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Project Landspeed: A busy week getting Horonuku to Lake Gairdner

by Emirates Team New Zealand 1 Oct 08:26 BST 1 October 2022
Emirates Team New Zealand's wind powered land speed craft Horonuku is tested at RNZAF base Whenuapai © Hamish Hooper / Emirates Team New Zealand

It has been a week like no other so far in the wind powered land speed world record campaign, with Horonuku finally reaching its destination at Lake Gairdner in South Australia.

When Glenn Ashby said last week “Lets get ready to go” he meant it. The trigger was pulled, and the wheels were in motion literally.

“We have shipped and trucked the land yacht and containers from New Zealand to Adelaide where they have sat waiting for the lake to dry out and it everything has just arrived here at Lake Gairdner in South Australia.” said Ashby “It has been no mean feat, in an ever-changing minefield of logistics and timelines thanks to Oceanbridge who have been a huge help, so there has been a bit of a quiet sigh of relief to open the container doors and see everything is in great shape and we are here safely.”

Ashby was quick to take a walk onto the now dry lake which made has his record attempt seem all the more real. “The lake has dried out a lot from what it was a few weeks ago, the weather is a lot windier and warmer which is fantastic. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be looking to do some test runs in favourable conditions ideally and build up to put ourselves in a position where we will be able to have a crack at that world record of over 202.9km/h.” explained Ashby.

“So hopefully whenever we are ready for a record attempt Mother Nature will play her part.”

Rewinding to the seven days prior, Ashby was on a plane in the wrong direction from Australia back to New Zealand to have final logistical and planning meetings with the team at the Emirates Team New Zealand base in Auckland. As well as making the most of an opportunity to get his head in the high-speed game with a day driving laps with the Toyota Gazoo Racing team out at Hampton Downs Motorsport Park south of Auckland.

“To break the record, I am going to have to be really comfortable with being uncomfortable and that’s part of what we are at the track for. The opportunity to come here and do some track time with Matt will really put me in a great position so that when I do get into the land yacht itself, I am quite comfortable being on the edge of grip.” said Ashby who was given expert advice by Matt Gibson on driving the Toyota Gazoo TR86 at high speed around the course.

“The balance of the craft due to the huge side forces that we are going to experience is really going to give a lot of feedback to the cockpit, so learning that balance and how that feels is important. Driving on the track was a fantastic stepping stone into what I should be looking for and some of the things that I should be expecting when I get out onto the salt lake at Lake Gairdner.”

The following day Ashby was home south of Melbourne in Victoria to pick up a couple of changes of clothes, onto Adelaide to meet the truck to load the containers and hitch on to the 7-hour convoy up to the lake. All the while the Emirates Team New Zealand support crew have been packing the final pieces and heading to the airport for the long trip to what is hoped will be the location of the next wind powered land speed world record.

Over the next few days the base set up will be underway on the edges of Lake Gairdner before Horonuku will be rolled out of the container to start being pieced back together before the first day on the lake.

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