The Force Behind Australia's LSR Challenge
Rosco was born in Perth, Western Australia in 1950. As a child he was always tinkering with anything that had wheels, trying to go faster than the other kids on the block.
When Rosco was 12, the late Donald Campbell visited Australia with his Bluebird turbine powered land speed racer. Rosco was so intent on building and racing a car faster than Campbell’s, that he quit school and went working in his home state’s far north. With an age adjustment from 12 to 16, he managed to fund his ambition with a good wage.
His desire to beat Campbell’s World Land Speed Record of 403 mph, has taken him many long years. His first motor racing break came in 1968, when he was given a drive in a Pro Stock Drag Car. Rosco was an instant success story in Drag Racing and has earned his living in this field for many years.
Some of his high speed exploits can be seen on Rosco’s Past Machines page, which include a V8 Motorcycle, Rocket Powered World Record Go Kart (253 mph), a Jet Dragster, which achieved 315 mph, Jet Funny Cars and even a Jet Powered Truck.
In 1993, Rosco with the help of 25 professionals, all volunteers, assembled his first Land Speed Racer known as “Aussie Invader II”. This car was powered by a 36,000 hp Mirage Jet Fighter Engine. This racer was a culmination of 10 years blood, sweat and tears. On the first outing Aussie Invader II reached a speed of 450 mph. Due to bad weather, the team were forced away from their Salt Lake race venue, in central Australia and back to their base in Western Australia, to prepare for their next attack on the Australian Land Speed Record of 403 mph.
1994 saw a revamped Aussie Invader II and a much more experienced race team. Rosco McGlashan became the “Fastest Aussie On Earth” with an official 500 mph two way pass. Not being content to settle with an Australian Record, Rosco convinced a nervous team that he would have a go at the World Land Speed Record, despite poor salt conditions, rain and bad light.
Rosco ran his racer southbound on a track in very poor condition. At 580 mph Aussie Invader II broke through the salt surface and tram-lined through the timing equipment, 200 yards away from the tracks measured mile. Aussie Invader II was a write-off. Immediately the team went to work on a newer, sleeker and more powerful car, Aussie Invader III.
The Aussie Invader Team returned to Lake Gairdner in South Australia in 1996. After some test passes, the car recorded a peak speed of 638 mph which was faster than the World Land Speed Record held by Richard Noble at 633 mph, however to claim a new world record, two passes must be made in opposite directions within one hour and again bad weather prevented the team from achieving this goal.
In 1997 the British in their twin jet engine car ran 763 mph, creating the biggest jump in the history of the Land Speed Record, with their car going supersonic on the way. This effectively made Aussie Invader III redundant.
After witnessing the success of Spaceship One’s historic flight, Rosco knew he needed a BIG rocket motor to set his next record and consulted Rocket Legends Bob Truax and Ken Mason. From that meeting came an introduction to Rocket Lab in NZ, with the aim to get him to the holy grail of a 1000 mph LSR.
After many years of planning and testing, different designs and propulsion formats, work is now underway on Aussie Invader 5R.
Aussie Invader 5R is unique in design, being built around a 40′ bisalloy 36″ tube, using a 62,000 lbs thrust liquid oxygen and bio-kerosene motor. This vehicle is designed to have a dry weight of 6.2 tonnes and will go from a standing start to 1,000 mph (1,600+ km/h) in about 20 seconds. As the car enters the measured mile, the rocket is throttled down to about 3/4 power, not wanting to exceed the magic 1,000 mph barrier by more than 25 mph, to limit the max rpm on our wheel and bearing safety rating.
The car is making great progress, and as Rosco has said to several of his land speed record contacts around the world, “I can build this car in my home state of Western Australia for comparatively little cost, and that is what we are doing. However it is hard to put a completion date on our project, all we can do is keep on keeping on”.
Rosco is the patron of the The Kids Cancer Support Group, which is made up of a group of parents who have all had a child diagnosed with Cancer or who have lost a child to Cancer. They give emotional and practical support to other families whose children are receiving treatment at Princess Margaret Hospital in Perth, WA. Please support this great charity and for more information, visit the KCSG facebook page.
Five television documentaries about Rosco’s LSR achievements are currently showing to a worldwide audience via Discovery & Pioneer Productions. An inclusion in US Rocket Legend – Bob Traux’ life story documentary and thousands of hours of broadcast quality vision belong to the team, not to mention countless newspaper and magazine stories.