Biographies

Some record breakers are intimately involved in the research, design and build of the vehicles they use for their attempts and have the background to make a major contribution. In modern times, Andy Green with ThrustSSC is the person who comes to mind. Sometimes, they are simply the person chosen because their skills and experience are judged to be those best suited to pilot the vehicle. When the original driver chosen to pilot the Blue Flame rocket powered LSR car was killed in a race accident, the Reaction Dynamics team drew up a short of potential replacements before choosing Gary Gabelich. But most often the person in the hot seat is the inspiration behind the project and the team leader rather than the designer. In that situation, the real skill – beyond the ability to pilot the vehicle of course – is to recognise and recruit the best engineers and designers to turn the vision into reality. As a successful businessman, racing driver and record breaker, John Cobb had to rely on the skills of some key people to design, build and organise his record attempts. For the water speed record, one was George Eyston, a former rival for the LSR, while another was his long time collaborator, Reid Railton. As the head of boat builders Vospers, Peter Du Cane was the other key player although all were of course backed up by many others. Here, subject historian and author Steve Holter gives us a short biography of each of them.