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Loch-side tribute to tragic multiple record-breaker

By SPP Reporter

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John Cobb's memorial cairn at Lenie.
John Cobb's memorial cairn at Lenie.

SPEED enthusiasts from across UK will gather at Loch Ness today to mark the 60th anniversary of the death of a world record-breaker who was the inspiration to future generations.

Members of the Speed Record Club of Great Britain and former world land speed record holder Richard Noble will join locals at the John Cobb memorial cairn at Lenie, three miles south of Drumnadrochit, to pay their respects to a legend.

Mr Cobb perished on 29th September, 1952, while trying to break the world water speed record on Loch Ness.

Among those paying tribute will be Richard Noble who will lay a wreath at the memorial on behalf of himself and his record breaking teams.

At that time of Mr Cobb’s death, Mr Noble’s father was in charge of Cameron Barracks in Inverness and aged six he was taken by his parents to see Mr Cobb’s jet-propelled boat Crusader at Temple Pier, Drumnadrochit. It was love at first sight and Mr Cobb has been a continual inspiration to him in his own record-breaking career.

After the memorial service, Mr Noble will return to Temple Pier to catch up with his friend Gordon Menzies, who has worked to keep the memory of Mr Cobb alive.

Drumnadrochit businessman Willie Cameron believes more should have been done to remember Mr Cobb.

"It is a terrible tragedy that John Cobb has not been treated better by Scotland and by the area around here," he said. "He was, of his day, a superstar. He was Stirling Moss, he was Lewis Hamilton, he was everything to the sport he was involved in which was speed racing."

Mr Cobb was the first man to travel at 400mph on land and 200mph on water, the holder of 68 land speed records and the all-time Brooklands track record holder.

The 52-year-old had completed the first run in Crusader, attaining a speed of 206.89mph, far exceeding the then record of 173.14mph, but as he slowed when he hit a series of waves, bounced twice and broke up and was killed.

The memorial cairn at Lenie was erected by the people of Drumnadrochit and Glenurquhart and people lined the streets as his coffin was driven out of Inverness’s Royal Northern Infirmary.

Inverness-based Cobb researcher Diana Royce said: "There must be hundreds of people who remember lining the banks of Loch Ness while he made his run and who remember him being in the area. It would be most interesting to hear of their memories of that time."


Do you remember John Cobb’s fateful record attempt? Contact The Inverness Courier on 01463 233059 or e-mail editorial@inverness-courier.co.uk

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