Product Sponsor Graham Lockwood tells us more about the new truck provided to him by another sponsor Rossett's Commercials, plus his latest insight about Bloodhound on the Road!
Now come on be honest, how many of you out there have actually seen the Bloodhound Truck? Now up until now I’d have forgiven you should you have missed it, after all, you are supposed to be concentrating on driving and watching out for cyclists. That is unless you’re on the M6 in which case you’ll have all the time in the world as it never seems be clear and is always blocked due to some incident or other. Don’t get me started!
I have to start this article with the biggest thank you possible to Rossetts Ltd. For those of you out there that had noticed the Sprinter van from Rossetts, we can now add a Mercedes Benz Truck to our collection of toys. It’s not easy to miss having been suitably liveried up. For the real “Truckee’s” out there, you’ll notice that this unit is a long distance 2546 LS cab. The cab is fitted with an auxiliary night heater which is ideal for those cold days down south. It has a very comfortable arm chair for the driver. But not so comfortable that he falls asleep. If you’re really turned on by trucks, particularly this one or any of the other Bloodhound Trucks, maybe you’re just interested in what it would be like to be a “Bloodhound Trucker”, keep watching the web site, You will soon be given the opportunity to ride in one of the trucks and talk to the windscreen!!
Since my last article, I can confirm that whilst I have continued talking to the windscreen, I haven’t started to argue with it. My windscreen will confirm that. We “Bloodhound Truckers” have been very busy delivering the Show Car and other exhibits to schools and colleges as well as other commercial events. We have met and made some great friends on our journeys and if we had time would like to thank each and every one of you for your help and support during the loading and offloading procedures. We haven’t dropped a thing to date although we did damage the rear near side wheel assembly last year. I’m not going to mention where or who was responsible to protects Ian’s identity.
Unfortunately the following day the Show Car was being taken to an event where both the BBC and ITV where sending camera crews. Now the BBC were very professional, asked about the damage and said they would film the other side to avoid the damage being shown to millions of views on the 6 O’clock news. ITV on the other hand were totally different. They made no effort to hide the damage whilst filming. It was even highlighted. It really upset me and I have vowed never to watch Coronation Street or Emerdale again. When the reporter asked me on Camera how the damage had been sustained, I could resist. “Well”, I began with; “I was backing the car out of a hall last night in the dark. There are no lights on BloodhoundSSC and no rear view mirrors. After all, at 1000 miles per hour, who or what’s going to overtake! Mirror sign and manoeuvre isn’t exactly going to be on Andy’s mind.” I continued with my lie “So, I was backing BloodhoundSSC out of the hall and down a narrow drive and I just didn’t see the parked car at the end. Next thing I knew was CRUNCH!” By now I was in full flow and the tale was just getting darker and darker. “Oh dear… there goes Andy’s No Claim Bonus” The reporter was very kind and replied with “never mind, I’m sure the pit crew will get the car repaired in time for the next test run”. “Yeh right” I thought, what does this guy think he’s reporting on? This isn’t Top Gear or the F1 show.
For those of you who haven’t seen the Show Car, it is a full size fibre glass model. A very expensive and realistic fibre glass model that needs to be treated with great deal of respect so if I see you putting your finger prints all over it, I’ll pass you the cleaning kit. The ITV reporter didn’t even realise that this particular model had no engines, no real wheels that rotated and was sat on 8 steel supports. Thank goodness Cisco are running the Bloodhound TV channel. Just as an afterthought, Kids. You shouldn’t tell lies, fibs or tell porkies. You will get found out as I did approximately 30 minutes after the interview. Needless to say, I didn’t appear on the television. I did receive a rather hard punch on the shoulder which was followed by a rather large camera man telling me I was bonkers and should receive some kind of medical attention. The camera man then proceeded to tell me that the show car was a rather expensive fibre glass model!
Now talking of trucks, I was talking to a young gentleman last week at the Excel Conference centre which is down South, not far from a modern day, rather large Igloo called the O2 Arena or something like that. There was no way the O2 was going to melt, it was so cold down there, even a hard northern lad like me had to wear a bob hat and gloves with his Bloodhound Tee shirt. This young gentleman was asking me about how much the development of BloodhoundSSC had cost and wasn’t it a bit daft considering the current markets. Now I can’t comment on other towns, but Wigan Market is doing very well, it must be, my wife always loves shopping there. Anyway, I think he was trying to make the point that it was costing rather a lot of money that could be spent on other things.
We discussed the advantages of developing new technologies. We need things like Bloodhound Programme to research and develop new gadgets etc. Take the mobile phone for example, in 1980; mobile phones were only affordable after selling a kidney. They were so expensive, now every kid on the block can afford one. They were so big you needed an articulated truck just to transport the battery pack, now they are so small you forget you left it in your back pocket until you sit down and hear that breaking glass sound. And now you can take pictures, surf the web, download apps, watch Television. I do believe you can still make phone calls on them too. All this development is because there are young engineers out there and young scientists. There aren’t enough so we need to encourage the next generation to help push this world into the eco-friendly and very efficient way of living. How much is that going to cost? Is it possible to put a price on it? And if we can stop the Americans from taking the World Land Speed Record from Great Britain then surely the amount of money spent on the design of BloodhoundSSC is worth it? Besides, we need to kick start the economy and if Bloodhound can do that as well…
It was about an hour later whilst I was loading the EJ200 Jet engine onto the back off the truck. The fork lift operator jokingly reminded me to make sure that the jet engine was securely fastened down onto the trailer, and to make sure we wouldn’t experience a premature engine start up. It kind of got me thinking, what would happen if the BloodhoundSSC, when completed and being transported to a test run in the UK did suffer from a premature engine start up? Would it be possible? No don’t be daft, how could a rocket suddenly ignite, how could a jet engine suddenly start up without being fired up, how can the Cosworth V8 engine suddenly kick into life, rev up to 12000 rpm and start pumping the oxidizer from the empty tank into the rocket chamber? It’s not going to happen, but what if… Well I guess then and only then could you say that the design cost of BloodhoundSSC was expensive and unnecessary. After all providing we weren’t on the M6 at the time, G&J Lockwood Ltd would become the World Land Speed Record holders, the driver with the CB Handle “Rubber Duck” would have to change his nickname to something more appropriate and a Mercedes Benz Truck would be the fastest vehicle in the world. You’re right, it’s not going to happen.
(the Original Bloodhound Trucker - other Bloodhound Truckers are available!)