Hard to believe, but Richard Noble’s Thrust2 land speed record attempt at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada will be 30 years old on 4 October. 30 years since he began with a budget of £175, and ended up on the right side of a (then) new world land speed record of 633.468mph.
But while the story itself is fascinating – his record wrestled the hegemony of land speed records away from the Americans and brought it back to Blighty – it’s the reason he gave that is astonishing. “For Britain and for the hell of it”.
And on the eve of the anniversary, we’ve just seen this lovely little video clip where Richard – with the help of wing commander Andy Green (the first person to break the sound barrier in Thrust2′s successor, ThrustSSC) – explain the difficulties in the attempt.
These included starting from that aforementioned budget of just £175, torrential rain, high winds, an engine surge which could have wiped out the jet, and a ‘very public’ 180mph crash.
“This car is part of my family,” explains Noble. “It took over six years to get the Land Speed Record and I’ve been over 600mph 11 times in it.”
And he’s not left the honourable pursuit of getting from one place to another in not much time at all behind. Because he’s now leading the Bloodhound Project: a global education initiative in the shape of a 1,000mph land speed record attempt. Oh yes, physics, engineering and maths just got a whole lot faster…
You can read more about Bloodhound SSC at the links below, but first, have a watch of the video. And is it just us, or does Thrust2 look like a steroidal version of the 1989 Batmobile?