Speed Record
Contact Us

Speed Record S.A. ::: Speed Records ::: Motivator ::: Team Maximum Impulse

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7

"Motivator" - The South African Connection
Posted by : Ray Wakefield - Date: 14 Aug 2002 at 14:52

In 1929 Malcolm Campbell (later Sir Malcolm Campbell) made an attempt at setting a new land speed record with his car "Bluebird" at Verneuk Pan in the Northern Cape area of South Africa. Seventy four years on, and there is a strong possibility that another world record attempt will be made in the Northern Cape, this time on two wheels. The man making this attempt is Richard Brown and his team, Team Maximum Impulse. The machine is his rocket powered streamliner which has already exceeded the existing record in America in 1999.

During 2001 I had become confident that it was worth giving serious consideration to a number of salt pans situated in the Northern Cape of South Africa. Team Maximum Impulse in England was encouraged to seek formal permission from the Provincial Government to stage a record attempt within the Province. This was readily granted, and thus the next step was to determine if the surface of the pans would be compatible with the aluminium alloy wheels that would have to be used on Maximum Impulse if the team were to achieve their target of a new two-wheeled Land Speed Record at over 400 m.p.h.

This is vital, as the team found that when they went to Bonneville in 1999, the nature of the salt was such that the machine could not be safely operated with the alloy wheels. It seemed logical to conduct tests in this country using a rig that would enable a suitably loaded wheel to be towed over the surface of any area under consideration, to simulate the passage of the record contender. My first thoughts on this was something in the nature of a simple 'A' frame pivoted at its extremities on the rear of a Range Rover or pick-up truck, with one of the alloy wheels at its apex. Supported above this would be a weight representing the load on MI's axles - rather like a large wheelbarrow in reverse. At this point I contacted the Port Elizabeth Technikon with the suggestion that they give this idea to a class of their engineering students as a design project. The student submitting the best design would be invited to assist with the construction (in the Technikon's workshop) and participate in the trials.

Unfortunately the academic year was advanced to such a degree that this could not be done, however they did readily agree to undertake construction of the device. Unfortunately due to the forthcoming holidays this could not be commenced for some time.

I was discussing this proposal with a fellow sports car club member and sometimes drinking companion Rob McFadzean in the bar of 'The Golden Duck' one evening when he suggested that we make it in the workshop at his house. "Shouldn't take more than a couple of weekends," he said.
Little did we realise.

I reported our ideas to England. Nothing was heard for a week or so, then late one night I received a telephone call from Gwyn Jenkins. 'We've had a bit of a meeting" he said in his rich Welsh voice." We like the idea. We made a test machine that we called our training bike in the early days of the project when Maximum Impulse was being built. It's a very simple mock up of the machine but with all the correct steering etc."
Great" I said " send it out"
"Ah, it's not that simple. We cut it up a long time ago. We were wondering if we sent you the drawings, if you could build us another one out there?" He replied.
"Sounds fun" said I
"Sounds fun" said the Technikon " But we haven't got enough time"
"Sounds fun" said Rob. " Let's do it"

Verneuk Pan

We know we have the capability, all we need is to find the right venue.



Contact the Webmaster  |  Disclaimer