Some people have the need: the need for speed
Some people have the need: the need for speed. Here we look at four drivers who have driven five very different modes of transport in attempts to enter the record books
Colin Furze, a British plumber, spent three months converting his machine to go nine times faster than the average mobility scooter, which is 13kph. The petrol-powered scooter has a 125cc motorbike engine, five gears and twin exhausts. He is now looking to formally enter the speedy scooter into the record books: "I was told by Guinness that I could modify the engine but I wasn't allowed to change the appearance in any way, so I couldn't give it bigger wheels or make it more stable." Guinness told Furze he has to exceed 100kph.
When you are the grandson of Sir Malcolm Campbell, who broke the world land-speed record driving a car, driving fast is in your blood. In fact, Don Wales set a new world record on the same beach in West Wales that Campbell set his record in 1924; the only difference was Wales was on a souped-up lawnmower. To enter the machine, Wales had to prove it has the ability to cut grass. The team set the record at 87.833mph (141.354kph). The team have set their sights on breaking the 100mph barrier.
Some people might want to have a quiet, relaxed day on their 59th birthday. Not Boije Ovebrink, who broke the semi truck land-speed record in June. Ovebrink took his specially built Volvo semi to Hultsfred Airport in Sweden and drove it for an average of 81.32 mph (130.87kph) for 500 metres and 103.58 mph (166.7kph) for the full kilometre. Due to the slow acceleration of semi trucks, their speed run is measured as an average over an entire course. So, the actual top speed of Ovebrink's truck was more than 155 mph (250kph).
Don Wales, the lawnmower record holder, also set the UK land-speed record for an electric car 10 years ago. The Bluebird Electric Team set the current record of 139mph (224kph) in August 2000. But Wales feels the record is under threat and will attempt to set a new record in spring: "I want to set the UK record well beyond 150mph, the speed Sir Malcolm clocked in 1925. Ideally I'd like to match his record of 1927 - 175mph." Looking further ahead, in 2012, Wales is aiming to break the 500mph (800kph) barrier.
ThrustSSC holds the world land speed record, set on October 15, 1997, when it achieved a speed of 1,228kph and became the first car to officially break the sound barrier. Two teams are now competing to best this record: Bloodhound SSC, comprising many of the ThrustSSC team, including pilot/driver Andy Green; and the North American Eagle Project, a team of US and Canadian engineers, pilots and mechanics. The Bloodhound team declared last month it is on track to attempt the record in 2012.