“Over the moon” – that’s the response of the man who has just set a new tuk tuk land speed record, having purchased the three-wheeled Thai vehicle during a “boozy night on eBay”.
Over the course of two laps, Matt Everard set a speed of 74.306 mph (119.583 kmh), having been set a target of 68.35 mph (110 kmh) by Guinness World Records.
Mr Everard, 46, a freight firm boss from Billericay in Essex, drove the 1971 Bangkok taxi at Elvington Airfield today (Monday 13 May), with his cousin, Russell Shearman, 49, as his back-seat passenger.
Mr Everard, a father-of-two, has spent more than £20K improving the vehicle after purchasing it from a seller in Bolton in 2017, saying he has worked on “every nut, bolt and bearing”.
He said he bought it after visiting Thailand for a friend’s wedding, because he thought it would be “a fun vehicle to ride around town” and “something a bit different”.
Pinnacle of achievement
After spending so much money on it, Mr Everard decided he would have a stab at setting a world record in it, in a bid to justify the vast expense. He said:
We did a few tuk tuk rides [in Thailand] and I just loved the fun of it, it made me smile.
When we got back, I was watching a tuk tuk on eBay and I’d had a beer or two.
My wife went to bed, and I thought ‘well, why not? Let’s have a tuk tuk’.
On his wife’s reaction to the sudden purchase, he said: “It wasn’t the easiest conversation I’ve ever had, but she can see the fun in it now, and we are where we are.
“I needed some way of justifying the amount of money that I’d spent on it, and obviously the pinnacle of achievement in a lot of people’s eyes is the Guinness World Records.”
The record, titled the “fastest autorickshaw/tuk tuk (prototype)”, is a new one for Guinness World Records, which stipulated that Mr Everard would have to travel in excess of 68.35mph with a passenger in the back.
The awards company said that the overall speed would be taken by averaging out the speeds over two separate laps, which were driven in different directions.
Mr Everard, a self-confessed petrolhead who at one stage owned eight cars, two boats, a jet ski and a quad bike, said after beating the record that he now hopes to come back to the airfield and travel in excess of 100mph.
I’m over the moon. I feel brilliant. Obviously we were excited beforehand, it was the build-up to it which was the exciting bit, and now we just want to come back all over again and do it faster.
We’d like to have done it slightly faster today, but we’ve got the record and that’s all that matters.
I thought it was going to be more wobbly.
At a certain speed there was a slight wheel-wobble, but once you went through that speed it kind of evened out again and it was fine. I wasn’t scared.
When asked whether the vehicle had been worth the money, he said: “I think so. We’re standing here with the certificate, we’ve got big smiles on our faces and we’ve got something to tell the grandchildren.”