That engineer is Andy Morris, aka the man who created the world’s fastest jet-powered go kart, as certified by the Guinness Book of World Records in September 2015. With fellow engineer Tom Bagnall at the wheel, Andy’s creation reached a top speed of 112.29 mph (180.72 kph), earning him a place in history, after more or less 10 years working on the project.
But Andy is not the kind that rests on his laurels. Plus, his hobby is trying to make things that should only move slowly go insanely fast, and he loves jet engines. So, in his back yard in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, the UK, Andy is working on another jet-powered go kart that will break his own record.
Andy recently spoke to Barcroft Cars about his latest project and, this time, it looks like he will be behind the wheel when he drives for Guinness. You can see that interview at the bottom of the page, along with the official Guinness video from some years ago, which, strangely, doesn’t even mention Andy by name.
That aside, Andy has high hopes for this new go kart. He says he’s made several important modifications, so that it’s now a lighter and many times more powerful thanks to the bigger engine. He’s hoping to take it to 140 mph (225.3 kph), “if not more,” and thus set a new world record. Given the current context, with the ongoing health crisis and worldwide restrictions, Andy hopes to be able to make the record attempt next year, and have Guinness on site to certify it.
Andy explains that everything on the go kart has been build in-house, and you should take that in the most literal sense. Despite local fame, Andy still works out of his garden shed and he hilariously conducts tests on the jet engine in his back yard. He even shows the cameras the preparations / safety steps he takes to ensure the kart doesn’t go flying off when he’s testing the engine, and they include a bunch of bricks and heavy cement sacks, and ear-mufflers for himself and the next-door neighbor.
The tests, according to Andy’s neighbor, have warped the kitchen window and keep filling the house with the smell of kerosene, but it’s ok since it’s for a good cause. Or, at least, that’s the message she delivers, laughing with delight. Get you a neighbor that’s at least half as supportive as Mrs. Myra Roberts, as they say.
On a more serious note, Andy is aware that his next task, just like the previous one, is not without challenges. He talks a bit about the insane fuel economy on the kart, which burns 4 to 5 liters (1.05-1.3 gallons) per minute, and offers a brief walk-around the machine.
Andy is a third-generation engineer who discovered his passion for building stuff after watching an episode of Scrapheap Challenge. He’s rebuilt several cars but he’s oddly fascinated by jet engines. For years, he’s been putting jet engines on things they don’t belong on a lot of stuff, including a bicycle.
After overcoming countless challenges (yes, including fires), Andy says the best piece of advice he can offer is not even related to mechanical issues.
“Build for yourself, put your thoughts in it, design it from the ground. Don’t buy it. Build it,” he says. “Just the journey, for me, that’s it.”
Words to live by, indeed – even though testing a jet engine in your tiny back yard is not exactly the smartest, safest thing to do.