Founder and CEO of Rocket Lab
The following Foreword by Peter Beck appears in the newly published memoir of Rosco McGlashan’s life.
The number of people who have strapped themselves to a rocket with wheels and let physics and engineering determine their fate is few, and for a good reason. It’s a profoundly bold thing to do. I know because I have done it. But those who have undertaken this questionable pastime recognise the unrelenting itch for acceleration that only a rocket engine can offer in a fellow speed worshiper. So, when a straight-talking, unabashedly determined Aussie bloke called Rosco called me in 2008, wanting to build a rocket car to break the world land speed record, I recognised that itch.
There’s no shortage of tyre-kickers in the speed world, but anyone who encounters Rosco knows he’s not one for empty threats, so I was immediately compelled to support his quest to bend the rules of engineering and set to work on various designs and calculations. It felt good to be in the hunt with a guy like that. You don’t come across them often. The ones who look at seemingly insurmountable challenges shrug and simply say, “Better get on with it then.”
By the time I crossed paths with Rosco, he was an accomplished, respected and highly capable drag racer and land speed record holder. However, having read the pages of this book, I now have a far deeper insight into the life and times that moulded him. At times brutal, at others inspirational, Rosco’s is a story of resilience. Bucking conventional career paths, pushing limits with authority, and beating one’s own path are things I’m a fervent supporter of. Still, even I winced at times reading Rosco’s wildly tumultuous road to his dream.
Within these pages, it became immediately clear the fire I could see in Rosco when we first met had been burning since early childhood. It made for a white-knuckled life filled with stops and starts. But, most importantly, there have always been more starts after every stall and a spectacular near-death crash. Obsession does that to a person. It fills them with an all-consuming drive that sees them push harder when others call time. Sometimes this causes havoc to the people in their orbit.
This book shows that’s a fate Rosco doesn’t manage to escape either. Still, it also reveals his innate ability to bond with people and build exceptional teams driven by a shared purpose. A lot can be learned from how he approaches creating and bonding a team.
Rosco The Fastest Aussie on Earth is a captivating read that draws you into the curious and fanatical world of land speed racing. He’s a bloody good bloke who took it on in the face of grim odds.
Auckland, New Zealand, January 2023