But none of this explains why it is so important to me that Bloodhound gets off its knees, back on its feet, onto the South African mud flats and into the record books, so important that I’ve not really been able to get it out of my head this week. And I guess it come down to a few factors, not the least of which is I’ve been a Land Speed Record nut for as long as I can remember, long enough to recall Gary Gabelich breaking the record in the indescribably beautiful Blue Flame in 1970. At the time I was five years old.
There’s more to it than that though. We live in a world where perception is now more important than reality, where experiences come in safe, pre-packaged and increasingly virtual form. The rewards may not be so great, but hey, at least they’re risk free. Regardless of what Green says, driving a car at 1,000mph is far from risk free. One of few things he’s never been able to convince me of is that it is anything less than bloody dangerous. And I admire people who are prepared to put it all on the line: their money, their reputations, even their lives if need be, to have a go, to push back the boundaries of human endeavour and do what has not been done before. That is how we progress, and how we inspire others to push their own probably smaller, but no less important personal boundaries.
Which is why I hope more than I can say that the money is forthcoming, that Bloodhound gets to South Africa and proves its doubters wrong. With all that they have given to the project for such a very long time, it is the very least the team deserves.