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This Wheelbarrow Has A New Land Speed Record

The record-setting contraption was the result of a pub dream. And, clearly, some engineering skill. Also bravery.

Dylan Phillips has a sense of humor, a need for speed, and now, officially, the fastest wheelbarrow in the world. As he’s quoted in a BBC article: “Everyone loves it—it’s so stupid. You can’t help but smile when you see it.” This is the kind of energy motorsports needs.

Land speed records generally conjure up images of salt flats, dry lake beds, or the occasional beach in The Middle of Nowhere, USA, with a single person behind the wheel of a vehicle that looks part cigarette, part fighter jet, part funny car, and part rocket. The most famous and frequently-used venue for such records is the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The most common vessel is a jet-powered car. 

But perhaps you find that boring. What if we changed the location to Yorkshire in Northern England, and the vehicle was a wheelbarrow? And you broke the land speed record by clocking a blistering 52 mph?

That doesn’t sound particularly fast if you’re thinking in terms of a car, behind the safety of its windshield and airbags. Ride a motorcycle, and 52 mph will feel quicker. Hop onto a 999-cc lawnmower, and it’ll feel stupid. Trust me, because I have ridden said moto-mower, reached 97 mph (I was beyond terrified), and questioned my life choices the entire time. 

It was totally worth it, though. And I think wheelbarrow-piloting Phillips would agree. The 35-year-old mechanic from rural southwest Wales built this wheelbarrow-scrap scooter mashup in his shed and now owns a speed record with it.

Dylan Phillips / Facebook

But, dear Jeebus, why? “I’ve always just sort of built mad stuff,” Phillips told the BBC. And he genuinely was just tinkering around with the thing. It wasn’t until he hit 37 mph (and after a few drinks at the pub) that the idea of a world record emerged. 

“So it was just a case of finding out that the record existed,” Phillips said. “And then deciding to actually do something with this idiotic thing that I’d built.”

Off to Straightliners Speed Week he went. Straightliners hosts multiple day and weekend events throughout the year in Europe and the U.K., providing affordability and access to straight-line events, drag racing, motorsports, and basically anything that can go fast on wheels. This, apparently, includes wheelbarrows. 

Amongst the crowd of supercars, superbikes, and the super curious, Phillips broke the Guinness World Record for fastest motorized wheelbarrow. His official speed was 84.627 kph, which he managed on his final run. The previous fastest wheelbarrow was recorded at 74 kph, or 46 mph.

“I feel on top of the world,” said Phillips. “I mean, it’s absolute nonsense, really, but it’s quite a nice feeling.” Adding, “Everyone loves it—it’s so stupid. You can’t help but smile when you see it.” It is ridiculous and borderline foolish, but when stupid is done right, it can be one hell of a ride.

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