Real Stories
15 Oct 2019

World record-breaking racer talks of his shock at prostate cancer diagnosis

Speed demon Don Wales is using motorsport to fight prostate cancer. He wants you along for the ride.

World Champion land speed racer Don Wales was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2017, and has been raising funds and awareness to fight prostate cancer since. Next month, Don will join us at The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show.

“It was a hell of a shock” says Don, “I went to see the doctor originally because of a long-standing stomach upset. I went for tests and said while they were doing it, I might as well have a PSA test because I hadn’t had one for a number of years."

“I had been diagnosed with an enlarged prostate previously, so was already mindful of that. My results came back, and while thankfully there was nothing wrong with my stomach, I was told I had prostate cancer."

“I had hardly any symptoms that I was aware of, apart from getting up to go to the toilet in the night, but I thought that was down to my enlarged prostate. I had very little knowledge of prostate cancer. I knew it was a disease that could affect men later in life and that you should get tested.”

Don had a robotic prostatectomy in May 2018, and has since been able to turn his attentions back to one of his passions – speed.

Don, famous for breaking world records in the beautiful blue machine, is grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell and nephew of Donald Campbell, who between them broke over 20 World Land and Water Speed records. He broke the land-speed record himself for a steam car in 2009, before clinching another record the following year – this time for a sit-on lawnmower, clocking speeds of over 80mph.

“Finding out you’ve broken the record is a unique feeling,” he says. “The more effort you’ve put in, the sweeter the success because you know it’s been such a big effort by everybody. It’s a real British team effort.”

Join the drive and put the brakes on prostate cancer

He combined his love for speed and his support for Prostate Cancer UK by waving off drivers as they set off on the 2018 instalment of the Round Britain Coastal Drive; an annual event which sees over 100 E-Type Jaguars embark on a 4,000-mile road trip across the country. The event has raised over £200,000 for the charity.

"I was honoured to flag off the entrants from Pendine Sands, where my grandfather set his first World Land Speed Record," said Don.

"We need to get more men to talk about this horrible cancer, and events like this raise awareness and valuable funds to help fight the disease."

Don will also be backing Prostate Cancer UK at the upcoming Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show from 8-10 November.

Need for speed? We have two Motor Shows coming up at the NEC in Birmingham.

8-10 November: The Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show, with Discovery. 

16-24 November: Motorcycle Live with Bikesure Insurance.

Whether you’re a classic car enthusiast, rally driver, vintage car lover or motor head, there are so many ways you can join the drive to stop prostate cancer being a killer.