Author: Ken Tuckey
THE FIRST EVER BIOGRAPHY OF KEN WARBY
Just watch the terrifying speedboat crashes shown over and over again in those “world’s worst” from on American TV and remember this: Over the last 80 years 11 men have died in attempts to raise the world water speed record. One man, Australian Ken Warby, has done it and survived – the sole member of the world’s most exclusive club. The record he set – for the second time – in 1978, still stands, defying the will of the bravest and boldest to conquer a surface where hitting a floating stick at 500 km/h-plus can kill you in a wink.
Only just retired, despite building a successor to his “Spirit of Australia” that had the potential to hit 700 km/h on water but was never raced, Warby is a living example of all the qualities that make a proud Australian. He drew up the design for his boat on the kitchen table, never deviating from his childhood ambition to be the world’s fastest on water. A man whose motto is “Just do it – just make it happen” – Warby in his astonishing life has over and over demonstrated his disregard for conventional mores about how things work. His dedication inspired remarkable loyalty in the small army of volunteers who helped him break that awesome record in those dramatic days on the lovely Blowering Dam near Tumut in NSW.
A sixth-generation Australian born of tough and hard-working bush people, Warby is the only man to have set the world water speed record in a boat he designed, built, financed and drove himself. In that, he parallels a similarly no-nonsense and far-seeing Australian in Jack Brabham, the only man to design, build and drive his own Formula One car to the World Championship.
Warby’s is an amazing story, written by Bill Tuckey, who was there at Blowering for both the successful record runs. It is the story of a man who – contrary to how popular media might picture him – always knew exactly what he was doing and that never encompassed a death wish.
In fact, Warby’s own words decided the title for this book, when he said that he never intended to have “the fastest coffin on water”.
And he never did………