apparently it was richard nobles brother andrew and mike barrett, in 1983,that devised the towing of sixty six year old ron benton, one of the team who made the bodywork, across the black rock desert sitting in a portaloo! he emerged to a sink plunger fanfare wearing a biggles hat and goggles and a toilet paper scarf. not sure if any time was recorded but the moment was filmed i believe
Not quite, but nearly!
The sequence that Mike has posted from You Tube is from the Neil Parker film "For Britain and the Hell of it" covering the story of Richard's successful attempt with Thrust 2 in 1983. On an engineeering "down day", Neil wanted to incorporate some lighthearted sequence that showed the team's spirit but I cannot remember who came up with the idea of towing a Portaloo through the measured mile. The sequence for the camera was done in several shots with Ron Benton (who was then 67) entering and leaving the loo - called "Blue Flame II" as Gary Gabelich had been present on the desert a few days before. Just in case there were any lurking stealth and shifty types, we didn't actually have Ron on board the trailer (which was highly ustable and the loo was full of, er, waste and stank like you wouldn't believe). It was actually me driving the red Dodge pick-up that was hired from "Rent-a-Wreck" in Reno. All great fun and it's the first time I've seen that footage in a while. Ron was a great actor as well as being a highly skilled metalworker. Looked a bit like George Eyston too!
The day after the record was won, on the 4th October 1983, we were out on the desert once more on a glorious morning for team photographs and - as the timing aparatus was still in place - USAC agreed to time a real attempt on a record that nobody thought would ever be achieved. Mike Barrett and myself shared driving (change at each end of the mile) and set off but there was a very strong wind from the South and with the enormous drag of the Portaloo, it was a bit difficult to set any meaningful time (I've got the USAC certificate somewhere but haven't been able to check). All great fun. An hour or so after the attempt, I was up at the North end of the track removing the Mile markers and had to stay put for quite some time as there was a huge sandstorm. These conditions would have prevented any running with Thrust 2 and a few days later the first snows arrived. 4th October 1983 was a close run thing!