. We - some 250 - were 1/2 mile away and yet the heat from each payload drop made us back up a few steps on the first run. You can do this when you have a few thousand acres to play with in the southwest. The bestest birthday party I ever did attend.

Know this: The British Steam Car was 100% financed by CBIII, an American living in Houston with family ties in Canada and the UK. Don Wales, Malcolm and Donald Campbell's relative, owes his FIA record to Charles' immense generosity by giving up his seat so Don could add to the Campbell legacy. Bittersweet, Wales went out and etched a mark higher than what CBIII laid down. When he died, a new car was already in the works, but I doubt the anyone in the family has the enthusiasm to shepherd it forward, so CBIII will forever be the "slower" driver.   

We lost an honest-to-goodness, hot-roddin' speedster who gave much, yet asked for little in return in all the time I was privileged to know him. I intially dubbed him "Captain Chaos", but quickly corrected my mistake and promoted him to the thoroughly well-earned rank of "General Chaos" - a name that stuck, and a mantra he embraced with every breath he took until his last. My God, he was such fun to hang out with. . .

May the Lord Bless Him and Keep Him

LandSpeed Louise


* Inspiration Pam LSL.jpg (288.63 KB, 1575x1032 - viewed 76 times.)

* Steam car FIA.jpg (182.99 KB, 1054x1350 - viewed 66 times.)
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