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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
- 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
“You can trust Richard Noble to give you a short title but a thrilling read… You’d be forgiven for expecting a rollicking romp through Noble’s own speed-record achievements but this is more than that, documenting the many other people behind the projects, the highs and the lows, and the fascinating stories. Above all, Noble is passionate about British engineering, and that shows through.”
“Noble’s book is unusual for the fact that he has written every word of it himself. As a result, his partners and confidants are spoken of with an affection that no ghostwriter could have conveyed, and his press-on approach leaps off every page.”
Steve Cropley, Autocar
“A fast-paced thriller.”
“Noble has issued a call to arms in his latest book, Take Risk!, which gives a candid account of his failures and successes and pays tribute to those who stepped up when the going got tough.”
“The book is a gentle, charming and interesting read, and comes highly recommended.”
“Stories such as this are always best from the horse’s mouth – and few horses are as qualified to talk about land speed records as the legendary Richard Noble… We enjoyed reading this so much that we blasted through it in an afternoon.”
“Richard Noble is a daredevil Englishman of the old school and in this entertaining little hardback he charts the ups and downs of his remarkable career.”
“The journey that Richard takes the reader on is really a behind-the-scenes story of how to go about building speed-record cars. There’s good humour along the way, too, which makes this an enjoyable read.”
Classic Car Weekly
“This is an engaging and enjoyable book. Noble’s race-along style is so fast-paced that it is also a swift read, but somehow that is apposite… a steal at £19.99.”
David Tremayne, GrandPrix+
“Noble’s story is an inspirational tale of overcoming the odds in pursuing his dreams and well worth reading.”
lacar.com (Don Taylor)
“It is all very much from the author’s own hand and he never hogs the limelight… Most of us will read and thoroughly enjoy the true-life adventure elements of Richard Noble’s achievements and aspirations. Hopefully, at least might think: ‘That’s what I want do do…’”
Best of British
“The fastest man on Earth pays tribute to the designers and engineers who made his record-breaking feats possible. Life-affirming.”
“Noble has written the book himself and all of the anecdotes are told first-hand, with wit in a way that’s unusual for such a warts-and-all account… enjoyable and informative to read.”
Ferrari Owners’ Club magazine
“An enjoyable old-fashioned read.”
“Noble’s personality bursts out repeatedly, evocatively, page after page.”
Society of Automotive Historians Journal
“Fans of the engineering side of motorsports will love this book, as Noble does a great job of explaining how they overcame so many of the engineering challenges involved in building these truly one-of-a-kind cars.”
Speed Sport Magazine
“Richard is candid and open and the book is all the better for a little soul-baring. In short, it is an engaging and eye-opening read.”