Australia bids for the record

If Rosco McGlashan has his way, his Thrust-like Aussie Invader will deprive Richard Noble of his outright land speed record

Tucked away behind the pit straight grandstands in Adelaide lurked a car more powerful than anything on the race track, yet which remained utterly silent throughout the Australian GP meeting. Only its owner was making any noise, and the ebullient Rosco McGlashan is aware that he will have to make a great deal if his big blue projectile is ever going to run in anger.

Just getting the 26ft Aussie Invader 2 to Adelaide was a major landmark for a man who, like Al Teague, is getting as close to the record books as his own ingenuity and financial resources will allow. For many months now he has worked to raise the finance to emulate his nation’s other great record breaker Ken Warby, who shrugged when his countrymen yawned, and laughed when he first broke the water speed record 15 years ago in the boat he designed and built in his own backyard.

McGlashan’s car bears clear resemblance to Noble’s current 633.468mph title holder Thrust 2, with only subtle differences. The bodyline of the cockpit is lower – “I’m only a little guy so I can sit much lower!” – and the tail fin is single. The outrigged rear suspension members have the rubber springs atop the struts rather than below. The air intake, designed by aerodynamicist Jack Apgar who penned the intakes for the F111 and the Hornet, is markedly squarer than Thrust’s. Unlike the aluminium-clad British car, Invader will ultimately use a carbon fibre and Kevlar honeycomb bodyshell. When the solid aluminium wheels are ready, the car will be even more Thrust-like, because they have been designed by John Ackroyd, the man who created Noble’s successful machine. McGlashan sings his praises without pause. “When I first approached him to help I expected him to say ‘No way, mate’ because we were opposition, but he couldn’t have been more positive.” Unfortunately, just getting the right sort of aluminium in Australia is currently stretching Rosco’s patience, but he remains hopeful of launching an attempt with the 17,500Ibt machine at Lake Gairdner or Lake Deborah sometime in 1992. He’ll start by attacking Donald Campbell’s 403.1 mph Australian record, moving up in stages, taking whatever advice and help comes his way. He keeps body and soul together racing his dragster, all the while awaiting that moment when his dream becomes reality and Aussie Invader 2 finally reaches the salt. DJT