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Fastest Man On Earth?: Jason Queally Talks HPV
27 Jan 2001 17:01 GMT
Olympic cycling gold medallist Jason Queally is set to tackle the world land speed record for a human-powered vehicle.
Land Speed Record Holders
Speedy: At 1,228kph/763.055mph, Thrust SSC breaks the world land speed record
Speedy: At 1,228kph/763.055mph, Thrust SSC breaks the world land speed record
©David Taylor/ALLSPORT

Man has always had an obsession with speed. If Jason Queally can succeed in his record attempt in October, he will join an elite, almost legendary, group of men who, in their own field, have traveled faster on earth than any other human being.

Motor-Powered Vehicle

Driving the Thrust Super Sonic Car, Andy Green of Great Britain holds the land speed record for a motor powered vehicle at 1,228kph/763.055mph. It was set in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, USA, on 15 October 1997.

The word 'motor' in a conventional sense does not really apply since the monster vehicle was powered by two Rolls Royce jet engines, producing a combined total of 100,000lbs of thrust force.

During its record-breaking run, Thrust SSC accelerated to 965.6kph/600mph in just 16 seconds. It smashed the record in style by becoming the first car to break the sound barrier.

The previous record of 1019kph/633.468mph had been held by the car’s designer, Britain's Richard Noble, for 13 years.


Greene: Sprinting
Greene: Sprinting
©Clive Brunskill/ALLSPORT


America’s Maurice Greene is the fastest recorded running human being. During the 9.79 seconds it took him to set a world record for the 100 meters, he reached a top speed of 43.45kph/27mph.

Greene set the mark in Athens, Greece, on 16 June 1999, shaving 0.05 seconds off the previous world best, 9.84 secs, held by Canadian Donovan Bailey.

In addition to holding the world record time for the 100 meters, Greene also holds the best times for 50 meters (5.56 secs) and 60 meters (6.39 secs). He is the first athlete to hold all three records simultaneously.

Already a double World Champion in the 100 metres, in the recent Sydney Olympics, Greene took gold in both the 100 meters and the 4x100 meters relay.

Human-Powered Vehicle


Whittingham (left): With Mephisto
Whittingham (left): With Mephisto
©Team Varna

At 117.1kph/72.74mph, Canadian Sam Whittingham is the current holder of the world land speed record for a human-powered vehicle.

On 13 October 2000, during the World’s Fastest Bicycle competition, held at Battle Mountain in Nevada, USA, he broke the previous record of 110.6kph/68.73mph. Held by American Chris Huber, it had stood for eight years.

Riding Mephisto, Whittingham covered 200 meters/656ft in just 6.15 seconds. In fact, during the invitational event, he recorded two additional times which were both quicker than the previous record.

It is thought, due to the limits of human power, the fastest such a vehicle can go is about 144.8kph/90mph.

- Ash Potterton