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Image: PA

I returned to Hampshire after a month away and learned that a Hampshire man, Charles Burnett III, had smashed a 103-year-old world land speed record for steam-powered vehicles.

Driving the 25ft-long British Steam Car - nicknamed the 'fastest kettle in the world' - he reached an average speed of 139.843mph on two runs over a measured mile at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Mr Burnett said: 'It was absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed every moment of it.

'We reached nearly 140mph on the first run before I applied the parachute.

'The second run went even better and we clocked a speed in excess of 150mph. The car really did handle beautifully.'

As Burnett financed the car, that must have been satisfying. He is the nephew of speed ace Lord Montagu of Beaulieu.

The car will reside at the National Motor Museum in Hampshire. It is made from a mixture of lightweight carbon-fibre composite and aluminium wrapped around a steel space frame chassis and fitted with 12 boilers containing nearly two miles of tubing.

Where, if anywhere, this steam feat leads is an open (and exciting) question. British engineering proved excellent, and the British support team was fantastic.

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