Home

The
BLOODHOUND
Project

The Bloodhound Project Hakskeen Pan

By the summer of 2009, Verneuk Pan in the Northern Cape region of South Africa was becoming our firm favorite for running BLOODHOUND SSC, despite the mountains of stones. It was the site of Malcolm Campbell’s 1929 record attempt track. Campbell was also worried by the stones and shale and a large team of labourers took 3 months to prepare a track 120 ft wide for him. We need to prepare an area 18 km long by 1500 m wide, about 40 times the size of Campbell’s!

What would have made Verneuk possible though, was the support of the Northern Cape Government. They saw that the huge global PR, the national excitement, and the close links with the BLOODHOUND education programme would all benefit South Africa enormously. The Northern Cape Government commissioned a full survey of Verneuk Pan, to confirm the work required.

However, it was not good news: clearing Verneuk was going to be much more difficult than we expected. A full survey last month revealed that the shale bed was breaking up underneath the playa surface and would cause us a lot of problems. The end of the road for South Africa? Not quite. There was one other option – Hakskeen Pan.

Hakskeen Pan, right in the North Western corner of South Africa, was initially dismissed because of a large dirt road running across it. However, last year a new tarmac road was built across the end of the Pan and the old dirt road became defunct. Could we move the dirt road causeway and repair the surface? Previous test repairs on Verneuk Pan suggested that we could. A final desert visit was called for – and in early November Andy Green and John Piper made another journey to Northern Cape Province. This time, the news was all good. Over 19 km long, 5 km wide, very hard and very flat (apart from some surface stones – and the dirt causeway, of course!), great access (the new tarmac road), nearby accommodation, on-site power, good communications, ideal weather: this was the location Andy Green had been chasing for over a year and a half!

Best of all, Hakskeen is in the Northern Cape – and we’ve already got the full backing of the Provincial Government! This support is vital for us. It’s been hugely refreshing to deal with a government body that understands the meaning and value of an ‘Engineering Adventure’ – and that wants to join in! Let the South African adventure begin ...

So that’s it. The desert search is over. BLOODHOUND SSC will run at Hakskeen Pan in South Africa – and at last we have a desert that we can call ‘home’ to the world’s first 1000 mph Car.

But where exactly is Hakseen Pan? Have a look at the map below. Using the zoom out button (the one marked "-" in the top left hand corner), you will see that it is right in the North West of South Africa, not far from Namibia.

View Larger Map

 

How good is it as a track? Early indications are that the surface is exceptional. John Piper took the Ground Surface Test Rig (see Breaking Ground on Breaking Ground...") and found the surface consistently hard ... and this information will be fed straight back to the wheel designers. Here are some more pictures taken by Andy and John on their recent visit:

 

The smooth flat surface of Hakskeen Pan, Northern Cape Province

Testing the effect of BLOODHOUND SSC's wheels with the Ground Surface Test Rig attached to the back of a truck

Hakskeen Pan 3

Engineering Director John Piper checks the readings from the rig

A single keel is fitted to the rig to see what difference that makes

The effect of 5 tonnes of loading!


Here is the latest news of the track preparation ...

 

Desert News

World Record attempt underway

Wednesday, 17 November, 2010

News

by Rudi Riek

On Monday the 8th of November I woke up at 04h30 at the Molopo Lodge 70 km from Hakskeenpan, I had traveled the 1200km the previous day from Cape Town in order to be on time for this momentous occasion.

Desert News

The Northern Cape celebrates its BLOODHOUND

Monday, 20 September, 2010

News

by Rudi Riek

Desert News

Track Update – August 2010

Tuesday, 24 August, 2010

News

by Rudi Riek

You might be disappointed to learn that we have postponed the track preparation slightly but take heart, it is for a very good reason.

Desert News

Hakskeen Pan – How Flat Is It?

Tuesday, 24 August, 2010

News

by Andy Green.

Desert News

Hakskeenpan Track Preparation

Wednesday, 28 July, 2010

News

While Hakskeen Pan offers a fantastic surface for BLOODHOUND SSC to run on, there is a huge amount of preparation work to be done – and it’s already started. Our ‘Track Boss’, Rudi Riek, describes the first test clearance and gives us an idea of the work left to do.

Pages