(Jordan, 1996)

“Come Friday and anybody with any sense was in full Lawrence of Arabia mode with goggles, scarves and Arab headgear much in evidence, and it was needed, since a sandstorm was now in full flight and showed no sign up giving up, even for the benefit of a handful of Brits far from home who just wanted to run a jet car. Briefly, the sun came out at the Southern end of the track and hopes rose momentarily only to fall again. The Jordanian Air Force guys from the base had done a sterling job with watering trucks and graders to fill and flatten the Bedouin track even more, but this is an open desert and apart from a short time either side of a run, nothing can be done to stop (bandits) if they want to cross…

“… time was slipping away as the weather got worse and worse. The pressure was still on since the car had to be ready for any break in conditions, but it was destined not to be. Just when the mods were complete and SSC sat there ready to do its stuff once more, the heavens really opened. Thunderstorms of truly biblical proportions swept the area causing major floods and widespread damage. Thanks to the policy of keeping people on the desert at all times, the advancing tide was spotted early and the site evacuated in the nick of time. Even so, a couple of vehicles only just made it, having to be towed out as the desert turned to porridge before disappearing under water.

“With no chance of conditions improving until early 1997, there was no option but to pack up, return to the UK and plan for 1997. So, part one of the attack on the Sound Barrier was over. Plan as you may, there are some things you can’t control and the weather is one of them. These were the worst conditions since 1991 and you’d have thought that the Middle East was the one place on Earth safest from such conditions. But then again, this is record breaking and record breaking always attracts bad weather.”Robin Richardson, Thrust SSC Team Member.


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