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Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

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Old 09-21-2006, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

Craig Arfons, a former automotive drag racing champion and a close friend of Ken Warby was the next to take up the challenge. In July 9, 1989, he put the finishing touches on a jet hydroplane called "Rain-X Record Challenger," which boasted a lightweight composite hull and a jet engine that could deliver 5,500 pounds of thrust with the afterburner lit. Arfons calculated that the boat's favorable thrust-to-weight ratio would give it a 200 percent power advantage over Warby's record-setting boat.

The record attempt took place on Jackson Lake near Sebring, Florida. Members of Arfons' crew say his boat reached a speed of 263 mph before it became airborne and began to cartwheel across the mirror-smooth lake. Arfons tried to deploy a safety parachute, but the angle at which his boat was traveling prevented the parachute from opening. Arfons was killed as his boat shattered around him. He was 39.
That night all the racers, officials and fans gathered for a catered feast held on the three houseboats that served as our residence for the weekend. After a wonderful evening of listening to stories of bravado beyond my comprehension, Ken Warby produced a videocassette from his jacket and asked weíd like to watch some tely. Within minutes we all found ourselves gathered around a small TV watching a 27-year-old documentary film of Ken Warbyís record setting glory. With Ken seated in the middle of the room we watched in absolute amazement as the hour long video captured his four-year odyssey from building the boat to setting the World Water Speed Record of 317.60 miles per hour. The film showed Ken and his motley crew of backyard mechanics screwing and gluing the hull together. The dialing-in process took two years to complete, as the team slowed tested new speed boundaries with each pass. Watching the film I began to understand Kenís mindset. Itís both scary and awe inspiring. To be so committed to something that life means nothing without either chasing it or having it.

As I watched the TV, I kept one eye on Ken watching the TV. He must have seen the tape a million times but his eyes never left the screen. He watched and relived every moment of his quest, laughing at some of his own humorous 27-year-old jokes and shedding a tear when his dearly loved and departed mother was shown on the screen. It was a moving moment, I had just spent the last hour having dinner and talking with Ken and now I was experiencing the historic record setting event with THE MAN himself. It was like watching the Apollo 11 Moon landing with Neil Armstrong in the room. It was as if everyone in that houseboat was transported back in time and was actually experiencing history as it happened. It was a truly and intoxicating experience that flooded everyone with emotion. All I can say is that I was truly honored to have been able to share that moment in time with the man that cheated death by using superior design.

During the video, on a 250mph pass, the boat started a rather violent sponson walk that almost shook the tail right off the machine and Ken powered right through it, never even considering backing out of it. It was at that moment that I realized that Ken Warby had made up his mind many years ago that he was going to set the World Speed Record or die trying. Thereís no middle ground, no second place. In the final record setting run, the boat ripped through the traps with perfect trim, it looked to be right on the verge of blowing over but it didnít. It just rode across a six-inch chop at 317.6 miles per hour with Ken hanging onto the wheel with his foot mashed to the floor. No enclosed cockpit, no five point harness, just a helmet and a set of brass balls the size of Australia was all that Ken required. After the tape was over and the applause faded away Ken asked, and do you know what I got from the UIM after setting the record? I received a nice official looking plaque and a bill for $40 to go along with it.

You have to question the sanity of people that chase World Speed Records. No doubt itís a dangerous venture, from the statistics, probably the most dangerous passion of all. Since Ken set the record, heís watched two of his friends, Craig Arfons and Lee Taylor, die trying to take the record away from him. Nowadays there are three efforts to break Kenís record. One group in Seattle Washington known as the American Challengers www.americanchallengewsr.com, Britainís bid at the World Water Speed Record known as Quicksilver www.quicksilver-wsr.com and the other is Ken Warby www.kenwarby.com himself. Kenís new boat has been tested to 200mph on a river in Australia and is ready to move onto the next phase of testing. Whereas the American Challenger is still residing on a hard drive in a Seattle based computer and the Brits wonít get wet for years. Ken is truly a man on a mission.

Are records meant to be broken? Are they meant to stand forever? Ken IS the Water World Speed Record. Itís been his entire life. Not just 15 minutes of fame, but an entire lifetime. Heís set the bar so high that stealing it away from him may prove to be an impossible task. Besides, how many people have the balls or lack of sanity to hold the throttle down as the boat begins to violently sponson walk at 250 miles per hour? I know I donít.

