Cisco Bloodhound TV, Episode 30
Tuesday, 1 October, 2013
In this episode of Cisco BHTV: Richard Noble and Andy Green discuss the challenges Richard faced when driving Thrust2 at over 600 mph.
October 4th marks the 30th anniversary of Richard Noble driving Thrust 2 to a then world record speed of 633.468 mph (1,019.47 kmh). When asked why he had done it, Noble replied: "For Britain and for the hell of it."
To buy a DVD of the film visit www.bloodhoundssc.com/shop
It was the realisation of a childhood ambition sparked when six-year old Noble saw 'Crusader', the boat built for land speed legend John Cobb, moored on a Loch Ness quayside.
His journey from backseat day-dreamer to World Record breaker would be characterized by boundless energy, unswerving enthusiasm and the unshakeable belief that any obstacle could be ground down to become an opportunity.
This faith was tested many times during the six years of the Thrust Project as Richard and a small team of engineers and volunteers overcame technical and financial challenges, freak floods, failures and a very public 180 mph (290 kmh) crash, to ultimately set a record that would remain unbeaten for fourteen years.
Since Donald Campbell reached 403.10 mph (648.72 kmh) with his iconic Bluebird CN7 in 1964, the Land Speed record had become the preserve of younger American racers, who challenged the existing rules and harnessed the might of surplus military jet engines to rapidly push the limit far beyond the 500 mph (800 kmh) mark.
In 1970 Gary Gabelich achieved a two-way average speed through the Measured Mile of 622.407 mph (1001.666 kmh), in the spare and elegant 'Blue Flame' -- to this day the only successful rocket-powered Land Speed Record car. There the record stood, seemingly out of reach, until a Twickenham-based enthusiast championed the design and build of the UK's first jet powered Land Speed contender.
The Thrust2 team had several record attempts ruined by the weather: Bonneville in '81 was washed out, Bonneville in '82 was under two feet of water when they arrived, this prompted the team to discover the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, a dried out lakebed that offered 12 miles (20 km) of perfectly flat baked mud which perfectly suited their solid wheels. However, after a few runs it started raining.
The team returned in 1983 and made 11 runs as they learned how the car handled at speeds above 600 mph. They had many more setbacks along the way including days of torrential rain, high winds and an engine surge which could have destroyed the jet. Fortunately the Avon was unharmed and the team was able to set the record of 633 mph on October 4th and return to the UK victorious.
"This car is part of my family, it took over six years to get the Land Speed Record and I've been over 600 mph 11 times in it" said Richard Noble.
Richard went on to direct the Thrust SSC campaign which, in 1997, culminated in RAF fighter pilot Andy Green becoming the first person to break the sound barrier on land. Their record of 763.035 mph (1,227.985 kmh) still stands.
Today Richard is leading The BLOODHOUND Project, a global education initiative focused on a 1,000 mph (1,609 kmh) land speed record attempt. The new car builds on the legacy of Thrusts 2 and SSC, combining space, aeronautic and Formula 1 technologies to cross the Measured Mile in just 3.6 seconds.
"We could never have done Thrust SSC without Thrust2. It generated a huge amount of publicity and interest and resulted in a three-way challenge between ourselves, the McLaren F1 team and Craig Breedlove with his car Spirit of America -- Sonic 1. The experience we gained fed into the Supersonic car programme and the subsequent success of Thrust SSC, with Andy driving, created this enormous global following that enabled us to start The Bloodhound Project."
For the first time in Land Speed Record history, going fast is not the team's main objective. Instead it is to use BLOODHOUND to showcase science, technology, engineering and mathematics in the most exciting way possible, and inspire a future generation of engineers and technologists.
Richard's childhood dream has now evolved into a multi-faceted, worldwide movement, with followers in over 220 countries, 5,500 UK schools using BLOODHOUND in the classroom and a small army of ambassadors sharing the excitement with audiences on five continents.