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Gone Racin

Gone Racin


Written by Rosco McGlashan OAM

I was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1950.  As a child I was always tinkering with anything that had wheels, trying to go faster than the other kids on the block.  When I was 12, the late Donald Campbell visited Australia with his BLUEBIRD turbine powered land speed racer.  I was so intent on building and racing a car faster than Campbell's World Land Speed Record of 403 mph, and this project has taken me many long years.

My first motor racing break came in 1968 when I was given a drive in a Pro Stock Drag Car.  I was an instant success story in drag racing and have earned my living in this field for many years.  Some of my high speed exploits can be seen on my Past Machines page on my website at, which include a V8 Motorcycle, Rocker Powered World Record Go Kart (253 mph), a Jet Dragster, which achieved 315 mph, Jet Funny Cars, and even a Jet Powered Truck.

I started my motorsport career riding competition motorcycles at Surfers Paradise International Raceway.  I next rode the Australian designed and buyilt 'CRAZYHORSE' V8 powered motorcycle.  This was an incredible machine which had no clutch, so the back wheel would sit up in a cradle, and then I would give it a rev and just rock it off the cradle! It spat me off a few times and when it did, it did it in a big way.

CRAZYHORSE was followed by an even higher performance rocket-powered bike which was so fast that it was not allowed to be raced on Australian tracks.  Furthermore, the very volatile hydrogen peroxide rocket-fuel was extremely hard to come by, because of its unpredictable characteristics and was soon banned by the Australian Government.  To even think of such a machine, let alone ride it, further adds to my infatuation with speed and 'dare to be different' approach.  You can't help but wonder what this machine would have done if allowed to have its head; the mind boggles!

In 1980 while I was living in the USA, I was instrumental in the development of a rocket-powered Go-Kart, which reached 253 mph (407 km/h) over the 1/4 mile in 5.9 seconds!  It was an incredible feeling, sitting in that thing with the fuel bubbling and gurgling just behind your head and then hitting the throttle.  It was truly an awesome machine.  It is still the fastest Go-Kart in the world and is now housed at the historic York Motor Museum, which is 60 km east of Perth in Western Australia.

I had the AUSSIE INVADER I from 1972 to 2002.  It was powered by a J34 Westinghouse jet engine with purpose built after-burner.  The engine was originally fitted to the Lockheed Neptune as a Jato engine with 6,500 pounds of thrust.  The best speed was 315 mph and the best elapsted tiem on a 1/4 mile dragstrip was 5.97 seconds.  In the 1980s and '90s as Australia's fastest man, I was heavily involved in Drag Racing and speed exhibitions.  Even with preliminary work on the Land Speed Record attempt, which consumed much of my time, I regularly appeared with AUSSIE INVADER I, which was my Jet Turbine powered dragster at a number of displays each year and was in constant demand.

In 1993, with the help of 25 professionals (all volunteers), I assembled my first Land Speed Racer known as AUSSIE INVADER II.  This car was powered by a 36,000 hp Mirage Jet Fighter Engine.  This racer was a culmination of 10 years of blood, sweat, and tears.  On the first outing AUSSIE INVADER II reached a speed of 450 mph.  Due to bad weather, the team was forced away from our Lake Gairdner salt lake race venue, in central Australia and back to their base in Western Australia to prepare for our next attack on the Australian Land Speed Record of 403 mph.

In 1994 I had a revamped AUSSIE INVADER II and a much more experienced race team.  That year, I became the "Fastest Aussie on Earth" with an official time of 500 mph for a two-way pass.  Not being content to settle with an Australian Record, I convinced a nervous team that I would have a go at the World Land Speed Record, despite poor salt conditions, rain, and bad light.  I ran the car southbound on a track in very poor condition.  At 580 mph, AUSSIE INVADER II broke through the salt surface and tramlined though the timing equipment, 200 yards away from the tracks measured mile.  AUSSIE INVADER II was destroyed and was a total write-off.  Immediately  the team went to work on a newer, sleeker and more powerful car, AUSSIE INVADER III.

The AUSSIE INVADER team returned to Lake Gairdner in South Australia in 1996.  After some test passes, the car recorded a peak speed of 638 mph which was faster than the World Land Speed Record held by Richard Noble at 633 mph, however to clain a new world record, two passes must be made in opposite directions within one hour and again bad weather prevented the team from achieving this goal.  The next year in 1997 at the Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada, the British contingent of Richard Noble and Andy Green in their twin jet engine car ran a two-way average speed of 763 mph, creating the biggest jump in the history of the Land Speed Record, with their car going supersonic on the way.  This effectively made the AUSSIE INVADER III redundant.

AUSSIE INVADER IV was developed and run from 1996 to 2002.  It was powered by a J34 Westinghouse Jet Engine with purpose built after-burner.  It was originally fitted to the Lockheed Neptune as a Jato engine.  AUSSIE INVADER IV had 6,500 lbs of thrust, which is equivalent to 6,500 hp and was capable of 0-450 km/h (280 mph) in 5 seconds.

My next land speed car was the AUSSIE INVADER 5R.  After witnessing the success of Spaceship One's historic flight, I knew I needed a BIG rocket motor to set the next record and consulted Rocket Legends Bob Truax and Ken Mason.  From that meeting can an introduction to Rocket Lab in New Zealand, with the aim to get me to the holy grail of a 1,000 mph LSR vehicle.  After many years of planning and testing, different designs and propulsion formats, work is now underway on AUSSIE INVADER 5R.

AUSSIE INVADER 5R is unique in its design; being built around a 40' bisalloy 36" tube, using 62,000 pounds of thrust liquid oxygen and bio-kerosene motor.  This vehicle is designed to have a dry weight of 6.2 tonnes and will go from a standing start to 1,000 mph (1,600 + km/h) in about 20 seconds.  As the car enters the measured mile, the rocket is throttled down to about 3/4 power, not wanting to exceed the magic 1,000 mph barrier by more than 25 mph, to limit the max rpm on our wheel and bearing safety rating.  The car is making great progress, and as I have said to several of my land speed record contacts around the world, "I  can build this car in my home state of Western Australia for comparatively little cost, and that is what we are doing.  However, it is hard to put a completion date on our project, all we can do is keep on keeping on."

I was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 1998 by the Queen of England for my services to motorsport and for setting a new Australian Land Speed Record.  I was given the "Premiers Award" from the state of Western Australia by the permier of the state Richard Court MLA in 1999.  I was also given the 'Key to the City' of Perth, Western Australia by the Permier that same year.  I was the International Jet Dragster Competition Winner in 1998, 1999, and 2001.  They entered me into the Australian Roll of Honour by the Governor General, Sir Michael Jefferies in 2001 as "The Fastest Aussie on Earth."  The Confederation of Australian Motor Sport award was given to me in 2001.  I am a registered motivational speaker wit hthe International Celebrity Managemetn of Australia.  I am proud of the Letters of Endorsement for our project that Australia's ex-Prime Minister John Howard and Defense Senator Robert Hill gave me.

I am a patron of the "The Kids Cancer Support Group," which is made up of a group of parents who have all had a child diagnosed with cancer or who have lost a child to cancer.  This group gives emotional and practical support to other families whose children are receiving treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth, Western Australia.  I would ask all of you to please support this great charity and for more information visit the KCSG Facebook page.  There are five television documentaries about my LSR achievements that are currently showing to a worldwide audience via Discovery & Pinoeer Productions.  An inclusion in US Rocket Legend - Bob Truax's life story documentary and thousands of hours of broadcast quality vision belong to the team, not to mention countless newspaper and magazine stories.

Gone Racin' is at [email protected]