“Seems my law-breaking activities in Australia have made the nightly news and the national newspapers, and got the furious cops on my tail. And I'm not exaggerating for the purpose of an entertaining column: they actually have.

I write for an Australian car magazine called Wheels, a fine and respected 60 year-old title. The current editor, Stephen Corby, is running a campaign to increase the speed limit on Australia's freeways from 110km/h (68mph) to 130km/h, or 80mph. He asked me to drive from Melbourne to Sydney at 130 to prove how much shorter this would make long Aussie road trips, getting tired drivers off the road sooner.

An Australian motoring writer couldn't have done it. Australia is humourless in its enforcement of speed limits; you'll be stopped for exceeding them by just 2mph, and a local writer would almost certainly have lost his licence if he'd tried to cover 500-odd miles at 20km/h over the limit.

So I flew into Melbourne with the sole intention of breaking the law. But I didn't feel much like Ned Kelly. Given the huge row that would erupt when the story was published, the act itself was one of the least-heroic things I've ever done in a car. I only did 130km/h where the posted limit was 110, and observed any lower limits, such as through road works. Overall, I only averaged 75.4mph. But a 'control' car we sent on the same trip, following the same rules but at 110km/h could only average 63.6mph, and took seven and a half hours to make the trip. I cut an hour and 11 minutes from that.