NOV 98] COVENTRY UNIVERSITY PRESS RELEASE
Richard Noble Receives Honourary Doctorate
Noble OBE, the man behind the record-breaking Thrust SSC, is being conferred with an
Honorary Doctor of Technology by Coventry University.
The Doctorate is being conferred in Coventry Cathedral at
2.30pm on Tuesday, 17 November, for Richard's outstanding achievement and determination in
securing land speed records, and for contributions to British engineering.
Salesman for ICI, hotel night manager, management training
consultant and an expedition across Africa and Asia by Land Rover, Richard Noble has had a
varied life but speed was always in his blood.
Richard's love affair with speed began as a six-year-old on
a family outing, when he saw John Cobb's speedboat 'Crusader', moored in Loch Ness.
Years later, in 1974, Richard sold his Triumph sports cars
and bought a jet engine which, after being attached to a rudimentary chassis in a lock-up
garage became Thrust I. This achieved 200 mph on an RAF airstrip before crashing and being
sold for scrap for £175 - the start fund for Thrust II.
Richard devoted all his spare time to Thrust II while
working for GKN, and by the time Thrust II was ready for its assault on the British land
speed record, he had no holiday remaining. So he wrote to the Chief Executive of GKN
asking to see him - and walked out half an hour later not with the sack but with 18 months
leave on full pay!
Within the year the British record was his - topping 260
miles per hour, a record that still stands. The next step was the world record and after a
further three years of trials and tribulations the record was finally his, with an average
speed of over 633 mph - Richard's dream of regaining the world record for Britain was
But this wasn't enough. Now Richard wanted to create the
world's first supersonic land-based vehicle. It was a race against time as a well-funded
US team was leading the way. It took him two years to put together his team, including RAF
pilot Andy Green, from Atherstone, Warwickshire, who was to drive the car.
And where else would he come for the best of British
engineering but Coventry, birthplace of the automotive industry? Coventry University
brought together 14 local companies to join with the University in the design and
production of suspension and steering components.
Then the US team broke Richard's existing record and
reached 675 mph. He just had to win it back! Finally after enormous efforts,
disappointments and funding difficulties came success.
On 25 September 1997, at 714 mph, the world land speed
record was Britain's once again. Then came the ultimate. On 15 October, Thrust SSC became
the world's first land-based supersonic vehicle, travelling at 763.035 mph.
Dr Michael Goldstein CBE, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry
"It is in recognition of Richard's remarkable and
outstanding achievements; his indefatigable determination, conviction and spirit, which
are an inspiration to us all; and in recognition of his commitment and confidence in
British technology and Coventry engineering, that we confer the degree of Doctor of
Technology on Richard Noble."
Cyrrhian Macrae or Floyd Jebson 01203 838352
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