TAKE RISK! The amazing story of the people who made Richard Noble’s extreme projects possible on land, at sea and in the air
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This is a very different book from the traditional speed-merchant genre. Richard Noble has had the ambition all his adult life to see Britain excel in engineering on the world stage and throw off the country’s dismal culture of safety first and risk aversion. His achievements in the highly insecure world of record-breaking emphatically demonstrate his commitment to his cause: he brought the Land Speed Record back to Britain in 1983 when he drove his Thrust 2 car to 633mph and 14 years later he led the ThrustSSC team to achieve the first supersonic record at 763mph with Andy Green driving. In his book Take Risk! he tells the extraordinary stories of his 11 projects in record-breaking and aviation that all saw people and companies go out of their way to join him in his exciting endeavours — and take risk.
- Thrust 2: The rollercoaster ride with designers John Ackroyd and Ken Norris to attack the Land Speed Record at Bonneville and how it succeeded after innumerable setbacks, including sponsor withdrawals, delays and a rebuild after a crash.
- ARV Aircraft: Creating an innovative and beautiful metal aircraft with safe forward-swept wings and a special Hewland engine, all achieved in 13 months from start-up with no design and little money.
- ThrustSSC: The momentous achievement of breaking the sound barrier on land against the odds after another fraught and prolonged struggle.
- Farnborough Aircraft: A project to create a new small aircraft to provide low-cost taxi services, with running costs akin to a Range Rover.
- Dieselmax: Working with JCB on the diesel-powered record breaker that exceeded 350mph at Bonneville in 2006.
- Bloodhound: The 1,000mph projectile that consumed Noble’s energies from 2008 until 2019, complete with a huge education programme to enthuse British schoolchildren — until financial obstacles proved overwhelming.
Publication: May 2020
- UK price: £19.99
- ISBN: 978-1-910505-51-9
- Format: 216x135mm hardback
- Page extent: 256
- Illustration: 32 photos, mainly colour
Richard Noble was brought up at time of great British technical advances during the Cold War and was inspired by innovative record breakers such as John Cobb, whom he witnessed, when aged six, in the innovative Crusader jet boat on Loch Ness in 1952. After education at Winchester College, his early career — first in insurance, then international sales with ICI — was gradually subsumed in his obsession with record-breaking, which bore first fruit when he built Thrust 1, his first jet car, in 1974. The rest, as they say, is history.
Andrew Frankel, goodwood.com