Project Landspeed: Horonuku arrives at Lake Gairdner

It has been a week like no other so far in Emirates Team New Zealand’s the wind powered landspeed world record campaign, with Horonuku finally reaching its destination at Lake Gairdner, South Australia.

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

“We’ve shipped and trucked the land yacht and containers from New Zealand to Adelaide where they have sat waiting for the lake to dry out. Everything has just arrived here at Lake Gairdner in South Australia.” Ashby said.

“It’s been no mean feat in an ever-changing minefield of logistics and timelines thanks to Oceanbridge, which has been a huge help. So there’s been 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.

Glenn Ashby at the controls

“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’ll ideally be looking to do some test runs in favourable conditions and build up to put ourselves in a position where we’ll be able to have a crack at that world record of over 202.9km/h,” the Australian sailor explained.

“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 ETNZ 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’m going to have to be really comfortable with being uncomfortable and that’s part of what we are at the track for.

Asbhy with the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team

“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’m 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’re 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 Lake Gairdner.”

The following day Ashby was home south of Melbourne in Victoria to pick up a couple of changes of clothes, then 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 ETNZ 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.

ETNZ media

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