Letters received from Guinness

On 9 July 1989, three days after his return from Greece, Prino wrote a letter detailing the four rides that resulted in his new personal best, to the editor of the Guinness Book of Records.

This time he included the names and addresses of the four drivers, and only did so because the length of first of the four rides exceeded his previous best 24-hour distance, 2,088 km, covered in 1986, partly covering the same route, on both occasions Prino was on his way back from Athens to De Bilt.

Letter from Guinness, dated 26 July 1989

Letter of 26 July 1989

Some two weeks later he received a letter signed by Nicholas Heath-Brown, deputy editor of the Guinness Book of Records. Needlessly to say, Prino was (rather more than) a little disappointed by its contents…


In his letter Mr Brown mentions that “… we shall be in contact with Ken Welsh…”, and that gave me shimmer of hope, as Ken Welsh is the author of “Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe”, a long out-of-print guidebook, and a few years earlier I'd actually been in contact with him, having discovered that a Dutch scumbag had translated Ken’s book into Dutch, sold it to a big Dutch publisher, and then disappeared. Ken had rewarded me with a “meal by mail” for bringing this to his (and his publisher’s) attention.

For many years, in fact until the moment I wrote this page, I had the suspicion that Ken had, after having been contacted by Guinness, suggested they include my record, but to get to the bottom, I decided to Google him, using some information I’m not going to disclose here. The search results returned a page that allowed me to contact him, and much to my surprise he told me that “… to the best of my recollection, Guinness never contacted me. …”

As for Ken Welsh, he now lives in Spain, and is active as a photographer. You can find his work on Alamy.

Letter from Guinness, dated 27 December 1989

Letter of 27 December 1989

Then, just before the end of the year, the postman rang the bell, and delivered a huge envelope. In it was the Guinness “record certificate” you can find on page that took you here, and the letter on the right.

Obviously Prino lived in fear for the next five months, but eventually, when the 1991 edition of the book appeared in the shops, he let go, and there may still be a dent in the ceiling of a house in Ipswich.

Last updated on 4 September 2022 (Use typographical quotes)

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