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Here you will find random bits of me

Friday, September 14, 2007

tv guide

it was a gorgeous day here today; sunny; warm; no wind; dead calm on the water!

the best day of summer!

ron and i met the daughter of one of our accounts from our days in the old country. we took her to lunch in carmel and i ran her around the peninsula being a tour guide.

lindsey, who has now been christened chanequa (pron. shu-nee-kwa), seemed to enjoy being on the pacific coast as opposed to the shores of lake michigan. can you blame her? she’s hoping to find a job in radio or a record label on the west cost; preferably in san francisco. can you blame her?

how chanequa, got her name is a very long story. but, when you hang around me and ron and/or the secret obelisk society, you will inevitably get a nickname. one day i will write about nicknames.

she’s now in san jose and will be on her way to sfo in a day or two.

# # # # #

i was poking around youtube last night and found some lsr-related videos that i want to share.

in 1996 my parents, john sprenger, kit catterlin and i were on the black rock desert to, hopefully, witness craig breedlove, once again, break the land speed record. back in the 60s, craig was the first person to set average speeds of over 400, 500 and 600 mph. he was hoping to be the first person to set an average speed of over 700 mph.

contrary to what you may have heard: the budweiser rocket car, driven by stan barrett, did not set a record and may not have even broken the speed of sound as alleged. we will never know for sure as the owner of the car (hal needham, a professional stuntman, which tells the story right there) did not want to run the car according to fia rules. so, what it amounted to was a stunt and not a record attempt. i’m sure the car reached a speed of 700 mph, but it was not an average speed and it was a terminal velocity speed not recorded over a “flying mile” like every other land speed record. their terminal velocity was supposed to be around 730 mph, which is not fast enough for them to have gone faster than the speed of sound at the elevation of muroc (now known as rogers) dry lake. they have been crying over not being recognized for breaking the record since the stunt took place back in the 70s. but, they have only themselves to blame. so, screw ‘em!

but that’s not why i brought you here.

in 1996, craig was trying to break the record before the british car, the trust ssc, was completed so he could claim 700 mph before them.

there were several things that did not go right on his last run of 1996: badly designed aerodynamics on the rear of the car, a faulty afterburner and a crosswind of about 15 mph.

the following video shows the results of this ill-fated attempt at the record.

craig was not injured, but i’m sure he needed a new firesuit when they got him out of the car!

the car’s onboard computer, which the team says was consistent with the timing clocks, claims the car was traveling 675 mph when it lifted off of the ground. if it was not going 675 it was very close.

kit and i were the first people on the course after the run. you could see where his wheels left the ground and came back down twice and a fraction of a second later was in a locked slide like a sprint car. the kevlar tire on the right rear came apart on impact with the ground and we gathered several pieces of it.

the following year, the brits arrived and methodically took their monster of a car up and over the record... and the speed of sound.

i missed the supersonic runs, but my parents, john, kit and my friend, willy, and i were there for the first lsr over 700 mph.

the first wheel driven vehicle to break a land speed record was the summers brothers’ super-sleek streamliner: the goldenrod. i have never seen the following film, which is in 3 parts.

this final video is a little silly, but has some very cool shots in it. it was shot about the time i was born and is full of bad acting, but it is well worth viewing.

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