After it was all over, I thanked Ken for sharing such an amazing evening with all of us, and he left me with this thought.
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Old 09-21-2006, 03:43 PM
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ď It was absolutely my pleasure, itís no fun watching this tape alone and I canít share this with my old friends, they died trying to bet my record. The loneliness of a high-speed boater... On the bright side, the World Water Speed Record breakers reunions are easy to organize, I can have one at any bar that I am leaning on.Ē

Holders of the UIM World Water Speed Record

92.84 mph George Wood (USA) Miss America 7
04 December 1928 Revier Canal, Detroit, Michigan, USA
93.12 mph Gar Wood (USA) Miss America 7
25 March 1929 Indian Creek, Miami, Florida, USA
98.76 mph Sir Henry Segrave (GB) Miss England 2
13 June 1930 Lake Windermere, England
102.25 mph Gar Wood (USA) Miss America 9
20 March 1931 Indian River, Florida, USA
103.49 mph Kaye Don (GB) Miss England 2
02 April 1931 Parana River, Argentina
110.22 mph Kaye Don (GB) Miss England 2
09 July 1931 Lake Garda, Italy
111.72 mph Gar Wood (USA) Miss America 9
08 February 1932 Indian River, Florida, USA
117.43 mph Kaye Don (GB) Miss England 3
16 July 1932 Loch Lomond, Scotland
119.81 mph Kaye Don (GB) Miss England 3
16 July 1932 Loch Lomond, Scotland
124.86 mph Gar Wood (USA) Miss America 10
20 September 1932 St. Clair River, Detroit, Michigan, USA
126.33 mph Sir Malcolm Campbell (GB) Bluebird K3
01 September 1937 Lake Maggiore, Italy
129.56 mph Sir Malcolm Campbell (GB) Bluebird K3
02 September 1937 Lake Maggiore, Italy
130.93 mph Sir Malcolm Campbell (GB) Bluebird K3
17 September 1938 Lake Hallwyl, Switzerland
141.74 mph Sir Malcolm Campbell (GB) Bluebird K4
19 August 1939 Coniston Water, England
160.32 mph Stanley Sayres (USA) Slo-Mo-Shun 4
26 June 1950 Lake Washington, Washington, USA
178.49 mph Stanley Sayres (USA) Slo-Mo-Shun 4
07 July 1952 Lake Washington, Washington, USA
202.32 mph Donald Campbell (GB) Bluebird K7
23 July 1955 Lake Ullswater, England
216.23 mph Donald Campbell (GB) Bluebird K7
16 November 1955 Lake Mead, Nevada, USA
225.63 mph Donald Campbell (GB) Bluebird K7
20 September 1956 Coniston Water, England
239.07 mph Donald Campbell (GB) Bluebird K7
07 November 1957 Coniston Water, England
248.62 mph Donald Campbell (GB) Bluebird K7
10 November 1958 Coniston Water, England
260.35 mph Donald Campbell (GB) Bluebird K7
14 May 1959 Coniston Water, England
276.33 mph Donald Campbell (GB) Bluebird K7
31 December 1964 Lake Dumbleyung, W. Australia
285.21 mph Lee Taylor (USA) Hustler
30 June 1967 Lake Guntersville, Alabama, USA
288.18 mph Ken Warby (Australia) Spirit of Australia
20 November 1977 Blowering Dam Reservoir, NSW, Australia
317.60 mph Ken Warby (Australia) Spirit of Australia
08 October 1978 Blowering Dam Reservoir, NSW, Australia
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Old 09-21-2006, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

That was from the June 2005 issue of Extreme Boats Magazine.
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Old 09-21-2006, 03:44 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

Ok lets end all the bashing. All I have is 3 questions with absolutly no disrespect.

1) Does anyone here think Ken Warby will ever make another WSR attempt?

2) Does anyone think that this record will ever be broken?

3) How long do you think it will be before anyone breaks (or tries) the current record?
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Old 09-21-2006, 03:52 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

Reading the Ken Warby website, its says his boat "Spirit of Australia" has set the record at 317.6, but has reached speeds of 345mph. How is the record attept gauged? Wouldnt the record be 345? Or was that an "unofficial" run? Either way, pretty darn amazing.
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Old 09-21-2006, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ratman
for stecz or masher

Sorry my tree don't swing that way. Far be it from me to get between those two girlfriends.
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Old 09-21-2006, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DURANGOKID59
Reading the Ken Warby website, its says his boat "Spirit of Australia" has set the record at 317.6, but has reached speeds of 345mph. How is the record attept gauged? Wouldnt the record be 345? Or was that an "unofficial" run? Either way, pretty darn amazing.
345 was somewhere during the measured run. He didn't hold a perfectly fixed speed through the traps.
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Old 09-21-2006, 04:39 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron P
345 was somewhere during the measured run. He didn't hold a perfectly fixed speed through the traps.
Gotcha, thanks for clearing it up. Still pretty amazing either way you look at it.
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Old 09-21-2006, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

I talked at length to Ken and his crew mate in Toronto this summer. I also asked when? They said there is only one place on earth they care to make the attempt ( I forget exactly- Blowering dam or something ). The problem is that it is dried up right now, it has been for 3 years. They say it could flood back next year... may be not. The point is that their 'track' is not available to do the run today. Thats all.
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Old 09-21-2006, 06:16 PM
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Default Re: Whats the deal with Ken Warby?

Ron P. Well written . That night was amazing to say the least . After the film he signed a picture of the Aussie running for me .I see it every day .

I found him to be a very humble man . Pleasure to speak with
We can thanck Scotty B for bringing Him back to lime light so to speak .
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