Water-Speed Record  Broken  

From Deane Russell

15 March 1976 The Canberra Times

Tumut, Sunday:- Spirit of Australia, driven by Mr Ken Warby, breaks the Australian water-speed record on Blowering Dam yesterday.

With only two minutes to go before Blowering Dam, near Tumut, was reopened to the public, the Australian water speed record of 268km/h (166.439 mph) was broken today by 17km/h by Ken Warby in his jet powered boat Spirit of Australia.

In almost perfect conditions Mr Warby completed his first one-kilometre run at 317 km/h (197 mph) but he cause of some uneven water managed only 267 km/h (166 mph) on the return run.

Mr Warby set the previous record.

Another record, the Australian unlimited out board record of 190 km/h (118 mph), was broken by nine kilometres (kmph) by Mr. Jack Marshall in his boat Metero.

Two other attempts on Australian records by Kerry Rogers, on the unlimited tunnel-hull record of 169 km/h (105 mph), and the unlimited displacement record by Mr Peter Smith, 173 km/h (108 mph), failed because of engine trouble.

Mr Warby decided to attempt, the record at about 11.40am, and by the time he had completed his two runs it was almost noon. The organisers had arranged the closure of the lake to the public until that time.

Attempts on the record on Saturday failed because of bad weather.

Perfect mirror-water conditions are needed be- fore any attempt is made because even small ripples can cause the craft to lift, and at high speeds this can spell disaster.

More than 1,000 people watched Mr. Warby as he sped over the course and cheered as the result was heard over two-way radios.

Mr Warby has accomplished what he has set out to do in attracting sponsors for a world record attempt late this year.

The Tumut Chamber of Commerce has promised about $12,000 for him to complete the building of two vertical tail sections on his boat to stabilise the craft in his attempt to break the world record set by Mr Lee Tylor, of the US. in 1967 of 458.663 km/h (285.213mph).

Mr Warby's attempt was supported by more than 150 volunteers in the St John Ambulance Brigade, No 5 Canberra division, underwater rescue team, the ACT Bush Rescue Squad and Tumut Search and Rescue, and the Tumut Chamber of Commerce.

The speed was officially recorded by members of the Australian Power Boat Association who have to ratify the record later this week.