The Fastest Man on Earth

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The Fastest Man on Earth by David Tremayne (633 Club, 85 Kingshill Drive, Harrow. £8.95)

It is more than three years since Richard Noble waved the Union Jack over his Land Speed Record-breaking jetcar, Thrust 2, thus justifying the nine years of determined effort which finally made him officially the fastest man on earth.

This volume is sub-titled “The inside story of Richard Noble’s Land Speed Record” because author Tremayne (Editor of Motoring News and co-author with Cyril Posthumus of a major work on the LSR) was present at all three attempts and was the team’s PR man for the successful 1983 runs. This means that the story gets close to the characters involved, in despair as well as in triumph, and this personal involvement helps to carry along a dramatic story whose successful outcome is already known.

Noble’s refusal to be beaten by the many setbacks on the salt, and the team’s discovery of the hitherto unused Black Rock Desert where the record finally fell, cannot fail to evoke admiration, the more so when to many sponsors had to be kept involved and enthusiastic over several years, and new ones sought.

This book, too, has had a difficult gestation, and it is all the more creditable that it has been published by the author himself under the imprint of 633 Club, the supporters’ association which got the public involved with the Thrust project. It is available by mail order only.

This is an exciting and readable story, following on from the achievements of Cobb and Campbell which so inspired Noble. The photographs (mono only apart from the cover) are virtually all taken by team members’ and they avoid the pitfall of too many shots of the unlovely monster streaking across the desert, concentrating instead on the individuals involved.

There is little glamour in breaking one’s own record, so one of the book’s themes is that Noble and his team hope for a challenger to join battle with, and the last chapter outlines what Thrust 3 might look like. Let us hope that someone will respond. GC