Wind-powered land vehicle breaks speed record

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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Richard Jenkins, an engineer from the United Kingdom, broke a record for the fastest speed attained in a wind-powered land vehicle on Friday.

Jenkins managed to reach a speed of 126.1 miles per hour (202.9 kilometres per hour) in his Greenbird car along the plains of Nevada's Ivanpah Lake.

Jenkins said that he had worked for ten years to break the record, and that "things couldn't have been better" on the day he broke the record. "It's great. It's one of those things that you spend so long trying to do and when it actually happens, it's almost too easy," he said to the BBC.

"It has been an incredibly difficult challenge. Half the challenge is technical, having to create a more efficient vehicle than the previous record holder, then the rest is luck, being in the right place, at the right time, to get the perfect conditions, with the right people watching. I must have been on record standby at some remote location around the world for at least two months of every year for the past ten years," he said. "Then everything came together perfectly and the Greenbird stepped up to the mark and performed amazingly. I am absolutely delighted."

The previous record for the fastest wind-powered land vehicle belonged to Bob Schumacher from the United States, who reached 116 miles per hour in his Iron Duck machine.

The Greenbird is a fifth generation in an array of vehicles created by Jenkins in his ten-year effort to break the speed record. It is composed out of carbon fibre composite, and powered only by wind. According to Jenkins, it weighs 600 kilograms.